In the 1987 cult classic film The Gate, youngsters Terry (Louis Tripp), Glen (Stephen Dorff), and Glen’s sister Christa Denton (Al) manage to accidentally open a portal to Hell in their backyard. Demons invaded the Earth, people died, and the planet was almost destroyed. The only logical course of action would be … to try it again — which brings us to The Gate II: Trespassers.
Returning for the sequel is Terry, now five years older and on a quest to intentionally summon demons to grant him wishes (some people go for genies, but whatever). Terry’s incantation is interrupted by John (James Villemaire) the high school bully, his pal Moe (Simon Reynolds), and John’s girlfriend Liz (Pamela Segall-Adlon, aka the voice of Bobby Hill). Sure enough, a demon (er, a “minion”, short for “midget demon”) shows up and Terry manages to eventually lock the minion in a bird cage. While in custody the demon does in fact grant the quartet, but eventually all the wishes begin to backfire. Specifically, every physical item the group wished for turns to shit. Literally. This is apparently one of the major differences between demons and genies. The bullies end up stealing the minion and take him for a car ride where they get him stoned, but that doesn’t stop him from attacking the two. With everybody turning into demons, time begins running out for Terry and his friends who must do something before guys in monster masks and giant stop-motion monsters kill everybody. I wish I were making this up.
The Gate II: Trespassers is bad, bad, bad. Maybe after a few more viewings I’ll promote it to “bad in a good way,” but right now it’s staying in the “bad in a bad way” category. In 1987 Loius Trip was the thirteen-year-old nerdy but misunderstood neighbor; at the age of eighteen, he’s just weird. The story is a combination of two tired plots. On one hand you have the “beautiful girl is mistreated by mean boyfriend and will eventually fall in love with the nerd who saves the way,” mixed in with the old “people are being granted wishes that aren’t what they seem.”
One reason the first movie was so successful was the special effects. For a low-budget cult classic, The Gate had multiple genuinely creepy moments (cadaver falling and turning into minions, anyone?) In the sequel, the already rock-bottom budget seems to have been cut by 93.6%. This time around we get one minion, one stop motion demon, and a couple of guys in latex masks. I would have gladly traded one of the masks and maybe John’s car for a few weeks of acting lessons.
With no scares, no effects, no plot twists and no real substinance, that leaves no real reason to watch The Gate II. Fans of the first film (like myself) may do so anyway (I did), but will be kicking themselves for doing so when the movie ends (I am).