The Gate (1987)

the gate poster 1987 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun special effects

Story just doesn't quite make it

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Gate

Studio:  New Century Vista Film Company

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):   May 15, 1987

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


He should have know that was coming….that’s “Stabby Leg Barbie”

Glen (Stephen Dorff) and his sister Al (Christa Denton) have been left home alone by their parents.  A pit has recently formed in their yard after the death of an old tree and there is something inside of it.  Accidentally awakening the forces, the old gods are trying to return to Earth and it is up to Glen, Al, and their friend Terry (Louis Tripp) to seal the gate again and stop a demonic invasion.

Directed by Tibor Takács, The Gate is a supernatural horror monster film.  Having a decent showing at the box office due to its low budget, The Gate became a bigger cult hit on video.


I hate it when my hand starts judging me….

The Gate was one of those movies that I had to see as a kid.  I loved monsters and horror and anytime they used kids my age (or at least close), I wanted to see it.  Normal horror movies used older teens, but The Gate skewered to younger kids and still was pretty ruthless for a PG-13 movie.

The story and film has a lot of Poltergeist to it, but never reaches Poltergeist level.  Poltergeist really made the character real inhabitants of the world created by the film, but The Gate’s writing and story wasn’t up to the level of Poltergeist.  There are a lot of horror tropes in The Gate and unlike Poltergeist’s smart “It knows what scares you”, The Gate never really went far enough to establish that (other than having a made-up construction worker attack).  If the monsters of The Gate had been a manifestation of the characters fears, it might have been scarier.


You think it is fun picking on little demons? Try picking on me!

The cast is pretty decent.  Stephen Dorff is the lead (before he went on to hawk eCigarettes) and his sister Christa Denton is a little weaker than Dorff.  Louis Tripp seems like an odd child star and was the only actor to appear in the sequel.  Both of the Lee sisters have gone on to have busy careers.  Kelly Rowan is best known for The O. C., and Jennifer Irwin was a regular on Eastbound & Down among other shows.

What is good about The Gate is the relatively cheap special effects.   I love the old gods (the imp looking creatures) and the massive giant monster at the end.  Much of the old gods special effects was by done by forced perspective giving the creatures a humanoid movement.  I also still love the eye in the hand though it hasn’t held up as well.

I saw The Gate so many times growing up that rewatching it was kind of fun since I still remembered some of the dialogue.  The movie isn’t good, but it is fun and keeps moving.  If you are a fan of ’80s horror, it is a must.  The movie’s surprise success on video did spawn a quick sequel called Gate II:  Trespassers in 1990.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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