1987, 20th Century Fox, 107 min, USA, Dir: John McTiernan

ALIEN meets RAMBO when an elite military squad heads into the jungle, only to be confronted by an unstoppable extraterrestrial killer. Director John McTiernan shows signs of the expert action technique he would later refine in DIE HARD, while Arnold Schwarzenegger provides rooting interest as the tough-as-nails hero. With special effects from the great Stan Winston.

1987, Lionsgate, 85 min, Canada, Dir: Tibor Takács

A mainstay of 80s/90s VHS rental stores, an entire generation grew up with repeated viewings of this creepy, at times bizarre, cult classic. Al (Christa Denton) is a good kid faced with the dilemma of responsibility versus teen hormones and fitting in with her cool friends. Glenn (Stephen Dorff, in his feature debut) just wants to shoot bottle rockets and hang with a sister whose outgrown him. When Glenn and his best friend, Terry (Louis Tripp), investigate a menacing hole in the backyard left by a tree removal service, unexplainable phenomena begin occurring. The slightly unhinged Terry, who has turned towards heavy metal to deal with feelings of anger and loss after his mother’s untimely death, starts connecting the spooky dots with the help of his record collection, concluding that the hole is a gateway to hell that they’ve accidentally opened. Featuring incredible effects work by Frank C. Carere (VIDEODROME, POPCORN), THE GATE uses a combo of stop-motion animation and forced perspective to create a deeply unsettling atmosphere, filled with a legion of tiny, terrifying demons.

1976, Park Circus/MGM, 97 min, USA, Dir: Brian De Palma

Brian De Palma strikes exactly the right note between empathy and horror in this yarn of Carrie (Sissy Spacek), a teen misfit who becomes so unglued after being repeatedly victimized by sadistic classmates and religious-zealot mom Piper Laurie that her latent telekinetic powers kick in, resulting in a blitz of gory, vengeful carnage. Enormously popular on its original release, CARRIE remains one of the best adaptations from a Stephen King novel. With John Travolta, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen and P.J. Soles.

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