The Gate (1987 film)

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The Gate
The gate film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tibor Takács
Produced by John Kemeny
Written by Michael Nankin
Starring Stephen Dorff
Christa Denton
Louis Tripp
Kelly Rowan
Music by Michael Hoenig
J. Peter Robinson
Cinematography Thomas Vámos
Edited by Rit Wallis
Distributed by New Century Vista Film Company
Release dates
  • May 15, 1987 (1987-05-15)
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.5 million
Box office $13,539,458[1]

The Gate is a 1987 American-Canadian horror movie starring Stephen Dorff and directed by Tibor Takács. It was followed by a sequel in 1990 titled The Gate II: Trespassers.


Glen (Stephen Dorff) returns home to find his house abandoned. Nobody answers his calls, but there is a half-eaten dinner in the kitchen and the eerie sound of laughter from somewhere nearby. He goes into the backyard and climbs into the treehouse, where he finds a lit lantern and a doll. The tree is abruptly struck by lightning and collapses.

Glen awakens to the sound of men at work; it was only a nightmare. Through his window, he sees that the workers have cut down the tree in his backyard and a fragment of a geode has been unearthed. Glen returns with his friend Terry to dig for more. Though the workers have attempted to fill the hole left by the tree, Glen and Terry breach the surface and uncover a large geode. In the process, Glen catches a splinter and leaves a small bit of blood behind. With Glen's parents leaving town for three days, they leave his sister Alexandra ("Al") in charge. Al decides to throw a party. Upstairs, Terry and Glen break open the geode. They discover it has left strange writing on a notepad, and read the incantations aloud. They go downstairs just as the party-goers have begun playing a levitation game. Everyone is shocked when they successfully levitate Glen.

That night, Glen sees his bedroom wall stretching, and Terry embraces a heavenly apparition of his dead mother, which turns out to be the body of Angus, Glen's recently deceased dog. The next day, Terry brings a heavy metal album to Glen's house, with lyrics supposedly based on something called "The Dark Book". He believes that the hole in Glen's backyard is a gateway to the domain of evil gods, and speculates that their actions from the previous day started the process. He concludes that the only missing element would be to deposit a sacrifice into the hole. Unknown to them, a friend of Al's has already dumped Angus into the hole, completing the summoning. After reading a section from "The Dark Book" that is supposed to close the Gate, the boys find the hole has closed and assume their efforts were successful.

That night, a swarm of moths shatter Glen's bedroom window, and Angus' smoldering corpse is found in Terry's bed. A pair of demonic arms try to pull Al under the bed, and Terry and Glen barely save her. They attempt to flee the house, but are greeted outside by Glen and Al's parents, who are actually disguised demons. After returning to the house Al volunteers to inspect the yard, but the others see it swarming with small demons and call her back. Terry leads everyone to the basement to retrieve "The Dark Book", but it bursts into flames. They then attempt to stop the creatures by reading the Bible.

Terry reads from Psalm 59 and the hole seems to be closing, but he slips and falls into the hole, where he is attacked by the demons. Al and Glen pull Terry out as the hole begins closing. Terry reads from Genesis, but ultimately throws the Bible into the hole. An explosion knocks them unconscious. When they wake up the hole appears sealed. That night, a wall breaks open and a dead body falls through. Glen wonders if this is the construction worker he heard was buried in the walls of the house. Before either of the boys can react, the construction worker pulls Terry into the wall, which seals behind him.

Upstairs, Al notices a hazy image of the construction worker in her mirror. Glen bursts into Al's bedroom, and the construction worker appears. Al throws a stereo at him and he disintegrates into dozens of little demons. Al holds the bedroom door shut while Glen races downstairs to find their father's gun. A demonic version of Terry appears and bites his hand. Al runs downstairs to help, and stabs Terry in the eye. Al and Glen hide in a closet, but the construction worker breaks through an interior wall. Al fires a shot into his head, but he is uninjured and drags her away.

Glen realizes that Terry and Al represent the two human sacrifices that would fully open the gate. He also realizes that the rocket Al intended to give him for his birthday, a symbol of love, light and purity, is the only thing that can stop the rise of the Old Gods. He makes his way upstairs just before the floor collapses, revealing a chasm beneath the house. Glen retrieves the rocket and attempts to launch it, but the matches keep blowing out. The wind sucks Glen onto the foyer, where a giant, serpentine demon emerges. The demon pats Glen on the head, touches his hand, and returns to the hole. Glen discovers that the demon's touch has placed an eye in the palm of his hand. Glen stabs out the eye, then struggles to descend the staircase, at which point the demon re-emerges. Glen uses a battery-powered launcher to fire his rocket into the demon. The demon explodes, dispelling the dark clouds above the house.

Glen returns to the house. Angus emerges from the front closet, seemingly restored to life. He is followed by Terry and Al, also unhurt. The kids worry about how to explain the wreckage of the house to their parents.



On 23 September 2009, it was announced that Alex Winter would be directing a 3D remake of the film based on a screenplay by Kerric Macdonald.[2][3] The shoot was set to begin at the end of 2010 in Germany and Canada, produced by H2O Motion Pictures.[4] H.R. Giger was set to concept and design the creatures of the movie.[5] As of March 2013, filming has yet to begin.[citation needed]


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