I have to thank my friend Luke for reminding of this amazing movie a few days ago when he showed me his latest poster print from the dude at Phantom City Creative. If you want one of a kind poster prints, this is the place to get them. So with that little plug aside, the poster he showed me was of The Gate, a 1986 horror movie that was done in stop motion animation along with some Ray Harryhausen like creations. The Gate is a fun ride of a horror film, no strong gore or violence, but it uses this mad house style creep fest of the creatures and atmosphere to make a fun as hell kids horror movie. It was more insane than Monster Squad, but not nearly as great cause it didn’t have the kids kicking Wolfman in the nards.
During a boring, routine weekend, young Glen (Stephen Dorff) and his best buddy, Terry (Louis Tripp), decide to explore Glen’s backyard. Before long, the boys come across a strange hole in the ground which yields all manner of sinister prizes. Consulting one of his heavy-metal record albums, Glen comes to the correct conclusion that the hole is actually the Gate to Hell. Offering a sacrifice in the form of a dead dog, Glen further opens the portals of Hades, through which pass some of the most hideous demons imaginable. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
I remember watching back in the early 90s, mainly because I was old enough at that time to not shit my pants if I saw it when I was like 5. I mean monsters under the bed, demons from hell, household items trying to kill you and little creepy crawlies were enough to send any little kid into fits of terror. The Gate fit into that campy, teen horror of the eighties that makes us look back fondly on the wackiness of the times. Even now I still look back fondly on the film for the absurd story line and unique effects that inhabited the film.
There is really much to say in terms of the story of the film. It had an interesting premised but a weak conclusion, but that shouldn’t diminish the enjoyment of the film as your derive pleasure from the effects and stop motion animation. Only in the eighties can opening a gateway to hell can be so damn entertaining and lively. The creature effects remind me of the work of Ray Harryhausen, whom people might remember from the original “Clash of the Titans” not the shitty remake. The creatures are terrifying and have that schlocky cult horror appeal that will keep the die hard fans of the genre salivating when they watch them in action. The acting is ok considering they are kids doing most of the leg work.
Overall, this is about as cult classic as a film can get. The Gate doesn’t redefine a genre, but it make its mark with a lively spirit of horror and the wacky appeal that a film about a portal opening to hell can be. It’s a good nostalgia film that I was reminded about a few days ago and man, I just want to watch this now.