2 Guys and a Chainsaw
Todd: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.
Craig: And I’m Craig.
Todd: Well Craig, we finally made it to this point. It’s a movie you’ve been waiting for five years to do.
Craig: I know, right?
Todd: Are you sure you’re ready to do it? Okay. Should we hold off on this just a little while longer?
Craig: Maybe another five years or so? Yeah. I’ve seriously only been asking to do this movie like since day one.
Todd: I feel like now that we’re doing it, this could spell the end for our podcast. I mean, it might. What else? What other films are there for you to look forward to after this? I don’t know. We’ll see. Okay. Well, the film that we’re doing at Craig’s longstanding request is 1987’s The Gate, a PG 13 film, and this is actually going to kick off a month of family-friendly horror films that we’re going to do for the month of February.
We’ve assembled four or five films that are PG-13, PG fare that you could call horror films, but they’re not the typical horror films that we do on this show, like bloody and slasher stuff. These are the kinds of movies that, for one reason or another, are kind of geared more towards families and kids, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not fun.
And certainly, this movie is one that you watched a lot as a kid. Am I right?
Craig: It is. And we’ve talked about this, you know, we ended up talking about a lot of the same stuff a lot of the time, but it seemed like when we were growing up in the 80’s there was more of a market for these types of horror movies that, I dunno if they were intentionally geared towards young people. I believe that they were, but they were movies that both young people, I think, and adults could enjoy. Uh, and, and they were good, kinda like gateway movies, um, for young people to get into horror. And you still see some of them every once in a while. But I, I feel like not as much as we did when we were kids.
And when you and I were talking about doing this month, I kind of, you know, just did a little bit of quick internet research and found a nice long list of, uh, movies that are appropriate for younger people, but, uh, maybe still a little bit on the darker or scarier side. And really the, the stuff that has been most recent in that vein has been largely animated.
Um, which is cool. There are lots of cool animated movies out there. I think – and we may change our minds, so don’t hold us to this – I think that we’ve kind of decided to make that its own, genre-themed month at some point, and we’re kind of sticking with live action stuff for now. Not because we don’t like the animated stuff, but there’s just so many, there’s so much good stuff, that we’re going to have to break it up into a couple of different chunks. But, um, yeah, this is one that I watched a lot when I was a kid. Those of you who’ve been listening to the podcast for awhile, know that, uh, we’ve talked about some other movies that I was fond of, some of them were familiar with from your childhood too.
I would say that this movie kind of falls in the same category as Troll, which is another one of my childhood favorites, and kind of even maybe a Poltergeist. It’s that type of fare, I would say. Um, but I always liked this one. This is one that, for whatever reason, I didn’t have on VHS when I was a kid, but it got played on cable television a lot, and I would always get really excited
Todd: No way. You didn’t have like a VHS tape of this at your house?
Craig: I don’t remember having one. I think that this just was one of those ones that I would catch on cable, but I was always really excited to catch it.
Todd: Ok, well, fair enough. I didn’t realize it played that much on cable. This movie, you know, for me, I always remember the video cover in the video store. And it all, it looked to me like a super scary movie when I was a kid because it’s got the gate and it has these demon claws coming out of the words, like the words are a hole in the ground. And when I read the back cover, it talks about opening up a gate to hell and all this stuff.
I didn’t for one second think that this was a…I mean, I guess I could have looked at the, at the, at the rating, but I didn’t for one second think this was going to be PG-13 kid-oriented fare when I saw this on the shelves, and so I actually never watched it until a few years ago when I was doing…Actually, I think it was your suggestion. Before we did this podcast, I used to do, every Halloween, I would try to watch a horror movie a day and write a little bit of something about each one and post it online.
And I think The Gate was one that I put on that list at your encouragement. And I watched it and I thought, oh gosh, this movie isn’t at all like when I was a kid and I saw that cover there in the video store, what I was expecting it to be. But I was pleasantly surprised at how cool it was, and I was a little jealous that you got to experience it as a kid.
And I somehow got through my whole childhood without this becoming a, what would have been probably for me, a favorite, you know, that we would’ve watched a lot, I think, if we had had it on hand.
Craig: Well, you know, sitting down and watching it from start to finish again….Now it’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I can still definitely see why I was so fond of it as a kid.
There are a lot of good things going on here. I think something that I maybe didn’t even realize until I was sitting down and you know, really thinking about it. One of the reasons that maybe that I liked it was kind of the same reason that I liked movies like Stand By Me and The Monster Squad and The Goonies, in that the focus is all on young people.
Like there really virtually are no adults in this movie. I mean, the parents, um, of our main characters are onscreen for maybe a couple of minutes for the whole thing. And that’s it. The rest of the time, it’s completely focused on the young cast. And that’s fun. And I think that’s fun when you’re a kid to be able to kind of, I don’t know, put yourself in the situation or at least be able to relate to young people and how we potentially might process and deal with things.
