Movie Review: The Black Gate (2017)

April 5, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Sarah (Jeanne Dessart) and David (Nicolas Couchet) are a couple of orphans what lived a hard knock life indeed! Their Uncle Simon (Michel Coste) put the murder biz on their parents, and they spent most of their lives separated at different orphanages.

Oh, there’s another thing about ol’ sinister simon; he loves himself the black magic, and he sent Sarah one of those ghoulish grimoires all the rage with witches ages 13 – 45. Long story short, our heroes venture to their Uncle’s arcane abode, run afoul of a cadre of criminals, and all of these folks must contend with the literal hell that’s barfin’ forward out of the demonic doorway he just so happened to leave open!

Picture it; Sicily: 1922… Jess Franco sits himself down, watches Phantasm and Evil Dead, smokes the fattest of fat ones, exhales and says: “I could make those films with one arm tied around Lina Romay’s back!” Suddenly a producer from Filmirage… no, fuck that; Joe D’Amato ain’t sending no underling for this… D’amato pops up and says “Name that tune motherfucker!” and they go right on ahead and make the goddamn film! That shit would give you The Black Gate! (well a close approximation anyway).

Writer/co-director (along with Guillaume Beylard) Fabrice Martin gives us a fever-dream narrative packed to the terrifying tipy-top with all manner of zombies, cloaked demons, explosive gore, hard rockin’ tunes… shit man, this fright flick is like everything I have loved my whole life just splattered all over the screen with a shoot gun ejaculation of pure awesome!

Negatives? Well, there’s some digital effects here, and they vary in quality (but make no mistake, there is plenty of rock solid practical stuff on display here as well), due in part to the film’s low budget. Unfortunately when you make the kinds of cinema yours cruelly loves, you don’t have Hollywood dough to sling around in the digital department, so things can look a tad jarring… but, whatever; these folks used what they could to create this thing, so right the fuck on!

Look, if you love either of the two horror biz classics up yonder, you are going to appreciate The Black Gate; this is  D.I.Y., punk rock fright flick filmmaking that wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve, and is all the more sincere for it!



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