“Gate 2” has been a rarity for years and finally gets a very good re-release by Scream who treats us to a sequel that’s nothing like the original. That’s both a good and bad aspect for the film as Tibor Takacs returns to direct, and complete his story arc, while also advancing the mythology. With Stephen Dorff on to better pastures, we follow his more reluctant friend Terry, who is now all alone after his friend moved away with his big sister. With no one around to corroborate their adventures in a hell dimension, Terry is now a pariah. Anxious to re-open the gate properly this time, Terry is egged on by two local bullies to let them take part in the summoning, promising them wish fulfillment. Much to their surprise, they manage to trap one of the minions of the gate, and Terry keeps it, hoping to find out its secrets.
With the help of love interest Liz (a young Pamela Adlon—credited as Segall), Terry tries to find a way to send the minion back to its dimension, but the pair of bullies has other plans. “Gate II” might be bereft of the whole “The Goonies” vibe but it’s definitely something new and original that focuses on world building and mythology exploration more than anything. Like “Hellraiser II” we get to see beyond the gate, and learn more about the minions. While they are just minions of the bigger demons they also can apparently grant wishes for their captors. Of course, every wish has a “Shitty” consequence and turns on the wish bearer. “The Gate” was such a quick paced and loud movie, it’ll be a jolt for people with “The Gate 2” being so downplayed, and subtler than the original.
Terry has to find out how to keep the beast from influencing his environment which is difficult when he learns it can completely dream like wishes. “The Gate II” has its share of fun moments with shit monsters, some fun stop motion work, and a peek in to the world of the minions that Terry and his friends dug up years before. It’s been almost thirty years since I saw “Gate 2” in theaters, and while it’s not a masterpiece it gets a lot of credit for doing something different, and approaching the film’s mythology from a new, radical angle. Known as “Gate II: Trespassers,” and “The Trespassers,” in many other markets, “Gate II” is a great compliment release by Scream Factory after Vestron released a deluxe edition of “The Gate” on Blu-Ray. I’m still holding out hope for a “Fright Night” and “Fright Night 2” release.
“Return To The Nightmare: A Look Back At Gate II” is a twenty seven minute discussion with director Tibor Takacs, screenwriter Michael Nankin and special visual effects creator Randall William Cook. They discuss Takacs’ struggles to do anything but a Gate sequel, he production, and how the studios forced them to make the sequel a hard R. “From The Depths” is a fifteen minute interview with make-up effects artist Craig Reardon, who discusses his creature work, people he worked with, and how they had to act with the stop motion. Ripped from the VHS is the theatrical trailer, there’s a promo for the video release, and a cassette tape audio only promo for a (now inactive) video store contest for the movie. Finally there’s an HD still gallery.