Gate II - Scream Factory

Scream Factory Presents: Gate II (1990)

In 1987 a dark PG-13 film entitled The Gate was released to theaters. While making it’s money back at the box office, it was in fact how it performed on home video that forced talk of a sequel. Thankfully after three years, Gate II was filmed. However it would take until 1992 for it to reach home video shelves. Which is a pity. Because the Gate II is a worthy successor to the original film.
Gate II - Transformation

I feel that one of the reasons that The Gate stayed around was that while being a PG-13 movie, it was still a horror film. With it’s rating it was able to traumatize many young children and teenagers. It was scary in parts but still had humor and even a lot of heart. Of course there was also the fact it had some awesome forced perspective effects as well as stop-motion.

I had already graduated High School by the time Gate II hit video store shelves. As a matter of fact I was working at a local video store when it was released. I remember being surprised that the filmmakers went with an R this go around. Besides some language and drug humor, I found it was actually far tamer than the original.

Gate II - Terry and John

Mostly tamer.

Gate II picks up a few years after the first film. Terry (Louis Tripp) has grown into a teenager and has come to a decision. The horrible demonic forces that he and his best friend summoned up wasn’t a bad idea. Afterall it was for good intentions. It just went wrong because they quite frankly performed the ritual incorrectly. To help his Father get his job back as a pilot, to help him pull himself out of his drunken stupor, Terry plans on harnessing dark forces again.

What would be a good spot for our would be sorcerer? Naturally the abandoned, boarded up, and fenced in remains of his best friend’s house. A gate to the other side was opened there, right? This time however, the young man finds he has some unexpected company. A borderline psychotic bully named John, his girlfriend Liz, and their toady Moe. As you can guess, all four teenagers are going to regret tampering with the gate.
Gate II - The Pentagram

In the Gate II, there are some truly nice performances. Not just from Tripp but Simon Reynolds who plays Moe as well as Pamela Segall who plays Liz. Director Tibor Takacs, who also directed The Gate certainly knows what he is doing. While they totally could have rehashed the original they expand the universe and of course the character of Terry. Thanks to the return of screenwriter, Michael Nankin.

Furthermore, those stop-motion and perspective effects are even better in the sequel! Obviously, special visual effects supervisor Randall William Cook is proud of the work. Word of warning, there is just a bit of salty language at the end of this clip.

Being a Scream Factory release you can rest easy knowing they have in fact included extras. While I am of course a little disappointed there was no commentary. They did however deliver a 2K scan of the interpositive, so it looks better than ever before. As well as:

  • Return To The Nightmare – A Look Back At Gate II -Featuring Interviews With Director Tibor Takacs, Screenwriter Michael Nankin And Special Visual Effects Creator Randall William Cook.
  • From The Depths – An Interview With Make-up Effects Artist Craig Reardon
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Video Promo And Video Store Contest Promo
  • Still Gallery

The nearly 30 minute discussion between Takacs, Nankin and Cook is really interesting to be sure. As is the interview with Reardon. Hands down though the extra that made my head spin was video store contest promo. It was in fact a cassette tape that was given out at the time of it’s release for a chance to win a thousand dollars. Scream Factory has totally included the entire audio recording for our listening enjoyment!

Gate II will be released on Blu-Ray next week on February 27th. Naturally you can hop on over to the official Scream Factory site and pre-order your copy right this minute. In closing Gate II while being tamer with the gore offers another type of terror. The horror of getting what you wish for and then having to live with the consequences as they are twisted. While goofier in some ways, this sequel delivers what to the characters might appear to be a magic lamp…but is in reality a monkey’s paw.

As an example of how clean the picture quality is now for Gate II. Why not check out how it looked before Blu-Ray with the original trailer?

Did You Know Chicago Performed on Solid Gold?

Chicago on Solid Gold? Seriously, Chicago the band on a show known for dancers in gold lame shorts…in the same sentence?!

I’ll let that sink in.

Guess What Allison Found!

Fresh off their post-Cetera lineup change in 1985-1986, Chicago proved they can play the heck out of any venue…even if that venue was known for female dancers in gold lame shorts dancing to the day’s biggest songs. You probably didn’t know Chicago performed on Solid Gold, and neither did I…until now!

But It’s True!

In 1987, Chicago performed not one, but TWO songs from Chicago 18 – Adult Contemporary radio staple (31 years and counting!) “Will You Still Love Me?”

…and the lesser-known Bill Champlin/David Foster-penned “It’s Alight.” For the record, there were no gold lame shorts-clad dancers slinking around the stage to “It’s Alright.”

Because it would just be weird if they did it to “Will You Still Love Me,” right?

