Friday, September 6, 2013


Director: Tibor Takacs
85 Minutes, PG13

My memories of The Gate are some of my earliest movie memories of my entire life. Having two older sisters, parents that were really into ZZ Top, and a Budget Mart gas station down the street growing up, meant I got to watch movies that probably weren't appropriate for a preschooler.

While The Gate may not appear to be a kid's movie. In my mind, it is. It stars kids. It's about being a kid. It's a story about your weird metalhead neighbor, about growing apart from your older siblings, and opening the gate of hell in your backyard.

Most horror films of this era were marketed towards young teens. I feel, as a PG13 film, The Gate aimed slightly lower.

Glen is your average kid. He has a sweet Huffy, a scruffy old dog, and lives in the standard suburban two story. Just like I did.

The film opens with Glen (Stephen Dorff) riding his bike up to his house, getting into his treehouse and having it fall and collapse. He wakes up from a nightmare to hear heavy machinery removing the very same tree, leaving in massive hole in the ground.

Glen and his friend Terry find a weird crystal in the hole. It burns Satanic images on to their Sesame Street Magnet toy doodle pad thingy.

"Metal up your ass!"
The movie proceeds to the mundane suburban life. Terry is really nerdy and really into sweet metal bands like Venom and The Killer Dwarves. Glen's sister Al, is becoming a mature young lady and she doesn't have time to play with Glen and his baby toys anymore.

When Glen and Al's parents go out of town, Al has a sweet party when the mature kids practice levitating and trying to do all sorts of other goofy "occult" things 13 year olds do.

In conjunction with the massive hole in the yard, the "occult,"Al's "boyfriend" dumping the dead family dog in the hole, and listening to metal records in reverse, Terry, Al, and Glen unleash hell onto the earth. . . in the form of tiny claymation demons. Then lightning rolls in, eyes start showing up in people's hands, in a nutshell the apocalypse happens.

I had nightmares about these dudes before liquid metal.


Viewing this as a child left many images in my head. The eye in the hand being the strongest. But along with the mundane, facts of life, such as siblings growing apart, the death of the family dog, the weird metal head neighbor kid. The Gate really recreates childhood forces evil upon it and destroys it. Terrifying for a kid. Entertaining for an adult.

If I ever have kids, I'm totally making them watch this when they're 6.

- M. McSlam

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