And of course, you know, it’s PG 13 everything works out in the end. So yeah, you would want to think that you could be as self0sufficient as these kids and conquer the demons and close the gate of hell and all that.
Todd: Right. With all…with the liner notes from a vinyl record. Right, right.
Todd: Oh man. It’s true. These movies really play into that fantasy that we had as a kids and for one, I maybe that’s why I just…there’s a part of me that kind of misses that aspect of my childhood. That state of mind that I was in where I would see these stories and I would think, yeah, I could do that. You know, I would read the Hardy Boys all the time, and every, every, every Hardy Boy book I read, I’d come out of that thinking, “Yeah, I’m a detective too.”
Right? And I had a little detective kit and I imagined myself going around dusting for fingerprints everywhere and figuring things out, you know, Encyclopedia Brown. And all these movies just fed into that fantasy that, you know, I think as an adult I’m a lot more realistic. And it’s not like I read a detective novel now and think that I can be a detective.
So there’s a place for these kinds of movies and, uh, it’s nice to have these kinds of films for kids to be able to live out those kinds of fantasies and, and it’s, it’s empowering, right?
Craig: Yeah, I think so. I mean, this…It’s just a, it’s a pretty simple little movie. I mean, the cast is not…it’s very small, first of all, which I appreciate cause it’s easy to keep track of people.
The cast is led by Stephen Dorff in his first film. He’s really young. I don’t know, I would guess like eight maybe in this movie. I’m, I’m bad at pegging kids ages, so I don’t know. He’s tiny. Anyway, he plays Glen. And he has an older sister named Al, but she’s coming into her teen years, so she would prefer to be called Alexandra.
But she’s played by an actress named Krista Denton who had, has done some other TV and stuff. Nothing that I really remembered her from. And Glenn has a best friend named Terry who’s kind of an odd ball, listens to like death metal kind of kid. Terry has lost his mom and, and we don’t, we never see his dad, but we do get one glimpse into their home and like, it just doesn’t seem like they’re coping with the loss of their mother very well.
Like, the home is a big wreck. And, um, you know, Terry’s been gone all night long, but he just finds a note from his dad that he’s away on business. See you later. Thanks for the heads up. And, and those really are the central characters. And then Al has several teenage friends who pop in and out. But yeah.
They’re of little consequence. Another reason, of course, that I am so fond of this movie is because it’s perfectly eighties…I mean, it opens with this great synth score over the opening credits. Then you just get this wide pan shot of like, perfect suburbia like, like the kid for me, T and the Goonies, and these kids all live in this same suburban neighborhood.
It starts out with Glen, he’s riding his bike. And he comes in front of his house, but like he’s got this very concerned look on his face. I’m like, why are you so worried? And he goes through his house looking for, I don’t know, his sister and his parents or whatever, but there’s nobody there. He does notice a giant rocket.
Like that’s his thing. Like he likes doing these, you know, model rockets that he launches or whatever. He notices a great big one on his sister’s desk, which is going to play a very pivotal role in the movie.
Todd: Yes, they introduced that early. Lots of foreshadowing here.
Craig: But he ends up, uh, going out into his backyard and there’s this big old tree and this old tree house, and he climbs up into it, but the tree gets struck by lightning, at which point he wakes up and realizes it’s a dream.
But when he goes and looks out his window, he sees that, in fact, for whatever reason, whether it was really struck by lightning or whatever, the, the tree really has fallen over and the parents have hired some people to come and take this tree out. And when he goes outside and he’s, you know, amongst the workmen, they’re pulling out the dead stump and a geode falls out of it.
Yeah. I mean, just hitting me in all my feels. Like, geodes were like the most fascinating thing in the world when I was a kid.
Todd: Yeah, I always, I…it is so hilarious that you are saying this. You and I wrote exactly the same notes here. I wrote this too, that…literally, I’m reading from my notes…Glen and Terry do everything eighties fun that I used to do: model rockets, that cool tablet thing they have where you draw and pull the paper up, and finding a geode.
Todd: I always imagined these rocks, you know, you just break open the right rock and there’d be an awesome geode inside.
Craig: Right? You know, like these magic crystals and they do, I mean, even as adults, those things are freaking cool. Like, they look like something out of a fantasy world. My parents had like a rock garden in their front yard, and there was this one big round stone, and my sister and I were convinced that it was a geode.
We did everything we could to try to split that bitch in half, but it was probably like concrete or something. But anyway, that, that, that sets it up. So now there’s this big hole in the ground that like smokes, but nobody thinks that’s unusual.
Todd: That’s the hilarious thing about this movie, is there is this giant hole in the ground that everybody promptly ignores.
