The Gate (1987)

For unexplained reasons, a family is having a small tree removed from their backyard. After the work crew pulls up the stump the boy of the family, Glen, finds a geode.  He shows it to his punk rock/nerd friend Terry who wants to sell it, and to his older sister Al, who is now too cool for such things.  Glen’s mom and dad go out-of-town for the weekend, and the boys decide to dig around in the backyard for more fancy rocks.  After finding one, they crack it open and after an odd light inside has dimmed, they find strange symbols written on a sketch pad.  Terry discovers that these symbols, when translated and spoken, will open up a gateway to let demons into our world.  Good thing they didn’t say the words.. oh they did? They’re screwed.

Strange things begin to happen like kids levitating and their dog dying. But when little creepy trolls start popping up around the house, they know something isn’t quite right. After escaping some satanic creatures trying to kill them, they discover the huge pit in the backyard with monsters crawling out of it.  They do what most reasonable people would do, and chuck a bible down the hole.  That seems to do the trick, so they get ready for bed like nothing strange has been going on for the last two hours, but a zombie breaks through the wall and snatches Terry, then comes back for Al.  Glen is left alone in the house where the living room is now occupied by a 20 foot tall demon.  He sends a model rocket into the thing, and for some reason that kills it and everything goes back to normal. Huh?

Alex’s Thoughts: I know there are some people who like this movie due to a sense on nostalgia. That is not me, since this is the first time I’ve seen the thing.  It is like most low-budget horror flicks from the 80’s – a pretty good idea executed poorly.  Other than the practical little demon effects, everything else looked awful and corny.  The story had potential, but a general lack of enthusiasm and atmosphere made this what it is: just an average movie.  Alex Rates This Movie 5/10

Tim’s Thoughts: I liked this as a kid, but watching it now, it’s pretty goofy. I still like it, but I don’t know that I could recommend it to many people. I guess mostly Stephen  Dorff  completionists, and hardcore 80’s horror buffs. I enjoyed the practical effects, and I wish they did more these days, they look so much better, but if this came out today it would be straight to DVD. Not bad, but not really that good. Tim Rates This Movie 6/10

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