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Oh no.... (The Gate, 1987)


Yes, another bad movie that isn't actually all that bad. The Gate is still cheesy, and more than a little stupid at points, but it works hard to compensate with good effects and modest acting and lotsa not-quite-weird shit. Basically it's a pseudo horror with some hilarious bits thrown in.
"I'm worried my mouth may be small & inadequate..."
I'm actually a bit frustrated by its lack of awfulnesses. Sure, it's got some good good opportunity make funny happen, but it doesn't exactly serve itself up for heckling. All the same, several characters have potential—by virtue of being annoying and recurring—to make for some good running jokes. I'm sure that, as with some other movies I've reviewed, a good crew of hecklers could do a real number on this one.

Most rewarding of all, though, are those few scenes that are just too fucking funny. If you're willing to put up with a modest horror movie that doesn't quite make for easy lulz, you'll still be rewarded with a few truly hearty laugh-out-loud moments that'll make it all worth it. Trust me on this.



The main character is, at best, boring. Glen's only goal in life is to launch pre-packaged model rockets, apparently. Nerd. He's played by Stephen Dorff, though, who apparently grew up to be kinda hot.

"But...you can't have this, this is my vibrator!"
He did give me the title of this post. His catch-phrase, the nerd, is “Oh no!” which he says with infuriatingly assured gravity. Like he's saying “It's just as I'd feared!”, even though nothing's happened qualify that tone. This happens too much in this movie, as I'll complain about later in the review. Meanwhile, this line just doesn't make sense, and he keeps saying it, just like that. So he's a worrying nerd. Joy.

My first impression of his best friend, Terry, is that he's some accidental discharge of the 80s. Not sure what does it most for me—the glasses or stupid leather jacket—, but he is also a nerd. A very troubled nerd. Turns out his mom died, and that's why he's kinda fucked up. I bet he killed her, too. 
This prostate exam is not going as planned....
Glen's sister, Al, looks like a skinny DJ from Full House. Seriously. If I could remember that show better I might have had some fun with this character. She's apparently incapable of sustaining sisterly love for her brother for more than 5 minutes in the face of “massive” peer pressuring. Like that of her two extremely annoying friends. Yeah, she's that kind of sister.

Speaking of whom, were those two sisters supposed to be twins? I bet you could make some Olsen-twins jokes if you thought about it. One of them sports a There's Something About Mary hairdo. You'll see what I mean. Trust me. There's also fakey-boyfriend-wannabe. The Olsen sisters are trying to get DJ-look-alike to hook up with him (vicarious/voyeuristic, much?). Glen's one saving moment is when he calls this guy a fag.
"Avon calling!"


The plot's frustratingly slow at times, with things seeming to happen with no reason or purpose except to be creepy (which, granted, they sometimes are). And, much to my annoyance, the characters often know more than they should or figure stuff out before they would.

Like, when that 80s Fuckup friend does this super queer lip sync to his favorite “metal” album (yeah, metal, cuz he's just so badass & angry like that); clearly, though, he's showing off his Freddy Mercury impersonation. But, suddenly, he realizes this entire shitty album of his is about the hole in Glen's back yard—the “gate”, as it were.
A young Freddy Mercury still finding his footing....
So, basically, he figures everything out. But there is absolutely nothing for him to go on—neither in the song's lyrics or what's happened so far in the movie. It's like the director told him, “Okay, kid, act like you've just figured it out, cuz the movie's really weak on plot at this point....”.

And all the while, Glen's been chucking out his unqualified “Oh noez” everytime something bad starts to happen. Worry-Nerd just can't stop expecting the worst out of nothing.

It's like between him and Fuckup Nerd, we're supposed to believe there's a plot going on. Like, events happen; first step of plotting. Then characters react; second step of plotting—interpretation. So here, things happen, and according to these characters' responses, we're supposed to know they're part of a developed storyline. Fail.
Those bastards just said it'd make my palms hairy!!
I will give the writers some credit for creativity. I mean, the whole plot gets kicked off by 80s-Fuckup-Nerd's reading the liner notes to his “heavy metal” album. (Who does that? Nerds. That's who.) But all the same, it's pretty creative. Liner notes


So, as my final gesture, let's talk about those funny scenes that make it all worth it.

Really there's only the one. And it's actually more than half the reason I'm even bothering to write this. 

The scene's from right near the end of the movie (can you tell?). I could not stop laughing when I first saw it. Parker missed it, of course, so we rewound it and watched it again. Then we both couldn't stop laughing. So we rewound it and watched it again. So fucking good.

Something's just so perfect about its timing. Kid gets up & opens door, visually checks out monster; monster's getting luminescent meningitis & epilepsy; and then....boosh. So very boosh. :)

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