Craig: And Terry, his friend, comes over and because they found the small geode, like Terry is convinced that they can find a bigger one – which, in fact, they do. But in the process of doing that, he almost falls into it. Like it’s a flipping sinkhole. In your backyard. And like, now, you know, looking back, like everything is so contrived. But I didn’t even notice when I was a kid, how contrived it is. Like, they find the giant geode and then Terry almost falls in, and then somehow Glen gets a big splinter, which makes him bleed, so he bleeds in the hole. As it turns out, there’s this whole, this whole system of things that needs to happen for the gates of hell to be open and, just by coincidence they all have.
And I love that. Now looking back, like there’s like 10 distinct things that have to happen. And they all, they all do. Like the stars literally have to be aligned like…
Craig: Well, I’ve got the whole list. Okay. So because we eventually learn this speak. Okay. There’s other stuff that goes on and we’ll, we’ll get there. But eventually Terry, like, listens to like devil music and he’s like listening to his devil music in his room and it’s on, like, an LP.
And as you mentioned before, not only does the music, like, narrate what’s going to happen, but also there are these great liner notes, which is like, The Satanic Bible or something.
Movie Clip: See, these guys knew the hole through music. They got their lyrics from this thing called the dark book. That’s like the Bible for demons. And here’s the creepy part. This is their only album. And after they made it, they all died in a plane crash.
Craig: And as he flips through it and he later shows Glen like he’s like, see it. He’s like, all of these things have to happen. So there’s, there’s the big hole and there’s a giant demon and there’s a geode, and the constellations are aligned, and there has to be blood and there has to be a sacrifice, which unintentionally there is.
And, very specifically, there has to be levitation, which they do. Which they just casually happened to do.
Todd: Oh my gosh. That is so funny. I mean, we’re jumping around, but at some point the parents leave.
Craig: They have to go away for three days, and Al is only 15. These parents are very trusting.
Todd: Yeah, they really are. Well, they do make a big deal…
Craig: I guess it was the 80s.
Todd: Well, you know, actually my parents left us home alone. I mean, I was babysitting well before I was 15, but I was babysitting for other people. But not for more than an evening, you know, not, not overnight for three days. And it’s hilarious as they leave and they’re driving off in the car.
The last thing mom says, okay, no parties. And then the very next shot is the door opening and somebody arriving to this massive party that they’re throwing at that house. Just like, of course the 16 year old is going to do. So they have this party at the house and it’s cool. It seems like a really cool party too.
Cause at first it starts out with them just drinking beer and playing around and we get these other scenes with the two boys upstairs reading over the liner notes and doing all this stuff. And then it comes, they come back downstairs and by now they’ve lit like every candle in the house, put them in the living room and everybody is gathered around and they’re telling ghost stories.
and then one of the girls gets this idea, Oh, let’s play the levitation game. And they grab Glenn and make him a participant and they’re all kind of holding him while she starts. What she’s like speaking some words. Is that right?
Craig: I don’t even remember. Not really. I mean. Like they try to do… they try to do one of the teenage boys and they can’t do it.
And this one girl, like, she’s so weird, like, I don’t know where she came from, but she’s like, just this weirdo who’s like, “let’s levitate.: Um, but anyway, so they decide that the teenage boy must be too heavy and they happen to see Glen, like crossing the room. So they get him and they start doing it.
And the girls just like, you know, she doesn’t say, “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” but that’s basically what she’s saying. She’s like, think of dandelions on the wind and blah, and she’s telling everybody to concentrate. And just these two people I feel like are kind of lifting Glen and it’s super easy.
And then it gets to the point where, like, they’ve got…they’re holding him way up in the air and then he just keeps floating up just feeling like they were levitating.
Todd: In front of all of them.
Craig: That’s not how this game works.
Todd: This is never the result of this game.
Craig: He floats up to the ceiling and like freaks out and eventually falls down and everybody’s like, “Whoa, that was weird.”
Todd: There’s just a shot of the girl’s face. She goes, “Oh, maybe I won’t do that again.” You guys all just literally levitated a guy in your, in your bedroom, and now you’re just going to go off and do something else.
It’s so nonchalant, right? But anyway, it happens. And it’s required for their, uh, their ceremony, right? For that, for that to have happened, I guess.
Craig: That, I mean, that’s one of the things. I mean, we see it in the liner notes. I mean, they show us like devil worshipers, like levitating somebody. So that’s one of the things that has to happen. So it does, and a little things are going on. Like the moths outside are behaving strangely, and gosh, I, you know, Terry gets all the info he needs to know from his devil music about these old gods that, you know, ruled the earth, but were banished. But someday they’re going to come back and…
Todd: Talk about opening the dark gate. Yeah.
Craig: There’s all these little things that really seem insignificant, but come up later. So I feel like I should mention them. Like Glen gets mad after the whole levitation thing. So he digs this gift out from under his bed that was going to be for his sister, and it’s like this automated rocket launcher, so you don’t have to actually light things. And like he just looks at it and throws it behind the bed.
