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Old 10-11-2008, 10:24 AM
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Gate, The (Broadcast)





Reviewer: Dave
Review Date: October 9, 2008

Released by: *Satellite Broadcast*
Release date: 2008
NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes



Everyone that has read my reviews probably knows by now that I'm a sucker for 80s horror. As a child of the 80s, it was the likes of Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddy Krueger that introduced me to the horror genre. I grew up with those icons, along with other 80s classics such as The Monster Squad, Fright Night, Saturday the 14th, and so on. While many of these 80s horror flicks are genuinely good, my opinion remains jaded due to a huge nostalgia factor. When the chance to review The Gate came along, I jumped at the opportunity based solely on the fact that I've never seen the movie. More importantly, I never saw the movie during my childhood. There's no nostalgia factor here, which makes me anxious to watch it and see if my opinion changes.

Some readers may be complain about a review of a high def. broadcast, but this wouldn't be the first time. I did it once before with Night of the Creeps, which most enjoyed. While it is disappointing that The Gate isn't available on DVD (excluding the now OOP P&S disc), a review like this may stir up interest and get some discussion going both here and other horror boards around the net.

Lets take a look at The Gate and see if it manages to impress, sans nostalgia.

The Story

inline Image A young boy by the name of Glen (Stephen Dorff) wakes from a nightmare and hears chainsaws going in the back of his home. An old, rotten tree is being removed from the yard. When Glen's friend Terry (Louis Tripp) arrives, the two discover a geode out in the work area. Terry convinces Glen to dig some holes in search of more geodes, claiming they can make some money by selling them. What they dig up is the entrance to a demon world, though the two don't realize what they've unearthed. The entrance isn't fully open and won't be unless several steps to an ancient ritual are completed.

inline Image Glen's parents are going away for the weekend and they leave Glen's sister Al (Christa Denton) in charge. With his parents gone and his sister busy with friends, Glen and Terry manage to crack open the geode. A stream of gas escapes and several words appear on an etch-a-sketch. Glen reads the words aloud, completing the first step of the ritual. The two head downstairs where Glen becomes a guinea pig for a levitation experiment that Al and her friends perform. They're able to get Glen to levitate, and unknowingly complete step two of the ritual.

inline Image After a night of dead mothers and dogs, the last step of the incantation is soon completed. When Terry returns to his home, he discovers a vinyl record that contains information about the gateway and the terrors on the other side, just waiting to be released. Terry and Glen use the record and its notes to reveal clues about what is happening, only they are too late to stop it. Once the last step of the ritual is inadvertently completed, the gateway opens and the small monsters within are unleashed upon the world. When Terry and Al are sucked into the gate, Glen is left alone to face the monsters and find a way to save the world. He gets more than he bargained for when a giant demon lord rises from the gate for a final showdown.

inline Image Maybe I'm alone, or maybe other reviewers do the same, but when I'm watching a movie for review, I start to form thoughts and statements inside my head for eventual use in the review. About half way through The Gate, I was convinced I had a stinker on my hands. The pacing was slow, the acting poor, and there was no gore, monsters, or nudity to keep it bearable. These were all things I made mental notes to complain about in the review. Those are indeed legitimate complaints, but before I could get too far in my mental note taking, something happened. The movie started to get good. The pace quickened, a zombie appeared, followed by miniature creeps, a giant vortex, hell being unleashed onto the earth, and a giant demon lord appeared! Good stuff indeed.

inline Image Many might recognize a young Stephen Dorff, probably best known among horror fans for his role as Deacon Frost in the first Blade movie. Stephen hadn't quite developed his acting skills for The Gate, but does manage to give a passable performance. The rest of the performances range from mediocre to downright awful. Director Tibor Takács continues to direct to this day but remains relatively unknown. Bonus points to director Tibor Takács and actor Louis Tripp (Terry) for appearing in Gate II: Trespassers, which is officially on my 'to see' list.

inline Image The effects in The Gate are decent if you consider it's a low budget horror flick. The use of full sized actors to portray miniature monsters is convincing at times. The stop motion effects are passable, too. Between a zombie exploding into smaller demons and an impressive looking demon lord, The Gate does well with the effects. Those apocalyptic shots of hell being unleashed onto the earth extremely well done.

