Drive-In Friday: Tibor Takács Night

Primarily known as a talent manager, studio producer and engineer, Hungarian born director Tibor Takács worked behind the boards for the Canadian bands the Viletones and the Cardboard Brains before he became a director. His first feature film project was the self-produced Metal Messiah (1978), a long-form rock opera/video which starred two bands from his stable: Kickback and the Cardboard Brains.

Best known for the internationally-distributed “No False Metal” classic, The Gate (1987), he made his feature film debut with the 1978-shot-and-1982 released CBC-TV movie 984: Prisoner of the Future, which has long since fallen into the public domain and is easily found on a wide variety of bargin-basement sci-fi DVD sets. After the cult VHS and cable status of The Gate, he was poised to direct A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, but passed on the project . . . and he gave us The Gate 2: The Trespassers and the pilot movie for the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

These days, he’s churning out the mockbuster hoards of Ice Spiders, Mega Snake, and Destruction: Los Angeles, as well as other films concerning all manner of meteors, tornadoes, mosquitoes, black holes, and rats for the SyFy Channel . . . and he got into the Hallmark Christmas movie business alongside our equally beloved Fred Olen Ray and David DeCoteau.

Oh, and Hallmark romance flicks.

Did Sam and I watch The Secret Ingredient for its February 2020 premiere — making our significant others cringe in the process — as we chomped on our popcorn and gulped our A&W Root Beers with glee? Damn right, we did. And you know how B&S About Movies is about our Christmas movies . . . so yes, we did binge the Takacs X-Mas oeuvre of Once Upon A Christmas (2000), Twice Upon a Christmas (2001), Rocky Mountain Christmas (2017), It’s Christmas, Eve (2018), Memories of Christmas (2018), and A Christmas Miracle (2019). And when Tibor finishes off his currently-in-production Lifetime damsel-in-distress thriller Roadkill — his 48th directing effort — we’ll watch that one, as well.

But what we really want to know: Tibor, when in the hell are you and Eric Roberts going to do a movie together? It’s de rigueur for guys like you, Olen Ray, and DeCoteau. Make it happen, Tibor! Remember when you wrote and directed Redline, aka Deathline, that bionic-man-out-for-revenge actioner back in 1997 with Rutger Hauer and Mark Dacascos? Or Bad Blood, aka Viper, from 1994 with Lorenzo Lamas as a bad-ass trucker taking down the mob? Something like those flicks . . . just cut Eric Roberts loose to kick mercenary and mobster ass as an “aging action hero” thespin’ his little heart out . . . as a rogue C.I.A black-ops agent, like Mack Dacascos in 1998’s Sanctuary. Make it happen, buddy!

Movie 1: The Gate (1987)

Come on, you know this movie, ye wee metal pup.

This is — non-CGI, mind you — a tale of an album known as The Dark Book by Sacrifyx — a band who died in a horrific accident after its recording — that serves as “the key” to opening a gate to hell . . . that just so happened to be under the roots of a lightning-stuck tree in the backyard of future Blu Cigs spokesman Stephen Dorff (he was 12 at the time).

How loved is this movie? You can buy Sacrifyx “The Dark Book” T-shirts on esty. Fans have compiled “Top 10” lists about the film. Sacrifyx is noted as one of the best “fake bands” on film. And . . .

There’s a (very bafflin, but awesome) Sacrifyx website, and . . .

An equally eerie album by a band called Sacrifyx listed on Discogs that recorded an album at Dunwich Analog Studios in Detroit, Michigan, in 1983 — with a song “The Gate.” But wait, the movie didn’t come out until 1987?

Shivers. And guess what . . . the album is real. It’s on You Tube. Which Old God is F’in with us, here? Love this movie, ye must!

Movie 2: The Gate II: Trespassers (1990)

Dude . . . imagine a Tibor-made Freddy Krueger movie? How awesome could that have been? Instead, we got a sequel to The Gate — both written by Michael Nankin, who made his debut with the David Naughton-starring (yes, the Dr. Pepper “Making It” Meatballs werewolf in London guy), Animal House-rip Midnight Madness in 1980.

The upside to this movie: Terry shoots and scores! He bags a babe. So, you see, it pays to worship Satan and dabble in the black arts. Do it! Chant Natas three times and the babes will come crawlin’ out the ground for ya!

Is The Gate II as good as the original? Nope. But it’s a lot of fun with great non-CGI effects, once again, from Randall William Cook, who also handles the SFX for the next feature on this evening’s program.

Intermission! Spin the dark circle, if you dare . . .

Back to the Show!

Movie 3: I, Madman (1989)

Long before meta-fiction became shot-on-iPhone de rigueur for the digital auteur crowd (For Jennifer), Julio Cortázar wrote a short story — La Continuidad de Los Parques (The Continuity of the Parks) — a tale that is three stories; each aware of one another in a universe where fiction collides with meta-fiction.

The much-missed Jenny Wright of Near Dark fame (I recall reading her interview in Shock Cinema Issues #45 that went into detail about the abuses she suffered and caused her exit from the business) is Virginia, a bookish girl obsessed with writer Malcolm Brand’s I, Madman. In the pages of that tale, the deformed Dr. Kessler attempts to win over an actress by killing people and adding their faces to his own. And she comes face to face, literally, with Dr. Kessler as he’s entered the real world.

Should this follow up to The Gate be as revered and remembered as The Gate. Yes. Is it? No. Love this movie, you must. It’s awesomeness and a bag ‘o garlic fingers.

P.S. You need more “film within a film” tomfoolery? Check out Anguish (1987).

Movie 4: 984: Prisoner of the Future (1982)

Tibor’s first commercial film project was this failed Canadian TV series pilot programmer in 1978. Courtesy of the Star Wars-infused sci-fi market, it was shook loose from the analog dustbins onto home video shelves in 1982.

Also circulating on DVD bargain comps as The Tomorrow Man, it’s a surreal psychological drama concerned with the imprisonment of an intelligence agent in an Orwellian future. Don’t let the Dr. Who-esque TV production designs deter you from watching this well-written and acted sci-fi’er — a commendable start to the awesome career of Tibor Takács.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies and publishes on Medium.

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