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The Gate (1987) Review

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

The Gate film poster

The last time I watched this fun coming of age horror was on VHS probably around 1989, so it’s been 30 long years between viewings. And it’s still a highly enjoyable kid friendly horror that while not reaching the heights of the Poltergeist / ET ballpark it’s playing in, and is worth a watch for fans of the era.

A suburban kid named Glen (a diminutive Stephen Dorff), finds that a gateway to hell has appeared in his backyard, which releases tiny demon creatures (that Gremlins influence was strong at the time) that cause havoc for him, Al his older sister & Terry, his metalhead friend. Luckily Terry, the bespectacled bogan has a gatefold metal LP cover that handily explains what’s going on.

There’s a lot to recommend here: the kids are likeable enough; the FX are pretty great overall with some nice stop motion creatures; the 80’s-ness pops pretty hard - especially with the party that Al & Glen throw when their parents conveniently go away for the night. Then we have Al’s boyfriend driving around with their dead family dog in the front seat for a ridiculously long time; a zombie construction walker that bursts from the walls; plus the awesome tentacled, many-eyed beast that rises from the gate at the end.

The film also adheres to that classic 80’s structure of slowly building up the story & tension before cutting loose into an excellent monster mash at the 45 min mark. And given the age of the protagonists & the party / sleepover setting, it would make an excellent sleepover / gateway horror for budding fans of the genre.

4 eyeball hands out of 5.

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