While the acting remains bad, the story silly and painfully slow to get moving, The Gate turned out to be exactly what I love about 80s monster movies: dumb and fun! Nostalgia isn't the secret ingredient after all. Recommended!

Image Quality

inline Image The Gate was broadcast on MonstersHD in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and, being an HD broadcast, is 16x9 enhanced. While I don't own the previously released pan & scan DVD, the reviews I've read on it indicate an atrocious transfer. While a comparison would be ideal, I opted not to purchase the DVD due to its rarity and high price tag for such a lackluster product. Also, since the transfer here isn't available on any home video format, the point of a comparison becomes moot. Now, onto the transfer, which is in fact quite stunning for a low budet movies from the 80s! The image is razor sharp and well detailed. Colors are consistently well balanced with no bleeding occuring. Some minor grain is present and a few blemishes and specks appear throughout, but it's minimal. Considering the age and low budget of the movie, I'm highly impressed with the broadcast.

Sound

Monsters HD presented The Gate with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track. LFE activity is minimal but it does kick in during the action sequences. Channel separation is good and there's adequate activity from rear speakers. Overall a good track; dialogue is crisp and clear and I heard no distortion whatsoever.

Supplemental Material

No supplements were on the broadcast.

Final Thoughts

The Gate gets off to a slow start but in the end it delivers. The story is hokey and the acting is awful, but the effects are decent enough and it fits the bill for a good 80s monster movie. If you haven't seen it, give it a try. This MonstersHD presentation does justice to the movie with a top notch high definition transfer and a great soundtrack. Now lets just hope the right company comes along to do the movie justice on DVD and Blu-ray.

Rating

.
Movie – B

Image Quality – B+

Sound – B

Supplements – N/A



*Because of the quality of the HD format, the clarity, resolution and color depth are inherently a major leap over DVD. Since any Blu-ray will naturally have better characteristics than DVDs, the rating is therefore only in comparison with other Blu-ray titles, rather than home video in general. So while a Blu-ray film may only get a C, it will likely be much better than a DVD with an A.

Technical Info.
  • Running Time – 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Color
  • Rated PG-13
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements
  • None

 

 

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Old 10-13-2008, 07:53 AM
Moderator
The money turning to shit scene in GATE II is pretty emblematic of the film as a whole. The first film had a fun concept and made some cash from it, and the sequel spun it to shit.

That PROM NIGHT II disc is actually one of Alliance's better Canadian full screen discs. Certainly beats that PORKY'S pack. But yeah, get with the times.
__________________
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:11 AM
They stay the same age...
For an upgrade to the MGM disc, Prom Night II has to become a much, much better movie. Sure, it had bush, but I was disappointed it was possession of a student rather than something cool like the remains of Slick's van.

I always thought the money to shit was a slam on the U.S. since it was their currency. Either way, I think Dave will not spew at The Gate 2 if he can stomach that it's sort of like The Gate for the early nineties DTV crowd. Basically, the transition is similar to what happened with comedies like License to Drive melting into inanities like National Lampoon's Last Resort. At the very least, it has one great quote.
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Old 10-13-2008, 11:25 PM
Master of Doom
I have the HD transfer of The Gate on an HD2DVD disc, and it does look great even downconverted to that resolution. I'd say it's probably better in the visual department than my 16x9 German DVD. The old Platinum DVD, which I also own, is P&S apparently.

I also own the Canadian DVD of Gate II, but I'd love to see a 16x9 release.
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Old 10-25-2008, 10:22 PM
I agree! This movie was the bomb, as a kid or an adult cause i just rented it recently on VHS! Yeah thats right sucka V-H-S! I'd more then love to have a high quality version on dvd but as Rhett said theirs not one readily availible in the great white north as of yet. I remember this movie really had some surprising moments that made mee wonder what they were smoking at the time. With 80's films i tend not to pay attention to the acting...for good reason (most of it blows) but the effects and the mood of this film seemed to really come together and please the group of friends I watched it with. Nice review!

Ps. That scene where the kids are in the closet and that previously unseen thing just randomly pops out of the clothing... am I the only one that found that kinda shocking and twisted?!?

Last edited by Horror Junkie; 10-25-2008 at 10:24 PM..
 
 

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