Politics Magazine

Gateway Horror

Posted on the 01 December 2023 by Steveawiggins @stawiggins

I’m in two minds about The Gate.  Part of me says “bad movie” while another part says, “Yeah, I’d watch it again.”  A third part of me knows I probably will.  It came out in 1987 as family-friendly horror.  There’s far too much going on for the run-time and the acting is lackluster (child actors who can really pull horror off are rare; perhaps those with more life experience make it believable).  It does have some Poltergeist vibes, though.  So, Glen (12) and his sister Al (15) are allowed to stay home without a babysitter for three days.  A couple nights before, a storm blew over a tree in the backyard, and Glen, with his friend Terry, accidentally open the eponymous gate at the hole by breaking open a geode, allowing demons to come into the world.  And, of course, the parents are gone.

Gateway Horror

Glen fears he is losing his sister to, well, growing up.  They used to do model rockets, but now she’s interested in boys.  Terry listens to heavy metal and discovers in an insert to an album of a European band, Sacrifyx, that they’ve opened the gate.  As night falls, the stop-motion demons attack.  They’re little and can be blocked by doors.  Al, Glen, and Terry have to figure out how to stop the demons and seal the gate without the Dark Book insert from the Sacrifyx album.  What to do?  They grab a Bible and try reading a bit.  When it doesn’t seem to be working, Terry utters an expletive and throws the Bible into the hole.  It works!  But, ah, this is only the false resolution.  The really big demon bursts through a hole in the living room floor after Terry and Al are both taken.  Glen, left to his own devices, launches a model rocket at the demon, destroying it.

Okay, sounds bad, right?  The reason, it seems to me, is that it doesn’t put religion to work for itself.  The instincts seem good—use the Bible—but the demons are too corporeal and too physical.  There’s no possession here.  In fact, the demons are the old gods (we’re in Lovecraft territory now) who want to take over the world once again.  There’s some good material to work with in The Gate, and if I ever get around to a sequel to Holy Horror I’ll have to include this one.  Overall, the message seems to be that if the Bible doesn’t work, use a rocket.  Oh, and don’t give up on your sister.

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