Saturday, December 8, 2012

There's only one thing more terrifying than the first visit. The second. - The Gate II Review

  There's only one thing more terrifying than the first visit. The second.- The Gate II Review

PLOT - Four teens summon forth a diminuitive, demonic minion from The Other Side to do their bidding and grant their wishes, but of course, they must all ultimately pay the price... 

LOWDOWN - Besides watching a few parts as a child, I didn't fully get to watch The Gate until one of my roommates back at school got this gem on Netflex and I spent the night watching it and followed it up with Critters. The moment I sat down memories came flooding back about the certain scenes I vaguely remembered watching as a child. In fact I nearly died laughing when they showed the shot of the moths flying through the hole and my friend Anthony yelled at the top of his lungs "BEES!" I guess you had to be there...or be drinking a couple of six packs which I'm almost certain we were. Anyways, the one thing that truly stood out to be was how good of a movie The Gate was. They took one of my favorite elements that seemed to be taking a strong hold in the 1980's, which was putting children in danger. They did it with The Goonies, The Lost Boys, The Monster Squad, and even took things to a new level taking much smaller children who had to fight these demons completely alone with not one adult in sight. Trust me, nothing makes you feel better than watching a child dance with a dead dog. The second thing that stuck out to me was how amazing the effects were in this movie. There were plenty of practical, and stop motion which just warms my heart with happy memories. This was back in a golden time when movies were movies. For some very strange reason this movie sorta reminds me of Witchboard even though they have zero to have to do with each other. Maybe it's the whole crossing over to the other side and the ever so awesome theme which reminds me of certian films from this era. 

I had no idea there was  sequel until I went to Monster Maina last spring and was hunting for VHS tapes. On one small table I was looking for certian titles for a friend of mine when I scanned my eyes down and happened to see the cover for The Gate II. I was more than a little surprised but for some unknown reason I didn't pick it up. It wasn't until buying the original Gate on DVD and decided to start hunting for either a bootleg copy of this or find an original VHS tape. Finally last week while doing some online Christmas shopping for a friend of mine. I went to my very favorite site VHSPS and bought a couple of titles, one being The Gate II simply out of curiously. This was a complete blind buy but I had faith I wouldn't be let down.

Yesterday I came home to the package in the mail and decided today since I had zero to do besides a little painting and sculpting, to pop in this disk and finally get around watching it. Earlier this year I had noticed that John from Freddy In Space had watched the movie and wasn't really thrilled about what he had seen. Deciding not to revisit the review, I went into the movie with an empty mind.

The first thing that sorta got me was the fact Glen (Stephen Dorff) wasn't in this one and was only mentioned once when Terrence remarks about what happened a couple of years ago and the camera pans to the ruined wreck of the house we last saw in the previous movie. I really think it was a mistake not getting Dorff back for this one. Hey maybe he was too busy trying to kill Blade or selling smokeless cigarettes. I did really dig the shots of the house and how you just have to assume that Glen and his family moved away shortly after the first film ended. 

The childhood magic that seemed so awesome in the first film is sorta lost. Now this movie was originally made in 1988, but took several years to finally be released. I'm sorta stunned that the same director returned and how he just couldn't capture the amazing feel he build in the first film. I did love to see Terry return, showing more in detail about his broken home with his drunk of a father and how he's trying to come to terms with the fact that his mother passed away two years earlier. The movie really didn't make much sense. Terry decides to return to Glen's old house and to wake up the demons again to use the black magic in turning it around and get his down and out father a new job and try to fix his damaged family. So let me get this straight? After EVERYTHING that he had just been though the previous year with demons and devils, and walking corpses...he somehow looks fondly towards that time in his life and wants to wake these little fuckers up again just so his dad can get off unemployment?

Safe to say things don't go well...

The wishes plot line seemed a little silly and out of place. I mean yeah it's a good idea, but don't try to pull out a new trick hoping for it to work. I mean certian times it has worked in sequels...most of the time it doesn't. I think had they taken their time with the script, really going into a better detail of the wishes, maybe...just maybe they could have had something.

Also whenever the wishes go bad they turn into shit.

Yep...legit shit. A girl wishes for a sports car and the next morning she finds a pile of shit in the driveway. A kid wishes for money and when he goes to pay the bill at a fancy resturant he reaches into his pocket only to find liquid shit.

Think I'm kidding?

Also our favorite stop motion little demons that worked so well in the first. Terry has one he now keeps in a jar that awakes and breaks out only to be kept in a bird cage and later kidnapped and forced to smoke pot (...)

I did like the idea of the demon bitting the asshole teenager and him turning into one giant demon. That was pretty sweet..

Besides that the movie is just a mess. It seems to be all over the place and like I said before just doesn't capture the magic the first had. The forced romance between Terry and the lead girl was God awful, and the final showdown was laughable. (Where's Glen when you need him?) Was I disapointed? I angry I bought it? No.

This is a campy movie that I think had been paid a little bit more attention to could have been a great sequel. Instead we have something that starts out pretty fun...and quickly turns to shit.

The early 90's was a golden time for classic direct to video horror gems (Waxwork II, Warlock II, The Howling sequels, ect.) I guess this one just happened to miss it's chance to be something truly great.

So all and all a good movie to have in a collection but nothing to really write home about. All I can hope for is Alex Winter's remake of the original will take this horrible shit taste from my mouth and make me feel better about these films.

1 1/2 Stars

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