Hungarian born director Tibor Takacs was the recording engineer behind Toronto punk bands The Viletones and the Cardboard Brains before he became a director. He’s probably best known for the 1987 movie The Gate, of course, which leads us to today’s film. He also made the pilot movie for the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which makes some sense somehow.
This was written — as was the original — by Michael Nankin. His first film was Midnight Madness, but he’s since moved on to directing, working on TV shows like American Gothic, Life Goes On, CSI, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Defiance, Van Helsing and more.
Five years after the events of the first movie, Terrence has had to say goodbye to Glen, who moved away. His own family has gotten much worse, as his father’s drinking has gotten out of control after the death of his mother. That means that the lure of the gate — and its power — is now stronger than ever.
Terrence breaks into Glen’s old house and begins the ritual all over again with the hopes of getting his father’s life together. Meanwhile, three teens — John (James Villemaire, who was in another movie I watched this week, Zombi 5: Killing Birds), Moe and Liz (Pamela Adlon, who in addition to being in Grease 2 was the voice of Bobby Hill on King of the Hill) — break in.
Liz is super down with demonology, so she convinces the others to help Terrance with his ritual. One of the minions from the last film comes through the Gate and John freaks out and shoots it. Luckily — or unluckily — it survives and Terrance keeps it as a pet.
The next day, Terrance’s wish comes true as his father gets a job flying for a major carrier. However, all of the wishes literally turn into, well, excrement. The food that John and Moe devour and the car that Liz wishes for turn into giant cow pies while the plane Terrance’s dad is flying crashes, critically injuring him.
Soon, the two boys are demons after the minion gets loose and turns them. They want to sacrifice Liz to Satan, as you do, but Terrence stops them with his mother’s jewelry box, which he’s transformed into a vessel of light.
Despite dying, Terrance is able to escape his coffin, followed by the human forms of John and Moe. Our hero gets the girl and even his hamster returns from the dead.
The Gate II is in no way as good as the original, but it’s still plenty of fun. It also boasts some great non-CGI effects from Randall William Cook, who started at Disney and also worked with Takacs on the original film and I, Madman (he’s actually the title character, in addition to doing the effects). Since then, he’s been the Animation Director for all of Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth films, as well as working on Fright Night and numerous Full Moon films.
And be sure to join us as we examine Tibor’s career and films with our “Drive-In Friday” featurette.