Totally a throwaway, but important later. So mentioning it eventually they’re just like standing. Terry and Glen are standing out by the hole. And Terry is like, “I know what your problem is.” And Glenn’s like, “What?” And Terry’s like, “You got demons.”
Like they, they, they dug up the hole, but then they filled it back in, but then it opened up again. And so they cover it with the floor panel of the tree house so that like there’s like a trap door that like opens right into the hole, which is convenient. When they break open that glows and smokes and that toy, I don’t even know what you call it, it’s like a carbon copy toy. Yeah. Do they make them anymore? They must not…
Todd: They were awesome. Yeah. To describe it: It’s like a piece of plastic that’s a little gray, but a little translucent, and a black, almost waxy part underneath. And when you would press on the top gray part with a pen, or you know, it’s not a pen that marks, but just something or scratch on it, you would press against that black waxy part and in any way you could draw on it and then you could lift that and it would all go away. Right. My God, I’ve forgotten all about those until I saw this.
Craig: But when the geode breaks open and smokes and glows and all that stuff, they notice that it’s left weird symbols on that toy. And so they’re like, well, that’s weird. And then just like in any other horror movie, they’re like, let’s read it out loud. So they do.
And apparently that’s the incantation that brings things back. And I guess the first kind of scary thing that happens is Terry spending the night and he wakes up in the middle of the night to go pee. And when he comes out, he’s standing on the landing, but he sees the front door open and like in this ethereal, smokey light, this woman who is apparently his mother comes into the room and calls to him. And he goes down and he’s like hugging her and she’s talking to him and they’re… not dancing, but that’s almost what it looks like. They’re hugging and like spinning in a circle. But when Glen and Al come out and see him, they’re like, what are you doing? And he opens his eyes and he’s actually hugging their dog, Angus, which is now dead.
Todd: That’s a one, two-for right there.
Craig: Poor 97 year-old Angus.
Todd: And then somehow one of the boys at the party. One of the, Oh, it’s the boyfriend, right? Of the girl, Al’s.
Craig: Boyd’s the guy. It’s, yeah, it’s the guy that Al’s interested in.
Todd: He ends up being tasked with actually getting rid of this dog. He’s got the dog wrapped up in something and puts it in his car and starts to drive to the vet to dispose of it properly. But the vet is closed. It says, no vacancies or something, like there was a sign on the door that said, “sorry, we’re not accepting any more dead animals. Now we’re completely filled up.”
Craig: Oh, it was just closed. Quit being dramatic.
Todd: All right. So he’s driving around and then he comes back to the house. What? He looks over the fence at the back and sees the hole and thinks, “Oh, this would be the perfect place” so he ends up chucking the dog in the hole.
Craig: As sacrifice. Right. Okay. Cause it requires a sacrifice.
Todd: That becomes a sacrifice.
Craig: Coincidentally, he throws the dead dog in there. And so that’s the sacrifice, which I guess, you know…It’s just one more of those things that needs to happen. At some point, Terry talks about like how you can vanish them if they do get out and it has to do with like energy that’s derived from pure love and light or something. Like, something wishy washy like that.
Todd: And that’s how he, what he gets by playing the record backwards?
Craig: Oh, I don’t, yes, that’s right. No, it’s an incantation. Yeah.
Backwards tells you how to close the gate.
Todd: Again, it hits all the 80s fields of the backward masking, not just the devil music, but also the backward messages in these LPs that kids today will never even comprehend was a thing. No, you can’t play your MP3s backwards, I’m afraid now.
Craig: Gosh, I had a little, like, Fisher price record player. I don’t recall ever trying to spend my records backwards. Thank goodness. I was worried about it. It would’ve been bad for them.
Todd: Yeah. Right.
Craig: But anyway. Okay, so it’s night time again, and the, uh, Alison knowing friends, the three sisters show up for a slumber party. And there’s, there’s funny little stuff like Glen and the sisters are always like snipping at each other.
And at one point he says, “Suck my nose til my head caves in,” which I thought was one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a really long time. But we also see a menacing shadow in the stairway. We don’t know what that is. And even though Glen had unplugged the bug zapper, now all of a sudden it’s zapping again outside his window, and then there are thousands of moths on his window and they break through the window.
And so he goes and gets his sister. They go to try to wake up Terry, who’s also spending the night. But it ends up being the dead dog in the bed again, and this is when things just start getting really crazy. I want to pause and say however, that that dead dog prop was disturbingly realistic and I did not enjoy it,
But this is when things start getting crazy. Like, after they see Angus in the bed, like these monster hands come out from under the bed and grab Al and almost pull her under the bed. And, and so they run to the door and they open the door. And Glenn’s like, yay, mom and dad are home. Um, and he runs and he hugs the dad.
