Sunday, October 1, 2017

Movie Review: "The Gate" (1987)

Director: Tibor Takács
Year: 1987
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

A pair of kids accidentally opens a gate to hell, unleashing an army of tiny demons.

"The Gate" is a fantasy horror movie directed by Tibor Takács and is written by Michael Nankin. It is the feature film debut of Stephen Dorff, who plays a young boy named Glen, an average kid living an average life. After he discovers a geode in his backyard, his friend Terry, played by Louis Tripp, decides they should dig for more of them. As they are digging, they find another geode much bigger than the first, along with a giant underground cave which turns out to be an actual gate to hell. The two boys also unintentionally read an evil incantation which summons a bunch of miniature demons from the underworld. Oops, totally their bad! Also in the film is Christa Denton, who plays Glen's older sister Al. Al is supposed to babysit Glen for their parents, a responsibility she has been given for the first time. Of course, having evil demons unleashed upon their home certainly doesn't help her credibility with the parentals.

BigJ grew up watching this movie and he remembers enjoying it quite a bit. This is the first time I've seen it. We aren't usually fans of PG-13 horror films because the modern ones are usually dumbed down pieces of trash riddled with jump scares. Back in the 80's, however, PG and PG-13 horror films were much more fun and were about setting the mood and building an eerie tone. There were actually a lot of good PG/PG-13 horror movies including "Poltergeist," "Gremlins," and "Monster Squad." Now, we have to add "The Gate" to the list. This is a movie that, like many of the others we've mentioned, is geared towards a younger audience. Despite that, it is still very creepy. It's not super bloody and there isn't a high body count, but there are plenty of other things that make this film creepy. The design of the demons is fantastic as their stubby bodies and alien-like faces lumber forth in search of the next victim they can terrorize. These creatures are brought to life through great stop-motion animation. These little suckers are frightening, and there are plenty of other terrifying scenes as well. This film also has a lot of humor in it, whether it be the insults slung between Glen and his sister's friends, or his dorky friend Terry listening to death metal as he chanting demonic lyrics while wrapped in a rainbow-striped blanket, you know, typical horror movie fare.

We had a blast watching "The Gate." It offers up an excellent viewing experience. We think it holds up really well even though the special effects are a bit dated. The laughs and frights come often and the movie is short enough to keep the audience engaged throughout its runtime.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 43%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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