Retro Review: The Gate (1987)

For the past year, I have been trying to conquer my fears.  Horror films I saw as a kid have been released by Scream Factory or Vestron recently.  But, honestly it started a while ago with Dawn of the Dead and Re-Animator.  But recently it has been some of the unnamed films, or forgotten horror films.  Thanks to  friends here at the Horror Syndicate have helped me trap these movies down.  Most recently it was Terrorvision, Altered States and From Beyond, click the title to read the review.  As you can see, these movies are from the 1980s, the best decade for horror and the Gate, is no different.

The gate follows a couple of friends, Glen and Terry.  Glen has a nightmare, he goes to his house which seems to be abandoned and when he goes to the back yard this old tree with his tree house is struck by lightening and collapses.  He wakes up the next day and his parents are going out of town and his sister throws a party.  But before all of that, we see the tree coming down and leaving a hole in the ground.  Glen and Terry explore the hole a little and find this large, rock a geode.  At the party the teenagers, Glen’s sister, play the light as a feather game with Glen.  Glen is levitated nearly to the ceiling and he is convinced something is happening.

That night, Glen sees his bedroom wall stretching like A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Terry embraces an ghostly figure of his dead mother that turns out to be Glen’s dog Angus. Angus dies during this strange embrace.  Later Terry is listening to Heavy Metal in his room and realizes the lyrics are from The Dark Book.  Terry tells Glen that he believes the hole in Glen’s backyard is a gateway to the domain of evil gods, and thinks that their actions opened it.

The movie gets really weird after that, when a corpse comes out of the wall.  When it falls to the ground it turns into little demons.  It was pretty unexpected and oddly enough on of the things that scared me as a child.  There is also a scene when they merge to make a giant demon.  The movie is pretty crazy in its final act, but a lot of fun.

The Gate could have played out into a series of movies, but the second movie didn’t do well and if I remember correctly, it was way off track.  I really think some of the things explored on this movie were really interesting.  I mean they talk about the Old Gods, demons and gateways to hell.  I also love the fact it surrounds these children, it can almost be on the level with Goonies or Monster Squad, but way more intense and more adult.  It gives me the feeling of a 12 year old’s adventure, but demonic.

Is the Gate scary?  Well, no not anymore, My 8 year old son and 3 year old daughter watched the Gate and had fun with it.  I think it is still somewhat important in the archives of 1980s horror as it breaks away from what we had seen in the 1980s.  In some ways it feels more important of a horror movie that may actually get lost in the shuffle among so many horror movies from the 1980s.  I am not huge on remakes, but I think the Gate, if remade today, could be terrifying.  In 2011 there was a remake planned, but it never got anywhere.  The sequel was released in 1990 and called The Gate II: Trespassers, it followed Terry who is still grieving over his mother, that is about all I can remember. has a rating of 6.0

I give the Gate a 7.2 overall.

Rotten Tomatoes, 43%, no real surprise there.

Vestron released a nice blu ray collector’s editon.  Click the image and you can purchase the blu ray from Amazon.

About Ray Marek III 699 Articles
I have been watching horror films since I was 6 years old. The story, one Saturday night, my mom and I were watching movies and she fell asleep on the couch. We had the channel set on HBO and the movie we were watching ended and the next one, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. This was some time in 1986. I watched then entire film, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. When my mom woke, she asked me what just ended and I told her, “Freddy”. That was all I talked about for weeks and finally she broke down and rented more horror films for me. She rented, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2, Re-Animator, Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives and Halloween II. I watched all and fell in love with horror films forever. 5 Horror Films to Watch Inferno (1980) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) The Beyond (1981) Friday the 13th VI: Jason Lives (1986) Horror of Dracula (1958)