The original THE GATE is one heck of a movie. It’s aimed at a young audience but I doubt there’s many people out there of any age who could resist its charms. It’s genuinely funny, the effects are amazingly creative and the whole thing just bounces around like a superball. THE GATE II which shares the same director and the same writer, is a likable enough film, but it never comes close to reaching the frothy highs of it’s predecessor. In fact, it’s kinda depressing where the original is borderline giddy. It also goes against everything sequels are supposed to do by scaling things down instead of expanding into other territories. LOUIS TRIPP, who played the nerdy sidekick Terrence in the original GATE, is now playing the lead in this somber “monkey’s paw” tale. Terrence, using dark magic, tries to better his life but all of his wishes, after coming true, literally (and I do mean literally) turn to shit. While there was a bunch of little minion creatures scrambling around in the first picture, we are now allotted only one, and even though his first appearance is stellar, the effects in this movie seem to slide downward in quality as the film progresses. I still really enjoy the dark fantasy elements that abound that sometime recall PHANTASM, though honestly its climactic hell zone final scenes more closely resemble a TENACIOUS D video. The real saving grace is the cast. TRIPP is a nice change of pace for a leading man and the ubiquitous PAMELA SEGALL, who currently voices BOBBY on KING OF THE HILL, is adorable as hell. Even the two bad guy/bully-threats are appealing, especially SIMON REYNOLDS as the sympathetic hyena laughing Moe. Maybe it was his heart condition that got to me, but I actually found myself happy that he survives intact. In some ways THE GATE II perfectly reflects the awkward stage right after a joyful adolescence when life’s realities begin to rear their ugly heads. TRIPP‘s mother is dead, his friend’s house lies abandoned across the street and we learn that he came home recently to find his father with a gun in his mouth. All this is done rather sincerely but let’s face it, it’s not exactly the fun parade. More of a side installment or offshoot then a proper continuation, THE GATE II would be a nifty extra feature on the original movie’s DVD menu, but I can’t blame the die-hard fans of the first installment for being a little less then overwhelmed.
- Hockey gear is used to handle the minion
- Forcing the minion to get high and the subsequent automobile accident
- Moe pays for his fancy snails and the moolah turns into a pile of shit
- The RAY HARRYHAUSEN-inspired human sacrifice climax