No way of getting around my enthusiasm for this late 80s gem of a film, ‘The Gate’ mixes fantasy and creature horror in a fun child centric piece available now, in HD, thanks to Lionsgate’s ‘Vestron Video’ releases.
The plot of the film follows two young friends who, in the spirit of rebellion, and of course rock and roll, inadvertently open a gateway to the other side. Once open, their premises are laid siege to by ‘the old gods’ (tiny little demon things to you an I). They then must fight their fears, and army of these little critters to save themselves, their friends and the world! Admittedly, there is a little more to the plot, namely the specifics of how to open and close the titular gate, but I wont spoil the fun for you.
As the movie opens we are treated to a very early performance by the now famous Stephen Dorff, and later as the movie progresses a number of 80s heavy metal references, and if that wasn’t enough to peak your interest there is no way I could go any further into my review without mentioning the absolutely stunning special effects work on the littler demons and then later on the giant monster which invades the house – this film was destined to be a cult-hit right from the get go!
For a horror movie it is quite tame, although I am not sure it’s a horror films designed for kids, despite the films main cast being as such; indeed, this film appeals no doubt to every horror fans ‘inner’ child. It is however, very very enjoyable to watch.
It’s consistently fun in a goofy and (now) nostalgic way.
As I have already stated the film is littered with decent practical effects, aside from the creatures there are some standout spattering’s of gore effects too; an eye impalement on the leg of a barbie, and an adult’s face literally melting in a fashion reminiscent of Bishops demise in the film ‘Aliens’ standing out as the two most memorable. As I have said, nothing ‘video nasty’ here, but enough to remind you that you are watching a proper horror film. Even more memorable are the creature effects, an interesting mash up of stop motion and superimposed copy paste mini-demons. They make weird noises, straddle the line between mischievous and malevolent, and make for darkly comical viewing. Admittedly, things do get a bit dodgy when the gateway gives entrance to a huge demon – the outstanding transfer by Vestron perhaps not doing the large-scale effects any favours here, but hey, all part of the charm.
The acting is pretty good, thankfully there is no corny comic relief here, and despite the carnage ensuing all around them there are still plenty of opportunities for kids to be kids, more fun for us, and of course, being America in the 1980s the promotion of some wholesome family values without ever getting too sickly!
Overall, I find myself struggling to say much more, it isn’t really the sort of movie which benefits from over thinking or critical analysis. It is, however, the sort of movie you need to own and open your film night with! Its out now on Blu-ray so there has never been a better excuse to do so.