Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Movie: The Gate (1987)

I decided to take a step back in time and revisit a movie I haven't thought about since the '80s...The Gate! With the wave of new horror movies being set in the '80s why not take a look at what really was shown at the theaters?


The Gate had everything... monsters, metal, massive amounts of pastel clothing, and Stephen Dorff?! Yes, our favorite fun loving vamp from the movie Blade is a wee little boy in The Gate!


Crazy right?!

***SPOILER ALERT***

The  main story focuses on two best friends Glenn and Terry. Glenn is troubled by nightmares about his tree house and the hole it has left in the backyard after it was removed. His heavy metal loving friend Terry comes over to play and they find a large geode in the hole. It's strange, so they begin to research it.


The ominous hole.

In the meantime, Glenn's older sister Al is tasked to babysit Glenn for three days while their parents go out of town. THREE DAYS! Sure, I babysat when I was 15, but for an evening, never whole days!!! Ok, suspend your belief that a young teen can be trusted. Of course she has a wild party and we are introduced to their dog Angus. He looks like a gray version of the dog I had as a kid ~ Leonard Beardsly (Leo for short). The kids at the party are mean to him and he gets releGATEd to being upstairs. (See what I did there?) Poor doggo.


You can see the dog on the left.

Glenn and Terry crack open the geode and see some foreign words scrawled on a board. They read the words, so they've obviously never seen The Evil Dead. DO NOT speak words you don't know while cracking open an otherworldly object because you just may summon demons. Odd things start happening. There's a little levitation, giant moths (in my mind these are the scariest part of the movie), Nightmare on Elm Street-like objects pushing on Glenn's bedroom walls, and Terry sees his dead mother. (This is one of the really sad parts.) When Terry wakes up what he thinks is his mother is really Angus ~ the dog ~ and he's dead.

Terry goes home feeling disturbed by what he saw, and as a metal kid takes comfort in music. He sees a correlation between the booklet the fictional band Sacrifyx includes with their album and the hole in the ground. The pictures in the book match up to what has been happening at Glenn's house. Surprise! They accidentally summoned demons. Duh. This fits nicely into the whole "satanic panic" of the 1980s. (Side note: There's a movie coming out this year called Satanic Panic that I'm looking forward to seeing.) Terry figures out that the instructions on how to close the gate can be found by playing the album backwards and shares all this information with Glenn and Al.


Some foreshadowing on Terry's denim vest.

The next night the moths break through Glenn's bedroom window (that's a hell no from me), and the gate is officially opened with the death of Angus being the first sacrifice. What you think is going to be this giant glorious hellfire demon is actually a bunch of little demons, similar to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Halloween episode "Fear Itself" from the fourth season where they accidentally summoned what was supposed to be a scary demon but ended up being a tiny demon they merely stepped on to kill.


Demons from The Gate.


Tiny demon from Buffy. He's in the center and so small you can hardly see him.

The kids try to close the hole, not before Terry falls in, but he gets out and they close it. The End. Just kidding! A zombie grabs Terry and Al and takes them into the hell realm to be sacrificed. All the deaths cause the giant demon to come out of the ground beginning the hell on earth phase and Glenn is left to fend for himself while the house crumbles around him. He launches a rocket to explode the demon into a shower of fireworks, thus closing the gate. Terry, Al, and (thank goodness) Angus are all back. My question is how are they going to explain the mess to their parents?!

I always liked this movie because I could relate to the characters, I was around the same age as the kids, into metal music, and was left unsupervised for large periods of time. I have to say it holds up all these years later, even the special effects are decent. Warning: there's some use of words that would be considered offensive now. I give it four mini demons out of five.


The fashion alone is perfectly coordinated. This could be a Benetton ad.

Here's the trailer...




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