The Gate is a silly 1980s horror film that feels like it was aimed at kids but had a PG-13 rating. It’s something you could imagine Joe Dante doing, but obviously it’s not him so its not as good as it could have been. Instead, it was directed by a total hack director from Hungary, Tibor Takács. This was his first theatrical film.
Some kids are left home alone while their parents go away for the weekend, resulting in a typical 1980s house party scene. The film is told through the eyes of Glen (Stephen Dorff). His friend Terry, played by Louis Tripp, accidentally open a gateway to hell through a hole in the backyard. You can pretty much imagine what comes next.
Demon dwarves come out and wreak havoc, and the kids have to play a metal record based on ‘The Dark Book’ to close the gateway. Someone was definitely watching a lot of Steven Spielberg and reading a lot of Stephen King, but without having the talent of either of them…
Fans of Stranger Things might enjoy it, although it’s not on the same level. It’s already relatively dreamlike, but the producers seem to have felt the need to tie everything up too neatly at the end—if they hadn’t gone down that road, it would have been a better film.
A sequel was made some years later, but it seems to have been completely forgotten, and probably for good reason. The director has since been stuck doing mostly television movies. His last theatrical release had the imaginative title of Spiders 3D, so I guess you could say his career didn’t really take off. Interestingly, he did make the TV pilot for the ’90 Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
The special features include commentaries, interviews old and new, trailers and all the rest (however, while Dorff’s career hasn’t been in great shape the last few years, he seems to have decided to forget this episode in his acting life and so doesn’t appear.)