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Tibor Takacs
Louis Tripp, Pamela Segall, James Villemaire
Writing Credits:
Michael Nankin

Four teens summon forth a diminuitive, demonic minion from The Other Side to do their bidding and grant their wishes, but of course, they must all ultimately pay the price.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 2/27/2018

• “Return to the Nightmare” Featurette
• “From the Depths” Featurette
• Trailer and Promos
• Photo Gallery


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Gate II [Blu-Ray] (1992)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 14, 2018)

Although 1987’s The Gate went with a “kid-friendly” “PG-13” rating, 1992’s Gate II opted to pursue a more horror-oriented “R”. In the original, teenaged Terry Chandler (Louis Tripp) and his friends brought forth tiny wish-fulfilling demons through a hole in a backyard, and the sequel follows a similar path.

Now a few years older, Terry revisits the site where the prior events occurred. His family suffers from various maladies connected to his mother’s death and his dad’s alcoholism.

Saddled with these burdens, Terry hopes that he can bring back the minions and use them to get his life back onto a more positive path. This doesn’t go as planned.

If I ever saw the first Gate, I forgot about it years ago. With a US gross of about $13 million, it didn’t become a real hit, but it did decently for a cheap horror flick circa 1987, so it’s possible I viewed it on video and simply maintain no memory of it.

Normally I wouldn’t want to see a sequel if I lacked familiarity with the original, but in this case, I really doubted it would matter. While Gate II clearly reflects on events from the first film, it doesn’t seem to be a story that requires understanding of its predecessor to succeed – it’s not some complex running narrative that loses coherence as a standalone.

Though Gate II appears to presume some knowledge of the original, as it boasts next to zero setup before Terry heads back to lure the demons. He throws out a few lines of exposition and then whammo - he’s at the old location!

This won’t be an issue for viewers of the first film, and given the story’s lack of real plot emphasis, it’s not a problem for those of us new to the series. Nonetheless, Gate II could use a little more of an intro, as it starts in an awfully abrupt manner.

Matters don’t really change after that, as Gate II never bothers to muster much of a story. It acts as a series of horror-related incidents without much in terms of development or narrative thrust.

While I don’t expect Dickens-level storytelling from a cheap horror flick, I think Gate II suffers due to its absence of character and plot movement. It feels sloppy and shoddy, as it doesn’t manage to involve us in the situations well.

That’s a shame, as Gate II comes with potential positives. The “wish fulfillment” side of the tale gives us a bit of fun, and it boasts a smattering of clever moments.

Given the movie’s age and budget, it also brings us some good effects – mainly via the main minion. That creature never feels “real”, but it meshes with the live-action surprisingly well and come across better than anticipated.

Larger-scale effects seen later in the film seem less convincing, though, and the generally scattered nature of the story means these elements don’t make much impact. Gate II suffers from a predictable feel that it can’t overcome.

As far as cheap horror sequels go, Gate II could be worse – even with its flaws, it still creates a surprisingly watchable experience. Still, it suffers from too many problems to be more than a minor pleasure at best.

Footnote: a small revelation appears after the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

Gate II appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Early 90s flicks often don’t look too hot, but this one held up surprisingly well.

Sharpness worked fine. Interiors tended to seem a little soft, but in general, delineation seemed fine, with good accuracy most of the time. I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and both edge haloes and print flaws remained absent.

With a natural palette, the movie presented fairly solid hues. While I can’t claim the colors jumped off the screen, they seemed well-rendered overall.

Blacks seemed deep and dark, and shadows displayed nice smoothness and detail. Though the movie showed its age, it offered a pleasing image.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack, it worked fine for its vintage. Given the movie’s ambitions, the mix didn’t shoot for much, but it added a little zest to the proceedings.

Music showed good stereo presence, and the various channels contributed reasonable engagement to the side and rear. Nothing excelled, but the soundscape gave us a bit of breadth.

Audio quality also seemed fine. Speech was reasonably natural and concise, while music showed acceptable pep and clarity.

Effects brought us accurate enough material. This was never a memorable track, but it worked for the story.

A handful of extras fill out the disc, and we begin with Return to the Nightmare. It lasts 27 minutes, 21 seconds and features director Tibor Takacs, screenwriter Michael Nankin and special visual effects creator Randall William Cook.

All three sit together and discuss the first movie and the development of the sequel, cast and performances, various effects, the film’s reception and various memories. I like the fact the men chat with each other, as that helps make this a fun discussion.

During the 14-minute, 46-second From the Depths, we hear from special makeup effects creator Craig Reardon. As expected, he covers his work on various Gate II effects. Reardon provides an appealing overview.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find two video promos and a Still Gallery. The latter offers a running four-minute, 37-second montage that encompasses 49 frames with shots from the set, promo photos and advertisements. It’s a good collection.

At times, Gate II brings us some fun horror moments. However, the film comes saddled with a sloppy narrative and never quite connects. The Blu-ray offers generally good picture and audio along with a few useful bonus features. Gate II becomes a passable piece of horror but nothing memorable or consistent.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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