Time to do something special. I’m watching this with three of my friends who tend to enjoy watching and mocking bad movies, and I’ll be trying to write this review as we go. If my companions say anything that I feel merits reprinting, they have chosen to be represented as “God of Dyschord (G.o.D.),”“TechnoPaladin (TP),” and “Doozer (D).” My picks were “Owns the House (Ladies),” “Doofus Rick,” and “Most Likely to have Telekinesis” but apparently, I’m nice enough to let them pick their own pseudonyms. I will regret this.
So, originally, this was going to be a review of the movie Bunraku, which is an amazing film that I have seen before and everyone should watch and is what the show Into the Badlands is based on. Due to technical issues, that didn’t happen, so instead, I’m reviewing the sequel to the movie The Gate. Did I review The Gate, you ask? Why, no, I have not. Because, honestly, The Gate is too good for this group.
SUMMARY OF THE FIRST MOVIE
There’s a house that has a gate to hell in the backyard. Two kids open it through an incantation, demons come out and harass them, some shit gets crazy, people die, they end up blowing up the house to seal it back, all the murdered people come back to life, happy ending. It’s got some neat special effects and body horror, and it’s a pretty solid B-movie. Basically none of this is relevant to the sequel.
So, it’s been 5 years since the first movie. One of the kids, Terrence (Louis Trip) from the first movie is depressed because his mom is dead and his dad’s an alcoholic and his friend has left. He breaks into the house from the last movie and tries to re-open the gate using, I shit you not, a laser pentagon and a DJ set-up with a late-80s computer. He gets interrupted by three stereotypical 90s bullies. He tells them that he’s trying to summon a demon to get a wish granted. The girl bully, Liz (Pamela “I’m Bobby Hill” Adlon), convinces the other two to help. Terrence sacrifices a gerbil (Something that has made Doozer very upset, “no one stands up for the gerbil?”) to bring the demon. A series of explosions scares the group, causing one of the bullies to draw a gun (D: “He’s armed?” TP: “It’s America.”). They go through a couple of dimensional shifts, which G.o.D. suggests is stolen from a Phantasm sequel. The kids get attacked by goo coming off of the walls (D: They’re all going to die because none of them are wearing Converse. G.o.D.: “Or Keds.”).
A small homunculus demon appears in glorious Claymation, but armed bully, John (James Villemaire), shoots it. The bullies leave, but Terrence stays to collect the dead homunculus. He then takes it home (D: “He’s keeping it in a pickle jar… or maybe one of those cheese ball things.” G.o.D.: “Gotta treat your homunculus right.”). It’s revealed that Terrence’s wish was, apparently, to get his dad sober and employed. Way to dream big, Terrence. (G.o.D.: If you do a demon wish, you gotta bring your demon wish A-game. TP: I’m a Monkey Paw expert, motherf*cker.) Your mom’s dead, man. How about some revival?
Terrence begins having trouble at school, resulting in him getting detention. He sits next to Liz, who is super excited about the whole demon experience. She says that her wish, when they were in the pentagram, was to meet her true love, despite being John’s girlfriend. It cuts to John and the other bully, Moe (Simon Reynolds), discussing their own wishes. Moe wished to meet aliens and John wished to be “king of the world.” (D: I hope John dies. J: John Dies at the End.). Terrence’s dad gets a job as a pilot. (G.o.D.: He’s gonna be played soon by Denzel Washington, to land the plane upside down. TP: That was Tom Hanks.)
The homunculus apparently regenerates and escapes from the jar. It attacks Terrence, who dresses up in hockey gear and captures it, putting it in his gerbil cage (which has a bird swing). (D: You should just knit it a little costume and make friends with it.) Terrence’s dad, now having emptied all of his alcohol bottles, leaves to fly to London. Liz comes over to see the homunculus, and Terrence explains that they tapped into the power of the “old ones.” Apparently, Terrence found his father mid-suicide-attempt and decided this was the best solution. Terrence points out that it could obviously backfire from all the “negative energy,” but they also start connecting. (D: She’s wearing leggings under a denim skirt. G.o.D.: It was the 80s. That has nothing to do with her wanting to bang him). Liz tries to get another wish granted by the homunculus, which results in her getting a car and a bunch of free stuff. (G.o.D.: Ultimate power, no responsibility, what could go wrong?).
The scene cuts to the two of them on a plane where Terrence’s dad is drunk and crashing, but this is a dream sequence. They find out that the wishes turn bad in the most literal way: The car and the stuff they got have turned into literal shit and it turns out that his dream was real, resulting in his dad being in a coma. The homunculus, amusingly, shrugs at this. (TP: Sorry, bro, what’d you expect?)