Um, but the dad like grabs him by the throat is like, “You’ve been bad.” And then this stuff was scary to me when I was a kid. Cause you know, it’s the, the parents are supposed to like save the day. But now it’s not really them. Obviously. Yeah, Glen like reaches up for his dad’s face and like his hands, like, go all like in his mushy face and, like, the face collapses and his head falls off and the mom’s just like cackling in the background. That’s scary.
Todd: It is. It’s probably the grossest thing in the movie. I mean, that might’ve been what gave it the PG13 rating. And the ooze and stuff is all green that comes out. But you know, if it were red, it would definitely, definitely have been more in R territory.
Craig: It was gross.
Todd: And they go back inside. And I guess Terry had told some story earlier about a construction worker having been sealed up inside the house.
Craig: That’s true. He does. So he had told Glen this story about when that when his Glenn’s house was being built, a construction worker had died, and I guess they just seal them up in the wall. I feel like that’s, that story went around a lot in the 80’s.
But that doesn’t really come up to later. What, what comes up now is one of my favorites. They go, for some reason, to check the backyard. I, I guess, cause Terry says…Oh, it’s The Gate or whatever..and Al goes outside and everybody else starts screaming at her to come back in and she doesn’t realize why.
But it’s because there’s all these little demons – they call them minions – down by her ankle. So she doesn’t see them, but she runs back inside. And really, those little demons are the thing that I always remember most about this movie. Cause they’re tiny. But they’re so spooky, and I didn’t even know until I was an adult that they made that effect with guys in rubber suits and just shooting it in forced perspective. And with oversized sets and stuff.
Todd: It’s really amazing actually. It’s a combination of that and stop motion, right? Some parts are stop motion. Most of the time it’s those guys, and you can kind of tell just because the movements are much more realistic than stop motion used to be, but darn it, like it’s done…
The acting, I think of the people in these, in these costumes as well as that forced perspective. And when they cut it between stop motion and that, you can hardly tell when it’s people in suits and what it’s not. And it just makes the whole effect really, really work. Like, it’s extremely impressive special effects for these little creatures, especially for the time.
Craig: This has been released on Blu-ray. I’ve never seen, uh, the Blu-ray release. Uh, I watched it for free online. So I have no idea, you know, the quality that I saw, but the one that I saw, I mean, there are times where you can kind of tell that it’s an effect just based on the way the lighting kind of looks. But nonetheless, uh, it’s a good effect.\
And just these little…they’re small, but they’re also really menacing and especially in numbers, uh, frightening. Um, and, and they look like little bodybuilders with, you know, no neck and like these pointy faces. They’re, they’re creepy.
Todd: They’re like action figures, almost like little He-Man kind of bodies. Right? Stocky, overly muscular and moving around. No neck. Um, but yeah, definitely real. I thought very realistic.
Craig: When I think of this movie, that’s the first thing that I think of, and I know years and years ago, maybe even before we started doing this, I came across some behind the scenes pictures of the guys in the suits on the overly large sets that I had never seen before.
Um, and I sent them to you just ‘cause I thought they were so cool. So you can find them online. But from here on, it’s just kind of the kids battling these evil forces. First they think that they’re going to read the incantations from the liner notes, but as soon as they go to get the album, it bursts into flames.
They want to call the police, but before they can, the phone rings and it’s the evil voice of their dad again. And then the phone catches on fire and melts. And so they have no way of contacting anybody. Little details, like there’s a family portrait hanging in the stairway. And, uh, after all of this craziness starts happening, they walk by it and Glen looks and everybody in the photograph except for him is slaughtered. Yeah. It’s really creepy. Like they had clearly done this photo shoot where they took the nice family picture, but then they put, you know, blood and Gore all over everybody except Glen. Um, and had them pose in really disturbing dead ways and little details like that I just appreciate, you know. They end up, because they don’t have the dark book or whatever, they’re like, “well, in the movies, they always just read from the Bible.” So they get a Bible and they take it out and they start reading and it seems like it’s working because instead of all the light and smoke coming out, it starts getting sucked in.
But then in a really stupid moment, a Glen’s like, “Terry you’re getting too close to the hole,” and he’s like clearly such a loser. And then he falls in. The hole.
Todd: He falls in the hole and he gets, starts getting attacked by those demons. They’re biting his legs and stuff, and uh, finally Glen ends up pulling him out. Then I think Terry throws the Bible into the hole after he’s out and causes an explosion, and it seems like now, at this point, the hole is closed. And so they kind of think that that’s it, right?
Let’s start doing a little celebration. They go into the house, but we know we still have at least 20 minutes left on this movie, so…
Craig: Right, right. But the good news is, because they think that everything is over. those annoying sisters have been involved, have invited over the annoying boys, and they show up, and Al, thank God, is finally like, “You know what? Just everybody leave.”
And I was so glad because all of those other teenagers were so obnoxious. I just wanted them to leave and they finally do, and they’re gone for the rest of the movie. And I was so happy they are.
Todd: But they’re obnoxious in such an eighties way. Like I just loved the way that they trade all these quips and barbs back and forth.
Movie Clip: What are you doing? They’re probably fagging out. What did you do to your face? None of your bees wax. I think it’s a definite improvement. Change your feet, dwarf. Suck my nose to my head. Caves. Why don’t you shut up.
Todd: Fagging it up, hahaha.
Craig: And the one girl…Yeah, fagging it up. I don’t even know what that means. I mean, I’ve probably done it, but I don’t know. And the one girl has, like, Something About Mary hair, like her bangs are four feet high. It’s so fun. But then they get rid of them. Thank goodness. Um, but, and Al’s like, “Well, it’s the middle of the night.
It’s going to be morning soon. I’m getting cleaned up and going to bed.” But the boys are like, no way. We’re too excited. Let’s go watch TV. So they go watch TV for two seconds before this dead body flops out of the drywall. And Glenn’s like, “Oh, it must be the workman.” Terry’s like, well, that’s weird. I just made that up.
But then the workman comes to life and grabs Jerry and really pretty unceremoniously just pulls him into the wall and the wall seals back up. So Glen goes to get his sister. I don’t, I don’t know what to say. I mean, frankly, watching it again, this time around, it felt like it took longer than I remembered to get to the action.
But then once you get to it, I mean, it’s just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.
Todd: It all just kind of happens. Really fast, and it’s a kitchen sink of stuff, isn’t it? I mean, this, these demons are really unorganized in the way that they’re going to break out of hell or whatever this is supposed to be. It’s, it’s just a mishmash of…they have like…
I kind of feel like the writers are like, “Well, it would be cool if we had this. I’ll be cool if we had that. And of course, you know, we’re going to have all these demons and then we’re going to have this kind of zombie construction worker coming out of the wall and Hey, wouldn’t it be neat if the picture of them looked slaughtered?” I mean, there’s not a real coherent sense. I guess it’s just supposed to be chaos. Right?
Todd: And it’s confined to this house.
Craig: And not only is it confined to the house and to those kids, but it’s also like, especially this last half of the movie, it says that it’s happening in real time. Everything that we’re witnessing is happening to them in the course of like 45 minutes. And so it’s, it’s a lot of…stuff. I would be scared too.
Uh, Glen goes to get Al and they have to first fight off the minions. Al tells Glenn to go get their dad’s shotgun, which is downstairs in the closet. And so he goes to do that and eventually for whatever reason, she joins them down there.
And they’re trapped in the closet and the minions are like trying to get in, but all of a sudden then the minions stop trying to get in. They don’t know what’s going on. Then Glenn hears something behind them in the closet. And of course the construction worker bursts out again, grabs Al, and pulls her in.
And I don’t think we’ve mentioned it before, but up until this point, according to Terry, the gate has only been open like a smidge because it requires two human sacrifices for it to be open entirely. Well now they have two, they’ve got a Terri and they’ve got Al. And so when Glenn runs back up to his room, he looks outside and all of this evil smoke is spewing out of the hole up into the sky. Apparently nobody else in town is up at like four in the morning or whenever.
Todd: Nobody is paying attention to any of this stuff.
Craig: Because not only just no one comes to investigate the huge pillar of smoke, but also been like it’s spreading out like, Ghostbusters style, like into a storm across the city. I do appreciate that they at least make Glen like a real kid. Like he would have been like, I was like, what do you do when hell opens up in your backyard? Well, you sit in your room and you cry for a little while. That’s totally what I would do.
And there’s not much he can do. I mean the floor in there downstairs like. 48 area has opened up into this enormous hole and he’s just sitting up. First of all, he tries to figure out, Terry said there was a way to get rid of him and he’s trying to figure it out and he can’t figure it out. Just as he had wrapped up a rocket gift for his sister, apparently she had given him a birthday card or something too, and she had signed it said, happy birthday.
Love Al a L and so that reminds him that the demon can be destroyed. With love and light, and I guess he thinks that his sister gave him this huge rocket and they love each other or something. And so he’s going to use this rocket to kill the demon. Well, so he’s trying to get it set up and that’s when the big enormous demon that we’ve seen in the illustrations in the book finally emerges from the big hole in the living room. And I don’t know, I didn’t read much about this. I don’t know if you did. I am assuming that that was all stop motion.
Todd: It must be. Yeah. It kind of looked like it. There might’ve been shots that were like, maybe they did the same thing in reverse, you know, that they did with the little ones. But yeah, it looked good. I thought it looked really good.
Craig: Yeah, it’s scary. And I mean, it kind of looks like the little ones a little bit, but it’s, it’s slightly differently shaped and it’s a little bit more like serpentine and it’s got, you know, multiple arms as opposed to just the standard two. It pops out and I don’t even really know what to make of this part.
And I think I’m probably reading too much into it, but it pops out and Glen sitting there with his rocket and he’s just kind of whimpering and doesn’t know what to do. And the thing looks at him for a while. And then it grabs him by the hand and kind of lifts, lifts him up a little bit, but not in a particularly threatening way.
And then it like caresses his head and then just puts him back down and yeah.
Todd: What was that all about?
Craig: I don’t know why. Is it because I guess maybe in some way Glen is responsible for freeing it? Snd I was also trying to connect that to why in the photograph, when the whole family is slaughtered, it’s everybody except Glen. Why. I dunno, but when it drops him, he crawls back into his room and he opens his hand in there. Again, just a hodgepodge of things, but there’s an eyeball in the palm of his hand.
Todd: Straight out of a Twilight Zone episode, I think.
Craig: Right. I don’t know. I definitely, it was familiar, but I, I couldn’t remember if I was just thinking of this or if I was connecting it to something else.
Todd: Yeah, that’s why I say it’s just a hodgepodge of things, right? I mean, is there something, is there supposed to be something symbolic about all this?
Craig: iIf there is, it went right over my head, but again, you know, when I was watching this, I was a kid and so I wasn’t trying to like put big picture things together.
Like that was just scary. You’d be like, ah, yeah. Right? And so he crawls around and he gets a piece of the broken glass from the window, and he stabs the eyeball out and you know, and everything just happened so quickly. He, he couldn’t get the, um, rocket lit before because with all of the chaos going around, it was too windy.
He was trying to light the match and stuff. He couldn’t get them lit. But then he remembers from earlier in the movie that he has that launcher that he had thrown behind the bed. So he crawls under and he gets it and he goes back out and he’s trying to get it set up. He realizes they require batteries. He starts taking the batteries out of the flashlight that he’s been carrying around forever.
And he loads it up and it’s like, I don’t know, the big demon who has now been absent for a while, like, senses danger, I don’t know. And it comes from like bursting out, uh, really fast up through the hole again and is looking at him and Glenn. So cute. He shouts, “Happy birthday, Al.” And he launches the rocket, and it goes into the demon almost as though it’s absorbed. Like it goes into its chest, but then the chest like seals up again after. And the demon grabs Glen and is dangling him by his leg for a minute. But then it says though he starts to explode from the inside and all these light rays start shooting out of him and Glenn gets up and starts running for the door just as the whole house explodes. Yeah, sending Glenn flipping through the air across the street, that was hilarious.
Todd: Yeah. Still doesn’t wake up the neighbors.
Craig: No. Well that’s what’s great about it too. Cause, cause then everything this guy clear…Oh no wait, another thing that I loved was, all of a sudden, it’s the 4th of July. There are fireworks.
The sky, when the big demon explodes, like a whole fireworks stand like a rubs out of it. Into the night sky. And makes all the clouds go away.
Todd: And gets out alive. He jumps out of the front closet now.
Craig: Everybody’s okay. The, yeah, Angus comes out first, which I was happy about, and then Al and Terry both come out too and they all hug and everything seems fine except for that their house is completely destroyed.
Todd: Really, how are we going to explain this to mom and dad?
Craig: And then they all sit and giggle nonsensically on the front porch as the camera pans away. Uh, and that’s the end of the movie. And I swear to God, you know, talking about it and, and recapping it, it sounds so stupid. And I suppose from an objective perspective, in many ways it is, but I still find it charming.
You know, I told my partner last night, I said, you know, at this point, I feel like maybe I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve almost seen this movie too many times. Dozens upon dozens of times I’ve watched this movie, and I think I’m outgrowing it a little bit. But it’ll always be charming to me, and it’ll always make me think of being a kid because this came out – what, in 87? – so I would have been like eight and I imagine that I probably saw it pretty soon after that.
I mean, I was young and, and watched it. Repeatedly, throughout my childhood. Um, just like I did with so many of those other movies that we talk about all the time, like The Goonies and that type of thing. It was in heavy rotation, uh, at my house. And so I just have really fond memories, uh, for it. Um, and I still would recommend it to other fans of the genre.
It’s, it’s not amazing. It’s got some, you know, cinematic feel that it’s cute and it’s kind of a time capsule of the 80s.
Todd: It’s got all that nice stuff: All the hair, all the outfits, all the goofiness, and like you said, just the general theme of the movie, the kids saved the day with all this improbable stuff kind of coming together.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but as a kid, it’s fun to watch this sort of thing. This is kind of an adventure that takes place while the parents are away.
Todd: I agree with you, as an adult it doesn’t…yeah. Especially if you’ve never seen it before, I think, as an adult, it’s probably not going to hold the same charm for you unless you’re really pining for this kind of movie again, like us. But it’s a great one to watch with your kids.
There’s no real gore in it, although there are some kind of gross moments. It pretty much earns its PG 13 rating, I think. Yeah, and the effects are just really nice. The writer of this movie wrote another movie risky.
Todd: Did you ever see Russkies? Cause that was a… The Russians invading, and once again, kids have to help save the day in that one.
And then he wrote a sequel to this, The Gate Two, which the director and writer collaborate on as well, just a couple of years later. Now, have you seen that one?
Craig: Yeah, I saw it. That was one of those things, again, back in the days before the internet, you would go to the video store and all of a sudden there would be this movie that you had no idea was even being made, and that’s what happened.
With me with The Gate 2. I saw it on the shelf and like I freaked out cause you know, I loved the gate, I rented it. And I remember at the time thinking that it was not good. I just didn’t think that it lives up to the original at all. It follows Terry…I think it’s supposed to be one year after the events of the original movie.
Glen and his family have moved away from their house, but Terry is still there. His life is rough. His dad’s, of course, you know, his mom’s still dead, and, uh, his dad’s now alcoholic, and I don’t remember exactly how he justifies it, but somehow he thinks that he can like use the demon’s power if he summons them again. And so he does, and somehow he captures one of the minions and all of a sudden it’s like the minion. I mean, it doesn’t do anything different than it does in this movie. It doesn’t talk. It doesn’t have any kind of like discernible character. He just keeps it in a bird cage. But like apparently it can grant wishes, but then it becomes a whole monkey paw situation where it seems like, Oh, everything’s great.
It can grant these wishes. But then after 24 hours or something, it goes bad and there are consequences to the wishes or whatever, and it ends up with Terry crossing over into the hell dimension to like confront these ancient gods or whatever. And I, at the time I thought it was really stupid. I watched it again recently because it was streaming somewhere.
I don’t remember where it was. I think it was on Shudder, and I liked it better than I remembered. Liking it before and there was actually some kind of ambitious stuff that those final scenes, like in the eldest mentioned were kind of ambitious. I still don’t like it as much as I liked the original, but it’s interesting in its own right.
Todd: Oh, that’s cool. The director, um, T bore, I don’t know how you say his name. T bore talk. Cox. He is Hungarian. He’s done a lot of television. Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and The Outer Limits. Just a lot of random things.
Craig: But a lot. He’s working, it seems like, and he’s still working quite a bit.
Todd: Yeah, he’s working now. He’s got stuff in production, pre production filming right now. Some Christmas movies, I guess there for a little while, in the early aughts, he was doing some of those crazy TV movies about giant things like Mansquito and Mega Snake and Ice spider. Ice Spider…we should do Ice Spider sometimes. That sounds awesome.
Craig: We’ll see.
Todd: But anyway, yeah, it seems to have done, served him well. It was one of his, one of his first. I think it is actually his first feature length film back in 87 so.
Craig: And you know, Stephen Dorff went on to be quite famous there for a while. I haven’t seen anything out of him for a while, but, um, I remember him in one of the Aerosmith videos with Alicia Silverstone.
He was like the bad boy, boyfriend and one of those, and he was the villain in one of the Blade movies and he’s done, uh, a lot of stuff. The rest of them, not so much. The two girls who played the annoying twins, they’ve gone on to do a lot of TV. So, you know, it’s one of those movies where you’ve got young actors and new filmmakers who would go on to do other things, and you just kind of see innovation and imagination, and I appreciate that they’ve, they’ve talked about remaking it forever and I actually think this is a movie that would be good for a remake because it’s so hodgepodge. I feel like they wouldn’t necessarily need to stick to the specific details of the original. They could explore different things.
Um, and of course with new innovations and special effects, there’s all kinds of things, uh, that they could do. It was announced that they were making a sequel back in the early aughts back when, you know, 3D was regaining popularity and it was going to be The Gate 3D and it was supposed to come out in 2011. It’s still listed as in production on IMDV, but I have a feeling that, since a decade has passed since it was supposed to be released, I doubt it’s moving forward very quickly at this point. But who knows. Maybe we’ll see a remake someday.
Todd: Yeah. Maybe. Until then, you’ve got this to watch and it’s streaming on a number of different places. It’s available online. It’s not hard to find out at all.
And now, Craig, we have done The Gate. Finally. What is left? What is left to do?
Craig: Yeah, you can relax that I’m not pestering you about it all the time.
Todd: I’m glad that we were able to do this for you and kick off this month of kid-oriented live action horror movies.
Todd: Thank you for listening to this episode.
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Craig: …and I’m Craig…
Todd: …with Two Guys And A Chainsaw.