Halloween is but a week away, and what better way to prepare is there than to enjoy as much horror as possible in the time we have left?
To kick-off our ‘Countdown to Halloween, we have selected the classic eighties teen horror, The Gate.
It starts off as your usual teen action/horror movie from the eighties. Somehow a few kids are left home alone in a big house (biggest kid is the ill-equipped baby-sitter), somewhere in suburban America.
Things take an unusual twist when the removal of an old tree from the garden opens an entrance to a portal of some sort. As the atmosphere grows increasingly spooky, one of the kids coincidentally finds a heavy metal LP which comes with a demonic bible of sorts that gives the kids all the information they might need should they want to open a portal to the dark realms and summon demonic forces.
Of course, they go ahead and do this, and before they realise what a bad idea it was, their dog is dead and their house is under siege from all sort of horrible beings, intent on taking human sacrifices in order that the dark overlord can rise and destroy the world.
As the young cast (including a 13-year-old Stephen Dorff) do battle with the dark realm we are treated to a fantastic display of special effects including lots of painstaking stop-motion stuff to deliver some surprisingly realistic (especially for the period)
The hoards of foot-high goblin creatures are the most memorable, along with some rather gory moments which push the limits a little for what was essentially pitched as being a ‘movie for older kids’.
The film uses lots of great popular ideas and urban legends of the time to capture the mind of the audience. The backmasking of the heavy metal track with an underlying demonic message, the ghost story of the walled-in construction worker and the idea that the house is built on cursed land… It’s the sort of thing that young teens would have been telling stories about whilst out camping. And that’s what makes The Gate so fun. It’s essentially, a ghost story for kids.
It’s a film that is filled with the nostalgia of other films of the period such as Poltergeist and The Goonies. And fans of films from the period will have lots to enjoy as the script, performances and soundtrack are exactly what you would expect from this kind of production.
The Gate has grown old gracefully and has plenty of surprises for its audience. Don’t underestimate this gem from the Blockbuster era of entertainment.