BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
Make no bones about it, Horror Hounds, The Gate is a MUST-HAVE release from Lionsgate’s handling of its on-going Vestron Video Collector’s Series. Written by Michael Nankin and directed by Tibor Takács, The Gate was an unexpected success for New Century Vista Film Co. when it went toe-to-toe against Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman’s Ishtar in its initial release. For many audiences (myself included), this domestically situated horror film never left our imaginations; we were THAT into its nightmare vision of suburbia.
Dark and kid-centered, demonic fantasy flicks rarely get as good as The Gate; everything just comes together to create a film that is both prescient and timeless in its delivery of horror. Leave it to Canadians to show the rest of the world how ghoulish horror should be done. This film absolutely BECAME the stuff of nightmares. I know that I, as a result of The Gate, spent many a wakeful night questioning each and every noise in my bedroom.
Truthfully, there is something so easily relatable about an unexpected discovery in a person’s backyard that continues to make The Gate work. Especially when that discovery is a portal to Hell itself. Sure, it’s just a hole in the backyard, but the chaos that comes creeping out of it is both immediate AND slimy.
The Gate wisely starts out with a young boy (Dorff) on his bike. Glen’s a bit emotional and frustrated, but soon finds the distraction he needs. The film switches on the mystery with the discovery of a crystalline rock by Glen and his best buddy, Terry (Louis Tripp) after an entire treehouse has been upended by a powerful lightning storm.
Soon enough, Glen’s parents are gone on a three-day trip and his 16-year-old sister Alexandra (Christa Denton) is planning a party. The rock is broken open, the writing inside is read aloud, and Glen winds up being levitated at her party. How’s that for an ominous beginning? What follows in the next two days is a series of frightful encounters with moths, a dead dog, a ghostly construction worker, and a whole hell of a lot of tiny demons.
With an amped up sense of adventure, The Gate absolutely delivers on the horror front, filling our screens and our nightmares with pesky demons – both big and small courtesy of artist Randy Cook and his tasteful combination of stop-motion, forced perspective, and men in demon suits – and making us doubt even the true nature of our parents’ intentions thanks to a pretty gruesome scene as Dorff claws his father’s eyes out and reveals an icky green fluid hiding beneath. Run, dude, run!!!
Each your heart out, HP Lovecraft, The Gate has been left open once again!
MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Runtime: 85 mins
Director: Tibor Takács
Writer: Michael Nankin
Cast: Stephen Dorff, Christa Denton, Louis Tripp
Tagline: ray it's not too late!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Demons aren't gonna ring the doorbell!"
Theatrical Distributor: New Century Vista Film Company
Release Date: May 15, 1987
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: February 28, 2017
Synopsis: Two young boys accidentally release a horde of nasty, pint-sized demons from a hole in a suburban backyard. What follows is a classic battle between good and evil as the two kids struggle to overcome a nightmarish hell that literally begins to take over the Earth.
Vestron Video Collector's Series
Home Video Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Available on Blu-ray - February 28, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH; Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; Music: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region A
Offered courtesy of Lionsgate Films and its new handling of the Vestron Video imprint in 1.85:1, the AVC-encoded 1080p transfer of The Gate is a relative goldmine of previously unseen details and colors in the set designs. The details in the rooms and the clothing and some of the bedroom furniture items are a reason to appreciate the visual “pop” throughout the high definition transfer. The atmosphere – especially from Glen’s point of view with all the creepy things going on – is especially nice. The crisp image quality is the best you’re going to get with a film like this and, admittedly, even a bit better than expected. Some stuff from the same era hasn’t made the HD transition quite as well, but The Gate looks better than it ever did. Colors are perfect. Blacks are solid. Skin tones are detailed and appropriate. The sound – offered here in a strong DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo track – presents the terror in an engaging manner.
There are two commentaries on the disc. Director Tibor Takacs, Writer Michael Nankin, and Special Effects Designer & Supervisor Randall William Cook provides the commentary on one. The other is a technical one with Special Effects Designer & Supervisor Randall William Cook, Special Make-Up Effects Artist Craig Reardon, Special Effects Artist Frank Carere, and Matte Photographer Bill Taylor. Both are integral to understanding and appreciating the craftsmanship on display.
The Gate is loaded with goodies that are bound to please fans and newbies to film. We get a good selection of NEW featurettes, trailers, and an isolated score selection (complete with audio interview segments) with the film’s two composers. Overall, this is yet another great release for b-movie lovers.
- The Gate: Unlocked Featurette
- Minion Maker Featurette
- From Hell It Came Featurette
- The Workman Speaks! Featurette
- Made in Canada
- From Hell: The Creatures & Demons of The Gate
- The Gatekeepers
- Making of The Gate
- Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composers Michael Hoenig and J. Peter Robinson
- Teaser Trailer
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spot
- Storyboard Gallery
- Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery