February 28, 2018 This Week in Horror Movie History – Gate II (1992)
This week in Horror movie history, back on Friday, February 28th in 1992, 350 theaters across the USA raised the heavy, burgundy red velvet curtains to unveil the demon conjuring Creature Feature Gate II. Also known as The Gate II: Trespassers and Gate 2: The Trespassers, for those who were meat hooked by the likes of 1987’s original The Gate, this sequel exuded the optimal Horror movie pheromone to attract die-hard fans to want to dive into a new chapter.
This decadent 90-minute-long sequel movie to The Gate saw Tibor Takács (I, Madman 1989, Sabrina the Teenage Witch 1996) returning to the directors chair while Michael Nankin (Life Goes On series, Chicago Hope series) returned to pen the script for the new tale. In short, it is a putrid sugarplum proffered by the razor-sharp talons of the demonic “Fairy Godmother” minion who lurks behind the infernal portal. Why? Simple, they are awaiting the opportune moment to be summoned into the human dimension to materialize wishes at whatever hellish cost they find fit to charge.
It would seem that Gate II was destined to shrivel up and die if it had not been given a lifesaving dose of epinephrine to save it from the brink of death. Filming actually took place in late 1988, but thereafter it laid unreleased for several years on the shelf. Hitting a sharp snag along the way, New Century Entertainment, the company which released the original The Gate, closed their doors, thus leaving Gate II in limbo. Fortunately, it was purchased by Vision International who picked up the ball and released it instead. This would explain why the film’s initial European release was two years prior to domestic distribution in the USA.
As two decades worth of accumulated cobwebs are wiped clear off the dust cover, the audience grip the door handle with a sense of foreboding and enter a teenager’s world where things are not quite going too well for Terrence “Terry” Chandler (Louis Tripp: The Gate 1987, Seeing Things series). Picking up where The Gate left off, it finds Terrence in the firm grip of teenage angst. The thought caught in the crosshairs of Terrence’s mind is – this is not a magical life, this is a nightmare! With that said, he seeks to alter his reality and populate it with granted wishes bestowed by conjured miniature demons whose visage causes intense eye spasms thanks to the diligent efforts of Special Effects Artist Randall William Cook (Puppet Master II 1990, The Lord of the Rings series). In the process, he connects with Liz (Pamela Adlon: Louie series, Californification series) who convinces two other speculate friends, John (James Villemaire: Isn’t She Great 2000, Jersey Christmas 2008) and Moe (Simon Reynolds: Saw IV 2007, Traitor 2008), to assist Terrence in completing the ritual.
Will it be a decision all involved regret? Of course! You watch along in helpless horror wishing that there was an opportunity to jump into the screen in order to hold Terrence back from conjuring the evil ones. One would think he would have learned his lesson the first time around! However, anyone who knows anything about teenagers knows that they will do what they want and one cannot use rationale on them since it does not usually compute.
Nonetheless, the sight of elaborate candlelight ritual, which is interrupted and then later resumed to completion, makes you want to covers your eyes with the palm of your hands, leaving just enough room between the fingers to peek through at the action going on screen. Slowly, hands glide down, one into the bag of popcorn to boost up energy reserves and the other snakes around a drink to quench thirst as you watch the rest of the movie. You don’t need a psychic line to realize that eventually things will surely go south into the infernal fires of hell.
Through myriad plot twists and turns, the pace of Gate II is hummingbird swift. Louis Tripp’s reprised role of Terrance is so relatable and quirky at times, making him quite comical. This is vividly depicted in the scene where he tries to catch the unleashed demon and unceremoniously toss it into a gilded cage while wearing hockey gear and using a hockey stick as a tool. That in mind, bringing back Tripp’s character from the first film was a good move by Michael Nankin.
Gate II should carry a blood red and dripping caption, “Be careful what you wish for you just might get it.” In this particular case, Terrence is so obsessed with creating a perceived perfect life without realizing the ramifications of his actions. Isn’t this not sort of true in conscious reality as well?
There are some parallels between the The Gate and Gate II, but each one can stand alone. The frightfest cruises along at breakneck speed as the veil between worlds thins. Like many films, the ending of Gate II is nothing short of head-scratching. For those who have yet to see Gate II, first off, where have you been? Second, no worries, because on February 27th Shout! Factory give it a rightful 2K remastered Blu-ray release. Like any good Blu-ray release, it includes bonus content such as interviews with aforementioned key film contributors Tibor Takács, Michael Nankin, and Randall William Cook. Now, as curiosity is piqued, unlock the little monsters, check out or re-discover Gate II today!
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