In 2017, we as horror fans have it way too easy. Hell, I would call us spoiled even. Being able to access hundreds of titles at the push of a button instantly through our TV’s or computers. Not so long ago, we actually had to get off of our asses and go out to get a movie for the night. Not so long ago, we had these places called video stores. Like an endangered species these places are all but extinct. Not so long ago, I would walk the small aisle of the horror section and pick movies based off cover art or the synopsis. Remember boils and ghouls there was no IMDb back then to advise us and tell us if a movie is worth viewing. We all got to play Bloody Streaming Roulette the old-fashioned way. Maybe that’s why I still do it. The allure of an unknown title, that could be the next diamond in the rough. I’m taking you down nostalgia lane here, because it applies to the next installment of BSR. Let’s get to it.
SPIN THAT SHIT!
Beyond the Gates (2016)
The flick follows a pair of estranged brothers brought back together through an unfortunate event. To clean out their missing dad’s VHS video store. Missing for over seven months the brothers have assumed the worst. Whilst packing up his belongings in the back office, the two stumble upon a VCR board game called Beyond the Gates. Only this doesn’t seem like a standard game. What did the brothers stumble upon? Does it involve their father somehow?
For those of you out there too young to remember, a VCR board game involved well, an ancient device called a videocassette recorder. It was an interactive way for families and kids to play games before we had online multi-players. Some were decent. Most were downright hokey. I thought interweaving this idea into the plot was a really cool idea straight from the get go.
Beyond the Gates was a throwback experience. The acting was very good for a low budget film. Spotlighted by a cameo appearance from genre familiar Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond). The mood of the flick was tensely set by a magnificent synthwave score provided by Wojciech Golczewski (Late Phases, We Are Still Here). The gore factor while sparse, was very effective and quite bloody. There was actually a moment when I yelled FUCK YA at the TV. Director Jackson Stewart really gave us an original horror story with his first feature film. I will keep an eye out for his work in the future. Even though the flick was set in modern time, the nostalgic feeling of it made Beyond the Gates feel timeless. Gates was a gory and fun journey back into the yesteryears of the VHS boom.
As I am typing this, I couldn’t get over the irony of the situation. Where at the beginning of the film, when the brothers were cleaning out the VHS store. I could not help but think of the thousands of mom and pop video stores over the country that had to close down this very same way, because of the internet streaming boom. So, from now on, Bloody Streaming Roulette will be my virtual video store experience. A way to honor the allure of the hunt through the horror movie aisle. Because we all take this new ease of access for granted these days and that’s why I think we are spoiled rotten. We are the reason the video stores died. I am guilty of it as well.
We all are…
My luck keeps going strong!
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