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"The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Old 09-28-21, 10:35 PM
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"The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge



The Gate (1987)




Selected by T-bone22


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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

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2021 DISCUSSION | 2021 LISTS

Old 10-26-21, 08:33 AM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

The Gate is one of those "kids in peril" films from the late 80s that is nostalgic if you grew up with it. If not, i don't think it holds up. A group of kids find a hole in the ground unlocks the gates of hell. The kids are annoying to me, but the special effects are great.
6/10
Old 10-26-21, 09:39 AM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

How old was everyone the first time you saw this? I think my kids would like it but I'm trying to remember how old I was and if it delighted or terrified me. Kids who say they want scary movies but then flip out when it's scary is a frustrating situation.
Old 10-26-21, 10:48 AM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

The kids in The Gate feel more like real kids than is typical for a lot of horror movies (they don't appear to be 30, aren't stupidly gleeful over a joint, and need their parents). It's surprising that after the success of films like Goonies, ET, Stand By Me, etc there aren't more modern serious kid films like the vibe is here with The Gate (now a days even in films like Jumanji 2 kids are literally turned into The Rock rather than being kids). The Gate takes some time to get going but capsules the late 80s well enough it feels vintage and nostalgic. The father face melting scene is an epic escalation and the strange miniature creatures are novel with a great mix of ghastly and silly. It makes me wonder why more horror movies don't try for something more original like The Gate does here with it's tree house mini-demons (vampires and frankenstein and zombies are cool but...). However the demons never really feel like harbingers of 'Hell on Earth' so that part always confused me (least convincing Hell ever); if anything they seem designed to be intentionally less threatening. I want to say it's only a matter of time before someone remakes The Gate in CGI; but I think so much of it is from a bygone era. Get off my lawn! It's sad that we've lost all the arcane knowledge that heavy metal had to offer now that it's less mainstream. One of my pet peeves is horror movie houses that look like epic mansions or have trendy designs unlike anything seen by anyone and here The Gate keeps it relatable. I really like The Gate and am surprised it's less commonly mentioned than stuff like Poltergeist or Amityville Horror.

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-26-21 at 11:03 AM.
Old 10-26-21, 11:00 AM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I enjoyed The Gate in the theater way back when and I still like it today. Yes, it's a movie aimed at kids, but it doesn't talk down to them and like Curse of the Demon, it succeeds because it takes the subject matter seriously. It plays like My Little Lovecraft, and I mean that in a good way.
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Old 10-26-21, 11:05 AM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by story
...Kids who say they want scary movies but then flip out when it's scary is a frustrating situation.
I can relate. My kids have been getting bored with horror movies; they tuned out on Halloween (1978) but my son got scared of A Nightmare on Elm Street. We got through Scream and the kids say it was too slow. We are currently 2/3 of the way through Return of the Killer Tomatoes after a pattern of starting a movie, the kid announcing he's going to do something else then us stopping it for now (granted it's Return of the Killer Tomatoes). My 13 year old daughter says her favorite horror movie is Unfriended so maybe movies, preferences, and attention spans have changed in ways I fail to comprehend.
Old 10-26-21, 01:45 PM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I was probably about 10 years old when I first saw this, and I loved it. I think my mom maybe even recorded it on VHS off cable. I watched that movie a ton.

Fast forward many years and I revisited this in one of the challenges a few years back. It really disappointed then. I was really surprised at how kiddie everything felt.

Perhaps because the nostalgia bubble had already burst, I enjoyed it more this time, though I don't see myself springing for the Blu-ray. I do think this is really good as a potential introduction to horror for youngsters of a certain age. While there are some potentially scary scenarios, everything just feels so non-threatening. No matter what happens, I never fully feel like the kids are in any really jeopardy. In the end, even the dog is OK so I guess there's a reason for that feeling.
Old 10-26-21, 08:02 PM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

That’s a great poster. I was a little too old fo this one when it came out, but I was a late bloomer, so it hit about right.

Yes, it’s got a strong kid vibe, but nostalgia is strong with this one. I just remember the effects were pretty cool, and I still feel that, though I feel really old watching this one.

im glad to have this one done so I can move on to some of the Netflix series everyone seems to have seen already.
Old 10-26-21, 08:30 PM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Gobear
I enjoyed The Gate in the theater way back when and I still like it today. Yes, it's a movie aimed at kids, but it doesn't talk down to them and like Curse of the Demon, it succeeds because it takes the subject matter seriously. It plays like My Little Lovecraft, and I mean that in a good way.
I saw this on cable many times as a teen and I enjoyed revisiting it today. The Workman crashing to the floor and breaking into a multitude of demons is still a cool effect. In addition to featuring a young Stephen Dorff The Gate also features Kelly Rowan (Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh) as one of the Lee sisters.
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Old 10-26-21, 09:04 PM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by story
How old was everyone the first time you saw this? I think my kids would like it but I'm trying to remember how old I was and if it delighted or terrified me. Kids who say they want scary movies but then flip out when it's scary is a frustrating situation.
I donít exactly recall how old I was when I first saw The Gate, but I was quite young. The scene that I remember the most that freaked me out at that age was the eyeball in the hand. That scene stuck in my memory.
Old 10-26-21, 09:18 PM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

