The Gate (1987) – Tibor Takacs

I wish I had been into horror movies a little more as a teen. As mentioned before it took me forever to come around to some of them, though Jaws and Poltergeist were much-loved by me even then, though Poltergeist freaked me out for quite some time, even after I learned how it was all put together, special effects-wise.

I say that, because The Gate would have made an excellent double feature with Poltergeist, or to go the other more family-friendly way, it would make a great double feature with The Goonies. It has its feet in both worlds because the film’s protagonist is a very young kid named Glen, brought to life by Stephen Dorff.

Plagued by the fact that his sister, Alexandra (Christa Denton) is growing up and is more interested in going to the mall with her friends instead of launching rockets with him and his friend, Terry (Louis Tripp), Glen is looking forward to the fact that his parents are going away for the weekend and leaving he and Alexandra at home to look after themselves.

And that just means something bad is going to happen, and I’m not talking about the party that Alexandra is having the minutes her parents leave. No, there’s a hole in the background thanks to a recently removed tree that may just be a gate to hell, or so Terry believes thanks to a rock album his dad has given him.

Unfortunately, Terry’s right. Something that is proven rather quickly as strange things begin happening around the house, there’s an incident with Angus the Dog, and then a number of little demons begin invading the parent-less household.

Featuring some really solid special effects for the time, and even now they are impressive The Gate ends up being a really fun film that could serve as a fun little gateway horror film for families. Yes there are a couple incidents of homophobic dialogue, and one can make an excuse that it was the time, but it’s still rather cringeworthy to imagine we talked like that.

Will Glen be able to save his house, his friends, family and dog from the terror that threatens to overwhelm them and the world as it spills out of the Gate? This ended up being such a fun film to watch, and I’m chastising myself for the fact that it took so long for me to get to it. But honestly, when I was a kid, even though I had started reading Stephen King I wasn’t ready to see blood and gore and monsters unless they were in my own imagination (where I could control the editing and shots – I see things very cinematically) and that poster looking out from the cover of a videotape box couldn’t persuade me to check it out.

Silly Tim.


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