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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The Gate (Walmart Exclusive) (SteelBook Review)


The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


Left alone one weekends, three kids inadvertently open a gate to hell and unleash demonic forces.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The Gate, a PG-13 fantasy-horror film from 1987 directed by mostly TV Movie specialist Tibor Takács , is a film that has flown under my radar until now. Starring a very young Stephen Dorff as Glen, a rocket enthusiast who likes to hang out with his buddy Terry (Louis Tripp), the story references much of the tween/teen fantasy horror of the decade like Gremlins and basks in the panics of the times such as devil worshipping heavy metal bands and hidden messages in reverse on records.

When Glen and his older sister Al (Christa Denton) are left in the house on their own over a weekend, Glen and his friend Terry find hole in the ground in Glen’s backyard. It turns out the hole is a gate to hell that was opened by words spoken on one of Terry’s heavy metal records. Glen, Terry, and Al along with Al’s friends soon find themselves under siege in their house by demons from hell, including strange little gremlin creatures. They must find a way to seal the gate and send the demonic creatures back to, well, hell.

Suburban chaos abounds in this surprise box office hit. The film’s enjoyable practical effects may date it today, but it is fun, even given its very limited scope. The bulk of the film is set in and around the house, but the stakes feel high, even when the terror begins to tip into camp, like a monster suddenly bursting out of a wall or tiny gremlins biting on Glen’s finger. File this one away as guilty pleasure and a horror film that older kids can watch along with the family or on their own.

  • Stephen Dorff, Christa Denton, and Louis Tripp in The Gate (1987)
  • The Gate (1987)
  • Christa Denton in The Gate (1987)
  • Stephen Dorff, Christa Denton, and Louis Tripp in The Gate (1987)
  • Christa Denton in The Gate (1987)
  • Carl Kraines in The Gate (1987)
  • Christa Denton, Sean Fagan, Jennifer Irwin, and Kelly Rowan in The Gate (1987)
  • Stephen Dorff in The Gate (1987)
  • The Gate (1987)
  • Stephen Dorff and Louis Tripp in The Gate (1987)
  • Carl Kraines in The Gate (1987)
  • Stephen Dorff in The Gate (1987)
  • Christa Denton in The Gate (1987)
  • The Gate (Wal-Mart Exclusive) (Lionsgate)

The Video

The Gate comes to Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 AVC 1080p/24 encodement from Lionsgate’s Vestron imprint. The film comes from a 35mm spherical source that looks very natural, organic, in this transfer. The grain structure is thinly layered and pleasing, with a rich amount of detail coming through for a film of this nature from 1987. The colors are natural, like the verdant green of the yard or the peachy and rosy flesh tones, and the flashes of visual effects. This is a good one with little to complain about.

The Audio

The original stereo mix for The Gate is provided in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. This has the edgy high end “digititis” sound of the 1980s, especially in the score and songs, but comes across well with good imaging and panning.

The Supplements

This comes with all previously released bonus features, including an audio commentary with the director.

Bonus Features:

  • Housed in a brand new SteelBook case from artist Vance Kelly.
  • Audio Commentary with Director Tibor Takacs, Writer Michael Nankin, and Special Effects Designer & Supervisor Randall William Cook
  • Audio Commentary with Special Effects Designer & Supervisor Randall William Cook, Special Make-up Effects Artist Craig Reardon, Special Effects Artist Frank Carere, and Matte Photographer Bill Taylor
  • Isolated Score and Audio Interview with Composers Michael Hoenig and J. Peter Robinson
  • The Gate: Unlocked (1080p; 00:27:54)
  • Minion Maker (1080p; 00:22:36)
  • From Hell It Came (1080p; 00:13:13)
  • The Workman Speaks! (1080p; 00:12:22)
  • Made in Canada (1080p; 00:28:28)
  • From Hell: The Creatures & Demons of The Gate (1080p; 00:14:53)
  • The Gatekeepers (1080p; 00:15:46)
  • Making of “The Gate” (1080i; 00:22:55)
  • Teaser Trailer (1080i; 00:01:08)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 00:01:50)
  • TV Spot (1080i; 00:00:32)
  • Storyboard Gallery (1080p; 00:09:27)
  • Behind the Scenes Gallery (1080p; 00:10:20)

The Final Assessment

Lionsgate’s Vestron resurrects this ‘80s horror/fantasy in a very satisfying Blu-ray transfer packed in a gorgeous SteelBook case. Fans of these sorts of often forgotten films from the 1980s may enjoy this one.

The Gate (Walmart Exclusive) is out on Blu-ray SteelBook exclusively at Walmart May 14, 2024 from Lionsgate.

  • Rating Certificate: PG-13
  • Studios & Distributors: New Century Entertainment | The Vista Organisation | Alliance Entertainment | Gate Productions | Vestron Video | Lionsgate Home Entertainment
  • Director: Tibor Takács
  • Written By: Michael Nankin
  • Run Time: 85 Mins.
  • Street Date: 14 May 2024
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH | Spanish

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Left alone one weekends, three kids inadvertently open a gate to hell and unleash demonic forces.The Gate (Walmart Exclusive) (SteelBook Review)