The Gate was a late 80s attempt at making a “scary movie” aimed at a younger audience. Almost entirely gore free, the film instead tries to scare the viewer into having a good time. But does it succeed? Or is it a case of too little horror to take? Read on to find out…
Taken from the blurb on the sleve:
When best friends Glen and Terry stumble across a mysterious crystalline rock in Glen’s backyard, they quickly dig up the newly sodden lawn searching for more precious stones. Instead, they unearth THE GATE – an underground chamber of terrifying demonic evil. The teenagers soon understand what evil they’ve released as they are overcome with an assortment of horrific experiences. With fiendish followers invading suburbia, it’s now up to the kids to discover the secret that can lock The Gate forever . . . if it’s not too late.
And, yeah, that’s pretty much it. We have some young teens, some demons, and that’s it. The demons are summoned, and must then be banished. A simple plot for sure, but it serves the film well enough.
The Gate: Analysis:
Aimed at a younger audience (the PG-13 one in the US), The Gate stands out from many of it’s peers. Unlike the proliferation of slasher films at the time, The Gate is almost entirely blood free. This places a greater emphasis on the films ability to create an atmosphere. And it does this pretty well. Sure, it isn’t the scariest film you will ever see, but there is a nicely spooky vibe to it. Indeed, it almost feels like a slightly more grown up Goosebumps story at times.
The closest the film gets to the norms of the time for the genre is with the zombie workman character. He shows up in a couple of scenes to menace our young heroes, and looks pretty scary, all things considered. The demons unleashed from The Gate are suitably monstrous, despite their tiny stature. Indeed, all the films effects are surprisingly well done given the clear budget limitations on show.
The Gate comes on a surprisingly well stacked disc, with the following features:
- Audio Commentary with Director Tibor Takacs, Writer Michael Nankin, and Special Effects Designer & Supervisor Randall William Cook.
- Audio Commentary with Special Effects Designer & Supervisor Randall William Cook, Special Make-Up Effects Artist Craig Reardon, Special Effects Artist Frank Carere, and Matte Photographer Bill Taylor.
- Isolated Score and Audio Interview with Composers Michael Hoenig and J. Peter Robinson.
- The Gate: Unlocked.
- Minion Maker.
- From Hell It Came.
- The Workman Speaks.
- Made In Canada.
- From Hell: The Creatures & Demons of The Gate.
- The Gatekeepers.
- Making of The Gate.
- Teaser Trailer.
- Theatrical Trailer.
- TV Spot.
- Storyboard Gallery.
- Behind-The-Scenes Gallery.
So, not a bad selection. The new featurettes go into considerable depth with their behind the scenes material, far more than you expect. The archive “making of” is typical of the time, being little more than an expanded EPK.
The Gate: The Verdict:
Overall, this is a fun little film, packed with a great set of extras. if you have a younger fiend you are wanting to introduce to scary movies, this could just be the ticket for you.
4/5 Fiends. Fun, but not quite essential.
Buy The Gate at Amazon.co.uk: HERE