Here’s my point – there were no dancers.  Just lots of neon shirts, mustachioed Bill Champlin, and Jason Scheff’s permullet.

I swear, you get a 23-year-old lead singer, and suddenly, you start appealing to the youth!

You’d love to hear/see these songs, wouldn’t you?

Will You Still Love Me For Sharing This Performance?

Upload via eltrnet

I swear, this song has the effect of forcing you to forgive Jason Scheff for something – anything – that he probably has ever done. Every transgression, disagreement, and argument – forgiven when he sings this.

If he threw in a hair flip, this article would be a series of keystrokes I didn’t even realize I made. Because my head probably hit the keyboard upon blacking out.

But wait, there’s more! And Robert Lamm is happy to tell you all about it!

It’s Alright…Oh, Right! That’s the Name of the Song!

Robert Lamm, proud emcee and spokesperson, is happy to introduce their next song, and its singer!

And he used the song’s title to describe it – he’s so funny!

Upload via The Music of Chicago & Related

So, here’s my question: how did this song not see a release? It’s a great song, combining everything we love about Chicago with the sweet 1980s sound that made up the second wave of their legacy. And Bill Champlin, despite how I feel about his attitude toward his time with Chicago, has an amazing voice. His contributions were always a welcome delight.

Plus there’s no denying he truly had the coolest mullet of them all….

…until his gorgeous mane of awesomeness took over.

Krull - Colwyn

Am I The Only One That Likes 1983’s Krull?

Krull was a movie that made a big mark on me when I was young. I can recall watching another 1983 film at my local Drive-In, in this case it was Superman III. Standing in line at that fabled concession stand I happened to glance over and see the poster for Krull. All thoughts of my Chilly Dilly pickle were gone, so I slipped under the railing and went to get a closer look at that poster.
Krull - Movie Poster

I will admit I was drawn to the visage of the Beast first. I had already turned eleven at that point and while not frightening, it certainly demanded my attention. Throw in the odd weapon that I would later learn was called the Glaive. I knew I had to see this film. In addition, after Superman III they actually showed the trailer for Krull!

[Via] Trailer Dwelling

I ask you, how could I not be blown away. Return of the Jedi had finished the Star Wars trilogy and yet I still hungered for space adventures. The very fact that this was a mash-up of sword and sorcery and science fiction was all the better. It was tailor made for a burgeoning cinephile like myself!
Krull - Slayers

Furthermore how can you resist a film with a trident throwing cyclops?

Upon seeing it, in all honesty, I was blown away. While of course there are a few elements from Star Wars that were borrowed for Krull. I am speaking of the Hero’s Journey in this regard. Prince Colwyn is helped on his quest to rescue Princess Lyssa by the appearance of Ynyr. A wise old man that obviously acts as the Obi-Wan Kenobi of the film.
Krull - Freddie Jones

Naturally another element that Krull borrows from Star Wars is the Glaive. While it might not be a weapon from a more civilized time, it is ever so much as elegant as the weapon of a Jedi. As well as being a symbol of the royalty of long ago on the Planet Krull as we are told in the film. Most assuredly though I realize that like Lucas did with the lightsaber, the film’s ancient Glaive is a throwback to the likes of King Arthur’s Excalibur or even Hrunting from Beowulf!
Krull - The Glaive

On a side note. If I were thrust into the digital universe of the OASIS from Ready Player One. I can tell you without a doubt that in one hand would be the Glaive, and the other TRON’s identity disc.

Here is the rub though, it appeared that I was in the minority of those that loved the movie. The neighborhood kids definitely didn’t see all that I loved of Krull. Judging by the box office they weren’t alone. With an estimated budget of 47 million dollars – it earned only 16 million. It was pretty much savaged by the critics of the time. Case in point, this vintage review by Siskel and Ebert.

[Via] Gradepoint

I would add that it seems that maybe Gene and Roger in this particular case weren’t paying attention to the film. In addition, did Ebert knock 1981’s Dragonslayer? Now in truth Krull has obtained a cult status. Partly I am sure because of the embarrassment of riches it had with its cast. Liam Neeson, Robbie Coltrane, Freddie Jones, and Alun Armstrong to name a few.
Krull - Alun Armstrong

Let’s not fail to mention that the movie also boasts a fantastic score, by the late and great James Horner.

[Via] 200 Verde

I still find the movie to be just as thrilling as in my youth. I say this having fully removed those rose-tinted spectacles. Is it a perfect movie, most assuredly not. Krull is however an entertaining film, definitely deserving of a better score than 33% on Rotten Tomatoes, friends.
Krull - Rell

I’ve rambled on about things I like about Krull so how about watching something very special?


