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Gate II (Blu-ray Review)

The Gate was a nice little cult classic in the way of those like an Amblin film, The Goonies or Monster Squad was. Kids against some supernatural evils. Its fun and still holds up pretty decently. The original was release from the Vestron Video Collector’s Series line last year. Now, complimenting that, from Scream Factory we get the supercharged sequel to that horror classic that comes alive with unearthly creatures, heart-stopping action and incredible special effects.  While not a part of the Collector’s Edition line, its coming complete with a 2K transfer that also has new interviews and such, giving the essentials of one of those. You’ll be able to pick this one up (You can already pre-order it, do so below) when it released on February 20th. 

Film 

Gate II picks up again with Terry, the teenage sorcerer who summons beings from the other side whose powers can be used to grant any wish. Unfortunately, before the Gate closes again, a “minion” – a tiny disciple of Satan himself – manages to slip through to our dimension. When the creature is kidnapped – all hell breaks loose.

Tibor Takacs returns to The Gate with Gate II (Also known as Gate 2: The Trespassers in some places). Stephen Dorff doesn’t return, so this time we follow a teenaged Terry in an effort use the powers of the gate again.  He’s surrounded by a couple bullies and a young Pamela Adlon (Pamela Segall in the credits). While these people are older and the wonder is pretty much gone, at least the Louis Tripp/Pamela Adlon dynamic is an enjoyable couple to follow around. This one feels a little darker than the first, and it may be due to this age bump compared to the “kid” range from the first movie.

The film has some people with good pedigree running the special effects on it. So, it has that going for it. I wish this film would have spent an entire film where the finale takes us, but it is what it is. As a person who is a big fan of Hellbound: Hellraiser II and its visuals, this movie was staring to get right in that wheelhouse with its sets and matte paintings. The film also gives us some cool costuming mixed with well done stop motion animation effects that are tied into the live action. From an effects standpoint, I think this one holds up to the first one and even tops it in places.

Gate II does well by being a much different film than its predecessor. While maybe not as successful as the film that came before, this one still has its merit. This makes for a pretty fun 1-2 punch to watch as you’re not essentially seeing the same thing done again differently.  I’d never seen it before this, but even at worst, this one is still enjoyable just for the special effects, make-up design, lighting and sets. So, I guess, technically speaking it does quite well.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Gate II comes to Blu-ray from a 2K scan of the interpositive. This one looks really good, too. Details are really strong it features a bold image showcasing textures and such throughout. Its sharp as it probably could look and the effects/model-work/mattes look pretty impressive in this image as well. Fans should be pretty surprised and happy with this picture.

Depth:  Solid depth work here. Characters move freely and naturally in a cinematic fashion with no real distortion issues.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and rich, can contain a little extra grain in spots and minimally hide details. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are solid and kept to a natural look as is in the film. They appear bold and as best they can to be lifelike.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout the film. Details on faces and creatures showcase good textures, make-up, lip textures and more from a solid range of distances.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Gate II hops on to Blu-ray with solid stereo mix. Its got a hint of muffle to it, not being the crispest sounding track, but overall will give you a solid experience. Sound effects and get good and loud, with some solid intensity. The mix is solid and is more than enough to get the job done for the film.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are decent and audible at all times. They kind of feel a hair muffled at times, but its still easy to make out what the characters are saying.

Extras 

Gate II comes with reversible cover art featuring an alternate poster design.

Return To The Nightmare: A Look Back At Gate II (HD, 27:21) – Features a discussion between director Tibor Takacs, screenwriter Michael Nankin and special visual effects creator Randall William Cook. One of them happens to mic’d MUCH louder than the other two.  They go through Takacs struggle to find an offer for a movie that wasn’t like The Gate and finally just owning up and doing a Gate sequel. These men discuss a lot of the production but one of the more interesting portions for me was when they discussed the film’s rating on how they pushed to have it be PG-13, but the studio forced them to make it R.

From The Depths (HD, 14:46) – An interview with make-up effects artist Craig Reardon. He discusses his creature work, some of the people he worked with and goes on a bit of how they had to act and shoot with the stop motion. Reardon also mentions he got pretty burned out doing this film.

Theatrical Trailer (SD, 1:10) – Ripped from a VHS source

Video Promo (SD, 1:41) 

Video Store Contest Promo (SD, 2:10) – Audio only from a cassette tape. “Please note that the contest is no longer active” LOL.

Still Gallery (HD, 4:37)

Summary 

Gate II isn’t quite as good or as charming as its predecessor, but it stands on its own as a nice compliment to it and takes the series to some interesting places. This Blu-ray from Scream Factory has the film looking very good and loads you up with quality interviews. However, the video store geek in me has me giddy over the inclusion of the 2 Video store promo commercials/trailers on here.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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