Since opening a gate to hell with his pal Glen, ol’ Terry (Louis Tripp returning from the first film) has been itchin’ to relive the glory days. To achieve that lofty goal, he has set up some sort of techno-arcane alter in the remains of Glen’s old home. Well as fate would have it (and the fact that it would be one shitty film if he didn’t) Terry successfully performs a ceremony (with an unwanted assist by a trio juvenile delinquents) that conjures forth a minion (also returning from the first film) from The Other Side that grants wishes…now, what could possibly go wrong in this scenario? At first nothing…then everything turns to shit…both figuratively and literally (I mean everything they physically conjure up turns to piles of feces). Will Terry be able to confront the evil of the Gate and save his soul from damnation?
Gate II is a rare sequel that is able to be nearly as entertaining as the original. Tripp’s performance as Terry is incredibly believable and sympathetic as the tortured, occult obsessed teen who is willing to sacrifice everything to ensure his alcoholic father gets a second chance in life, and Pamela Segall as comely love interest Liz is a great antithesis to Terry’s nebishness…all brash bravado and good times…not to mention the male punks, John (James Villemaire) and Moe (Simon Reynolds) who are so ridiculous, scenery chewing, and over-the-top it’s impossible to take them seriously as a threat (or anything else), but that’s the point (which is hammered home by their wish fulfillment and comeuppance sequences)…this flick knows it operates on comic book logic and relishes it!
Moving on, the story itself is an amazing change of pace, as the survivor of the horrors of the previous installment isn’t trying to avoid similar conflict, but is instead addicted to the danger and wants to experience it again! And as before, the effects utilized to bring the minion to life are top-notch as well, and utilize a skillful blend of man-in-suit, animatronics, and stop motion…it worked great in the first picture, and it’s equally as impressive here…and the effects packed finale is worth the price of admission alone!
So, Gate II is a worthy follow up, and if you loved The Gate there is no excuse not to own this release…but I hear you…you are greedy ghouls and demand more for your demonic dollar. Well, you are in luck as this Blu-ray release from Scream Factory contains plenty of beastly bonus material! First up we get a look back at the making of the film featuring director Tibor Takacs, Screenwriter Michael Nankin, and F/X artist Randall William Cook. This is a fascinating talk that covers the genesis of the film (including the tension between Takacs and Nankin over who would direct and write the sequel), it’s production (including the limited budget and hastily changed finale), as well as some guess work as to where a third installment could go. Following that we get an interview with Make-Up Artist Craig Reardon who discusses in depth the demon and transformation effects he created for the film, often at the last moment thanks to production changes. In the last stretch we have the film’s trailer, an archival video rental store promo and contest, and a still gallery.
Gate II has, in my opinion, never gotten the love it deserves; it’s equal parts comic book horror and over-the-top spectacle, with a game cast, inventive new ideas that set it apart from the original film, and fantastic special effects. Pick this Blu up and just see if you don’t have a hell of a good time!
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