For me, it was the beginning of summer of 1987. School had just ended for the year and summer was coming. I was 12 years old and I went with my little sixth grade girlfriend, Chastity, a buddy down the street, Earl, and his girlfriend, Beth. Dropped off by my buddy's mom, we didn't even know what movie we were going to see as it was just an excuse to see girls. Having watched scary movie from an early age, thanks to some older brothers, the only part that really scared me a little back then was the dead dog dance scene. Otherwise, we ended up enjoying it. we both made out with our girlfriends afterwards, so this one has a bit of nostalgia for me, to say the least. I still enjoy it. The sequel sucked, though.
Old 10-26-21, 11:08 PM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I didn't love this. It is obviously aimed at young adults. The claymation monsters were more ridiculous than scary. I know many people love this because it was a childhood favorite. But I didn't have that nostalgia factor, and it didn't translate to me as a (very adult) first time viewer. I'm probably also more critical at this stage of the challenge. 2/5 stars.
Old 10-27-21, 07:10 AM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I didn’t see this until it hit video stores. I’d guess I was around 12 or so. I don’t have the connection I have with Goonies, Gremlins, Stand By Me or Monster Squad. This and Explorers never hit me, so when I rewatch them, the same enjoyment isn’t there.
Old 10-27-21, 11:34 PM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I hate I missed this when I was younger. I was 14 when it came out. We always saw it sitting on the video shelf but never rented, probably because it was rated PG-13 and we were trying to absorb and and all R rated movies when we were teens...especially horror films (nudity and gore and all that).

So we never picked it up and I haven't seen it until tonight. I thought it was okay and didn't hate it. The first part dragged quite a bit. Once it got going, it held my interest but there really was not plot to speak of. The special effects were outstanding and honestly some of the finest I have seen in a low budget film like this. And easily some of the best stop motion ever.

Can we say best Stephen Dorff performance of all time?

It did make me feel old though when I saw how young he was at this time. I always thought he was older than me but he is actually 5 months younger. Shit...did I look that young in 87? Because he almost looks like a 9 year old in this. But he was around the same age as me...14...though probably 13 when he filmed it but he still looks like a baby in it.

My rating: **1/2 out of *****
Old 10-28-21, 03:23 PM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

This didn't do much for me when I watched it during a previous OHC but I really enjoyed it this time around. The young actors do a good job and the creature effects are still a lot of fun. I like the design of the small creatures, the large eyes really make them seem alien and creepy. I don't have much else to add, it's a fun film, a horror flick you can watch with your family, save The Untold Story for another day.
Old 11-01-21, 12:42 AM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

When this debuted theatrically, the releasing company did a saturation ad campaign; you couldn't turn on the TV the week before the film came out without seeing the 30-second spot for the film. Still, I somehow missed it in the theater and didn't catch it until it hit VHS. I liked it pretty well. I watched it a few years ago and thought that it wasn't very good, but when I watched it for the Challenge this year, I liked it a bit better. It's very much a relic of its time; the hair on one of the Lee sisters was amazing.

My subset film rankings for the Challenge thus far:

1. Battle Royale
2. Carrie (1976)
3. Curse of the Demon
4. Freaky
5. Slither
6. Possessor Uncut
7. The Ninth Gate
8. Tower of Evil
9. Witchfinder General
10. A Bay of Blood / The Spiral Staircase (averaged together)
11. Planet Terror
12. Silent Madness
13. Slumber Party Massacre II (based purely on its out-of-left-field aesthetic)
14. In Search of Darkness
15. The Gate
16. Road Games
17. Daughters of Darkness
18. Triangle
19. The Collector
20. Cure
21. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II
22. Grave Robbers (Ladrones de Tumbas)
23. The Severed Arm
24. Fade to Black
25. The Empty Man
26. The Mortuary Collection
27. Cutting Class
Old 11-01-21, 10:14 AM
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Re: "The Gate" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by story
How old was everyone the first time you saw this? I think my kids would like it but I'm trying to remember how old I was and if it delighted or terrified me. Kids who say they want scary movies but then flip out when it's scary is a frustrating situation.
Our oldest and I watched this for their first time this weekend and they dug it. I think the false ending an hour in is effective and it surprised the kid. Effective makeup, and just when the kid thought the demons were all stop motion, they were rubber suits and threw them for a loop on what was "real."

I've followed Dinosaur Dracula and it's earlier incarnation, X-E, since day one and I was lucky enough in September to score a brand-new, just-released official cassette tape(!) of The Gate soundtrack! It's pretty cool on my "all things 80s" shelf.

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