Liz runs into John and Moe, who don’t believe her about the wishes. However, she eventually convinces them, resulting in them attacking Terrence and breaking into his house to steal the homunculus. Hilariously, they call him it a Gremlin, which leads me to believe that someone thought mentioning a good movie makes a bad movie better. It breaks free and attacks them, biting them both, before they manage to recapture it. They then try to use it to get a bunch of stuff. It cuts back to the hospital, where Terrence and Liz bond and hug.
We see John and Moe at a fancy restaurant wearing garish suits and ordering expensive wine, being classless dicks. In one of the best moments in the movie, as Moe tries to pay the bill, the money turns into a pile of feces. The homunculus escapes their trunk and it appears that its bite has infected the boys. John’s body is filling with pus in a severely gross moment. Moe is trying to figure out how to dine and dash. (G.o.D.: Just say you were so dissatisfied you decided to throw shit at the restaurant and leave. J: That just happened at a Tim Hortons). John appears to explode in the toilet and Moe’s car is stolen by something, possibly the new John. (G.o.D.: They’re not getting a good Yelp! Review).
Terrence and Liz prepare a ritual to banish the homunculus by shoving it in music box from Terrence’s dead mom and throwing it back through the portal and run into Moe, who brings them to a factory where he has imprisoned John. John’s now a demon, apparently. Moe, who has a hole in his heart, appears to have a heart attack and die. At this point, it’s revealed that John is now 10 feet tall and demonic, and they have to track down the homunculus still. They finally find the little guy and open the interdimensional gate, only to find out that Moe is alive and also a very weird-looking demon. The demonic bullies interrupt the ritual, trapping everyone in a barren hellscape. The pair kidnaps Liz to sacrifice her, but then tells Terrence that he has to do it, transforming his hands into demon claws to force him. hand (G.o.D.: That’s what happens when you masturbate too much).
Liz and a now-completely demonic Terrence fight back against John and Moe, before Terrence falls to his dark urges and attacks Liz. As he’s about to kill her over a hell portal, the homunculus escapes from the music box that they had trapped it in, the song bringing Terrence back enough to grab the box and the homunculus and throw them into the portal. It explodes and sends Terrence and Liz back to Earth, but Terrence appears to be dead. It cuts to his funeral, where his father is out of the coma, but Terrence emerges from his coffin, apparently unharmed, because magic. (TP: But now in 24 hours he turns to shit. J: If you wished for a pile of feces, what would it turn into? Puppies? I bet it’s puppies.) As Terrence and Liz leave, John and Moe crawl out of Terrence’s coffin. (TP: That’s a clown car of a coffin. G.o.D.: What happens in the coffin, stays in the coffin.) They end the movie with the only good line in the film: “Demons, man. Who needs girls when you got demons?”
IN AN AMAZING POST-CREDIT SCENE, the gerbil from the beginning climbs out from hell. What glorious masterpiece have my eyes beheld?
I can only imagine the quantity of drugs that was consumed to create this film, but, since this was released in 1990, it was the remainder of the cocaine in the 1980s.
Positive points: There was actually some good creature work at a few points with the homunculus. There’s one scene where it’s swinging on the birdcage swing like a little kid, and it’s pretty adorable in a horrifying way. The monster’s attacks are pretty brutal and the makeup is solid, especially the forced perspective parts. Some of the comic relief scenes are actually kind of funny, too.
Negative points: The movie is somehow both too simple and too complicated. The fact that the music box belonged to Terry’s mom becomes a huge point but was introduced as basically a throw-away line. I have no idea how his dad is alive after crashing a plane by driving it downward, but I really don’t understand why he was still over the US after flying for 14 hours to London. Just asking. If you’re a pilot, maybe you can tell me. I’d say it was London, Ontario, but that really just raises more questions. The movie is also so profoundly boring at a lot of points that the group broke down into making puns about the movie Aladdin and nothing was missed.
This movie is a weird sequel. It’s the same kid from the first one, and it’s the same demonic gate, but this one is more “H.P. Lovecraft” than the first one, which was pretty straight Biblical. Also, the first movie had an underlying theme of family values, this one’s underlying theme is be careful what you wish for… because you only get like 50% of what you were asking for? Hell is easily escapable? Death is temporary? Honestly, I have no idea.
Overall, this isn’t the worst movie I’ve reviewed, but you can skip it. The only thing that made it tolerable was my own personal MST3K. Which I guess makes me Cambot, and I’m okay with that.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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