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.
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 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.
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.