Saturday, October 25, 2014

Review: Gate II: Trespassers (1990)

Yesterday we talked about The Gate, a horror film that often served as a gateway to the world of horror for many people who grew up in the 80s and 90s. And, in talking about it I mentioned a certain other film. A much less beloved film that doesn't quite garner those same happy feelings of nostalgia that many associate with the aforementioned move. You know what I'm talking about, I'm sure. Hell, it's only in the title of this review, so it's not like it's a big mystery.

The only mystery here is why Glen and Al barely get a mention.

Yes, there's a sequel to the classic 80s film, The Gate, and it doesn't follow the young hero and his sister. No, instead it focuses his best friend. You know, the guy who was a huge fuck-up and nearly got the entire world decimated by demons because he wanted to go digging for geodes for cash and thought reading mysterious words that magically appear on paper is a great idea. The guy who had little to no effect in saving thew world, as Glen ended up handling that on his own with a toy rocket and a bleeding hand. This guy right here.

The world is boned.
But, maybe I'm being too hard on Terry. Sure, he was basically more of a liability in the first film, but perhaps time has taught him to be more cautious and he will come out on the other side as a mature heroic figure who stood against the darkness through his selfless actions. Or...maybe the movie will start as he is inside the now abandoned house from the first film as he is attempting to summon the demon with some bargain bin Satanist gear. Good job, Terry. You had one job, which was to not purposely bring back the same fucking thing that ended killing you last time, and now you are going out of your way to fuck that up entirely.

That's ok, though, as he doesn't have to be intentionally stupid alone.
So, yeah, our movie begins with Terry trying to summon one of the little ugly demons from the first film and he gets interuppted by Bulk, Skull, and that tough girl from the last season of Saved By the Bell. I'm sure they have actual names in here, but I don't really care. They may as well be exactly who I said they were, because they really do act like them...well, except for the fact that Bulk and Skull were funny sometimes. These guys are just irritating stereotypes. They all sacrifice Terry's pet and Bulk shoots the little demon and runs away with Skull and the obvious love interest. It's so obvious that she's going to end up with Terry that I'm shocked she doesn't stick around so her boyfriend and his bestie can go make out in their car. Really, I meant it. The two stereotypical thug guys have the most believable romance in this film and they're not even supposed to be gay.

But enough of that, let's get back to the demon.
Terry find the little guy and brings him home, but it turns out that it takes more than bullets to kills a tiny demonic minion, so he puts on every bit of protective gear he could find (for sports I doubt he ever played) and he puts the little bastard into his dead pet's cage. Let's recap: the dumb kid from the first film did something dumb, killed his cuddling lovable pet, and now has a pet demon. Why'd he do all of this? Well, that's because he wanted to use the demon's power to make a wish for his father to get over his alcoholism and start working again. Seems to make some sense...except for the whole trusting a demon wish bit. Come on, kid, we all know you shouldn't trust demons. These are the same demons that made you think your best friend's dead dog was your mom. But, it turns out the wish came true and his dad seems great the next day, getting a new job at an airline (as he was a pilot before he took a nosedive in to the bottle). The tough girl shows up and convinces him to start wishing for other things. This seems all well and good until the revelation comes that all of the things they wished for have literally turned into shit.

I feel like the movie is honestly just critiquing itself at this point.
It then hits Terry that the dream he just had about his father crashing his plane may have been a clue to some bad shenanigans as the demon smiles on from its cage. We then find our....hero....at the hospital looking on at his father, who is now hooked up to all sorts of doo-dads because something bad happened when his son made a wish with a demon. Gasp. Shock. Awe. He decides to put an end to this by sending the demon back, but Bulk happened to spy Terry the night before, cruising with what I guess is meant to be his girlfriend. Bulk and Skull here decide to steal the demon while Terry is gone and they proceed to blow pot smoke in its face and to beat it up. I really wish I were making that up. The lead thug here actually starts punching the demon while it's in a bag. In a move that surprises no one, the demon bites him and they end up wishing for lots of money and go out to a fancy restaurant. During dinner, he begins feeling something wrong with his face and runs to bathroom where he learns he's transforming while his buddy discovers their money has turned into shit.

Someone call Stridex, I think Bulk here is going to need some medicated pads.

Skull gets the other two and tries to get their help with his friend, but he ends up dying when he heart gives out due to his heart condition. But hey, that's ok, because he comes back after Terry prepares the vessel to send the demon back and finds that both Bulk and Skull are now demons themselves inside of Glen's old house. They take the girl, planning to sacrifice her, and Terry shows up to stop them but is informed they won't be doing the honours, he will. He then turns into what I guess is supposed to be a giant version of the demonic minion.

Personally, I think he looks like he just wandered off the set of The Strain.

He goes along with it before the actual minion busting out of the vessel (which is Terry's dead mother's music box) snaps him back to being himself. He stabs Bulk in the face and sticks the minion into the box, tossing it into the large hole below them (which is supposed be the gate). Tough girl wakes up in the abandoned house with Terry's now lifeless body and the movie ends at his funeral. But, before the credits get a chance to end this on a down note, Terry opens up his coffin revealing he's alive again because the girl made with some magic juju wish power to bring him back and they walk off with his confused (but happy) father. Bulk and Skull also then crawl out of the coffin and declare "who needs girls when you've got demons, man", hammering home the fact that I am fairly certain these two want to bang, and the movie finally releases me from its iron grip.


Now, go into those woods and give one another some wood.
This movie isn't really as bad as I played it out to be, but it's definitely not up to the standards set by the first film. The story is boring, the characters are all obvious cliches, the effects weren't as exciting or as well done as they were in the original film, and the hero was completely unlikable. What I learn from this movie was that Terry has spent years being an whiny idiot who learned nothing from the previous film. He already knew what playing with demons can get you, but here he is doing it all over again, so I just have this immediate difficulty empathizing with him. Sure, it sucks that his dad is an alcoholic who is wallowing in grief, but the answer to fixing that probably isn't in summoning the things that actually killed him in the last film. I honestly wish Terry hadn't gotten brought back. I wish he'd stayed dead. Angus and Al could've came back, but Terry should've just stayed gone.

Trust me, the 90s wouldn't have noticed if there was one less grunge kid running around.
The worst part is that by the end of this movie he didn't learn a damn thing and neither did his new girlfriend. She used the same magic wish bullshit to bring him back from the dead, so doesn't that mean the gate is open again now? Which tells me the world is clearly fucked unless Glen comes back to fix his friend's mess...again. As far as positives go, the two thugs guys are honestly slightly entertaining and the effects in the movie also look rather good. The stop-motion isn't as good as it was in the first film, but it looks a lot better than the CGI shit we would've gotten today. All in all, it's a sub-par follow up to a great horror movie that can easily be ignored, as it doesn't really build towards any sort of thrilling conclusion. Watch the original movie and ignore this one, unless you really have a fetish for Bulk and Skull type characters. So, until the world accepts the adverse effects of grunge fashion on young idiots, I'll be here wishing I had watched another horror themed porno rather than this. Later days, bleeders.

Behold, the lovechild of Harry Potter and Voldemort. Enjoy that image.

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