Thanks to DeeDee Bigelow’s YouTube channel, we can see Ken Marshall, who played Prince Colwyn hold the Glaive in his hands after 30 years.

Fantasy Zone - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Fantasy Zone (1986)

Sega’s Fantasy Zone is CTupa‘s pick for his Retro Arcade Art project for this week. This is a game that while I knew about it didn’t have the chance to play it in the arcades. The very first encounter I had with Fantasy Zone was in fact on the Sega Master System. One of numerous titles that in High School I was able to rent and play on the weekends with one of my best friends. I will admit however that I wasn’t exactly enthralled by the cutesy style of Fantasy Zone at first.
Fantasy Zone - Sega Master System

It wasn’t until I had a chance to play the game for myself that I noticed how awesome it was. Cute as well as brightly colored backgrounds aside, Fantasy Zone is a frantic scrolling shooter.
Fantasy Zone - Frantic Shooter

The backstory for the game involves the ship a Player will pilot, known as Opa-Opa. The Player is tasked with beating back an alien invasion to the Fantasy Zone. All in the attempt to bring back peace to the land and it’s inhabitants. You don’t believe me? See for yourself!
Fantasy Zone - Backstory

To do this however means that the Player must take out a certain number of enemy spawning bases. Which can be tracked by the line of colored boxes at the bottom of the screen. Doing so will trigger a Boss Battle and very quickly these become prime examples of the difficulty of Fantasy Zone.
Fantasy Zone - Bases
Fantasy Zone - Boss Battle

Thankfully very much like the main protagonist from CTupa’s earlier pick Chack’n Pop. The cartoonish Opa-Opa has more than a few tricks up its sleeve. For example if you fly to the bottom of the stage and touch the ground, the Opa-Opa will engage…feet. Allowing you to stroll across Terra firma if you so wish.
Fantasy Zone - Feet

Keeping with some of the cartoon-like aspects of Fantasy Zone, the fact that the Opa-Opa is kept aloft by both an engine and wings shouldn’t shock you.

Playing Fantasy Zone gives you WINGS!

In the game at the very least there are shops you can visit. By way of balloons that appear at the start of each level. Paid for by the gold coin dropped by your enemies. Yellow balloons allow the option of switching weapons as well.
Fantasy Zone - Shop Balloon

Fantasy Zone - Weapon Upgrade

Learn from the mistakes of my youth, friends. Fantasy Zone is an absolutely fantastic arcade title. It has certainly received not just ports to the popular home consoles of the day. But sequels as well such as Fantasy Zone II – The Tears of Opa-Opa, Fantasy Zone: The Maze, and Super Fantasy Zone to name a few.

Now that you know the basics of Fantasy Zone, why not watch it in action?

[Via] World of Longplays

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

I hope you won’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art project as well!
Retro Arcade Art - Christoper Tupa

Norman Normal - Title Card

Toon In: Paul Stookey’s Norman Normal (1968)

Friends, Norman Normal is a different offering for Toon In. For one thing it happened to be scored by none other than Paul Stookey. Indeed, the very same Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary. In fact it was co-produced, co-written and even features voice work by Stookey as well. Norman Normal also is one of the lesser seen Warner Bros. animated shorts.

[Via] John 1948Ten

I mention that Norman Normal hasn’t been seen by many. That could be because it was released as a cartoon special for it’s adult sensibilities. Nothing to worry about of course in regards to language or the like. It is because it follows Norman as he basically confronts the issues of life that are weighing heavily on his mind.
Norman Normal

Our main protagonist in Norman Normal is a ball bearing salesman. Right off the bat he shares with us, thanks to the many doors in his mind, an ethical quandary concerning his Boss. Who by the way is voiced by Stookey as well, actually most of the characters that Norman encounters are voiced by the singer-songwriter.
Norman Normal - Boss

While his Boss wants him to land a new client by getting him to drink too much, we see that Norman Normal is thankfully of stronger morale character. Not that he isn’t finding himself confused by what is expected of him. So he decides to visit his Father to seek advice. I will naturally leave it to you to decide if he has been given sage advice or not.
Norman Normal - Father

Finally we get a chance to visit Norman at a company party. Where as you can probably guess, things aren’t exactly peachy-keen. On display is more of personal issues of others that they try to foist on their co-worker.
Norman Normal - Party

The part of Norman Normal is voiced by Dave Dixon. It really is an interesting animated short. Certainly worthy of your six minutes of time. While it was originally released on February 3, 1968 there are still powerful as well as relatable messages within it.

Now, settle back and dive into Norman Normal!