Director: Tibor Takacs
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Christa Denton, Louis Tripp, Kelly Rowan, Jennifer Irwin
They’re here and they want to meet the neighbors
After a tree has been removed from his family’s backyard, the twelve year old Glen and his best friend and neighbor Terry goes to work and digs around in the remaining hole. They find a strange alien looking stone that they bring inside and when they examine it closer, it breaks in half and the inside shines in all sorts of colors.
By doing this, the gates to hell opens where the tree used to stand and the young boys only got Glen’s sixteen year old sister to help them when the house gets infested with small demons. They all go through the roughest weekend of their life and they not only have to save themselves, but also the entire world from these demonic creatures that emerged from the gate.
I have very strong nostalgic feelings towards The Gate. This is one of the favorite films of my childhood and I can’t even imagine how many times I saw this as a child. Even as I’ve grown older, I still find this film to be great and it’s very easy to see as an adult why I fell in love with this film as a young child, cause that’s exactly the type of crowd that it was made for in the first place.
There isn’t really any horror films that target kids these days and I guess it’s because people associate the word “horror” with something that must be for adults only. Yet, if you look at several Disney films or just cartoon shows you can still find dark images that leave a mark in children. There is so much fantasy in a film like this that I’m sure that most children who are allowed to see stuff like Harry Potter could also understand and appreciate The Gate. In fact, if you ever want to create a horror fan from a young age, I would recommend choosing this one as a good way to introduce a young one into the horror genre.
Since this is targeted towards the younger crowd, the main focus is to make it entertaining. All the characters are young and for once we actually see siblings that doesn’t argue and fight, but rather work together and obviously cares and loves each other. We start to care for the main character by watching how they treat each other and the ones that are made annoying on purpose are only friends of the sister, which we don’t need to worry about anyways.
Even if the story might be a little bit adult with demonic creatures, they avoided going too dark and the movie barely has blood in it. It doesn’t go overboard with scares, but has a few scenes that will be creepy for teenagers. The effects are fun, although does show its age now that it has been released on DVD. They have some awesome small demonic creatures that I loved as a child and would not mind having a puppet of on my shelf today.
The Budapest born genre filmmaker Tibor Takacs is responsible for directing this film. He is perhaps also equally as known for one of his other 80’s horror films I, Madman and has lately been doing Syfy/The Asylum stuff like Ice Spiders and Mega Snake. He nailed the atmosphere for this film and the pacing isn’t bad either. He got good performances from all of his young cast and I think he should be very proud of his achievements with this film.
The three main teenage characters all seem like youngsters that the teenage crowd of the time could relate to. The main child Glen, played by Stephen Dorff, is the average American kid. His friend Terry, played by Louis Tripp, is a young metalhead who has a love for the occult. He is probably who the more die-hard horror fan could relate to.
And lastly we have the cute Christa Denton as Al. Al is around sixteen years old and is about to become an adult. She wants more responsibility, which she is getting by being allowed to take charge of the house this weekend that their parents are away. She is loving, caring and a teenage girl who is there for the female youngsters to relate to. Again, it’s very nice to see that all three main characters are good kids who care for each other, especially since this is made for the younger crowd and they need to see loving family members and friendship on the screen.
Even if I have deep nostalgic feelings towards The Gate, I don’t think those feelings are making me overrate this film. It is a fantastic piece of horror fantasy from the 80’s that would be perfect for any young teenager who wants something scary, but also safe. The Gate is not perfect, but still a very wonderful film.