Friday, July 1, 2011

The Gate- review with spoilers

Will I ever be in anything better than "Blade"?

I think many folks will remember this rare gem from 1987. It’s considered a horror movie, but even by the 80s standards it’s pretty tame.  It’s rated PG-13 so there are no swear words or gore to speak of.  In fact it almost feels like it was aimed at the teen demographic anyway.  It does have oodles of spooky imagery and it’s at times but it’s also goofy as hell to watch as an adult.

It stars a young Stephen Dorff, in first staring role as Glen, a young lad that has a bad dream about a tree near his house getting hit by lightening.  When he wakes up he sees that the tree was in fact hit by lightening and workmen are removing it from the yard.  As they yank out the stump a geode falls free.  Glen’s friend Terry convinces him to go digging for more.

There is no Dana. Only ZUUL!
They find a large geode and where the tree used to be as well as what appears to be a hell mouth.  Glen gets a splinter and leaves some blood behind in the hell mouth.  Oopsie daisy.  Glen’s parents leave town for three days leaving Glen’s older Sister Alexandra “Al” in charge.  Like a smart 15 year old she throws a party.  They play “light as a feather stiff as a board” with Glen and manage to actually levitate him.  That night Terry sees an apparition of his dead mother only to have it turn into the now dead dog, Angus.

Nobody seems that broken up about the dog. Terry goes home and is listening to some heavy metal album that stops mid song to start talking like a Moody Blues song.  He starts to piece the puzzle together that the lyrics are based on something called “The Dark Book” (ooh clever title).   He then tries to convince Glen that the hole in his backyard is a gateway for demonic forces.  He figures that the only thing left is a sacrifice to be left in the whole.  He didn’t count on the lazy dipshit that Al pawned Angus on to dump the body in the hell mouth.

Oh yeah, this asshole is given the body of their pet to take to animal control to be disposed.  I guess they are under the delusion that Angus is going to get a great ceremonial burial from them. However, because it is closed, the asshole drives Angus back to their home and just throws it in the nearest hole.  Problem solved on his end.

They're eating her and then they're going to eat me.
Now that the sacrifice is complete a pair of demonic arms start grabbing at Al under the bed (tell me this movie wasn’t made for kids).   Terry and Glen save her and bump into Glen’s folks who are demons in disguise.  They are then attacked by swarms of small demons.  Now to be absolutely fair these things are really cool.  I have NOTHING but respect for a movie that uses stop motion and they do it really well.  So they get mad respect for cool looking demons and the amount of work that went into them.

Glen and Terry try to stop them reading the Bible until Terry falls into the hell mouth.  He is attacked by demons. Glen throws the Bible down into the hole and it explodes like a holy hand grenade.  After that the hole appears sealed.  That night Terry and Glen watch TV when a wall breaks open revealing a dead body. The body wakes up, grabs Terry and drags him into the wall, which seals behind him.

The zombie/demon then attacks Al.  After a struggle he gets her and vanishes with her as well.  Glen realizes that they were two sacrifices needed to summon the great old one (Cthulhu?).  He realized that a rocket that Al intended to give him as a gift is supposed to be a symbol of light, purity and love and should be able to stop the beast.  So he attempts to get it to launch it but the matches keep going out.

I'd make an eye joke, but that seems too cornea.
A huge demonic entity has risen out of the floor.  It grabs Glen and touches his hand.  Then it leaves. Glen sees that his hand has grown an eye in the palm.  So he stabs at it with a piece of broken glass.  The demon returns and Glen fires the rocket into the demon causing him to explode with a fireworks display. 

Al, Terry and Angus return from the closet completely fine and unhurt.  They just need to worry about how to explain the damage of the house to their returning parents.  Like I said, it’s not a bad movie.  However, I don’t’ think it’s for adults.  The 80s gave us tons of the iconic horror movies we love to this day.  It’s hard not to appreciate the Lovecraft themes in it and smile at the cool stop motion monsters that you would never see in modern movies.  Sill, this one feels like it is really for the kids to watch and get nightmare fuel.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this movie last year and I was kind of bummed out that I missed this movie as a kid. This was one of those amblin-esque kind of movies (Like Challengers, E.T., Flight of the Navigators) that I would have gone crazy for when I was a kid. You're right that it doesn't really feel like a horror movie. Also, I love how playing a heavy metal album backwards is what