Horror Movie Review: The Gate (1987)


A movie from my childhood…it has been many years since I last saw it. Nostaglia was pushing my memories of this film upwards & I could think of very little negatives before sitting down to watch it again.

The story is based around 2 young boys & an older sister who accidently summon a horde of small demons from a hole in their back garden. These little monsters have 1 aim which is to bring about hell on earth so it is up to the children to stop them before they can.

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Simple enough concept that sounds tamer then it actually is. The film has 80’s movie written all over with the effetcs & lighting but I do have a soft spot for this style. Although I’m not normally a huge fan of horror with kids in the hero role this movie handles it really well. So basically Glen (played by a young Stephen Dorff) & Terry are two misfit friends who like heavy metal & bugging Glen’s older sister. She just wants to hang with her friends & when their parents go away for the weekend it’s an oppourtunity to party even if Glen tries to stop it at every turn.

In the backyard the gate to hell has been opened by the removal of a rotten tree but for it to really get going it needs some hevay metal lyrics played backwards & a sacrfice which it gets in the shape of their dead dog. The scene in which Terry is tricked by the demons into believing his mother has returned from the grave but is actually hugging the now-dead dog was great stuff even if it looked like it cost a bundle in dry ice.

The first half of the movie sees small frights occuring in the house. A party game of levitation turns real, windows are attacked by files & the fly-catcher outside keeps shorting out. Nothing too heavy but enough to put the characters on edge…oh & don’t forget the rolling smoke that comes out of the hole. No-one questions that at any point….

Once the dog is buried in the backyard (by a friend of the older sister) the tiny demons show up & the movie steps up a gear in a frantic ending that sees a dead man trashing the house after breaking through the walls & a super-demon being summoned. The ending is standard stuff that you would expect from a movie like this…eventful but predictable.

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Adorable huh?

As a whole the movie is fun & holds up pretty well considering its age. The effects such as the demons & the dead dog model look horrible but must have been very impressive when first released. Acting is hit & miss with the 2 young boys the standout while the rest are forgetable.

The Gate is worth seeing for a few scenes alone that take it from an average movie to being a good movie.

  • The parents come home/you’ve been bad scene. It was my one major memory of the movie & it still looks great. It’s also one of the only times that the movie enters gore territory.
  • The dance with the dead dog, its more funny then nasty.
  • Eye can see you….Glen gets a mark from the big demon & handles it ever so well…by stabbing it.

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A much better film then you may first expect with moments of greatness. It’s really only let down by it’s age but is enjoyable as long as you approach with an open-mind. There is a sequel as well which I haven’t seen yet but will be hunting down soon enough.

The Gate
  • 7/10
    The Final Score - 7/10
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