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.

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