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Canuxploitation!

The Gate II

1990, Starring Louis Tripp, Simon Reynolds, James Villemaire, Pamela Segal. Directed by Tibor Takacs.





The sequel that no one asked for, The Gate II stars Louis Tripp revisiting his role as Terrence, "the nerdy best friend" from Tibor Takacs' original installment The Gate. Made just a few short years after the original Canuxploitation classic, The Gate II will immediately strike you with it's made-for-cable-TV teen horror atmosphere, and it's patchwork plot.

The film begins with a much older-looking Terry claiming that in the previous movie they "did it wrong," and so he re-opens the portal in some abandon factory using computers, lasers, candles and a mouse (sorry, no Heavy Metal albums this time). Of course he is interrupted by the town bully John Starky, his slow witted crony Moe and John's girlfriend Liz. John makes fun of Terrence and tells him that " Satanism's for pussies." Not fazed by profanity, Terrence opens the portal to let evil back on earth. While The Gate had dozens of little "minions" running around, only one bothers to saunter through this time. It runs around until John pulls out a gun and goes crazy, shooting all the equipment and the minion. John and his friends leave Terrence to wrap the dead creature in his jacket and go home.

Back at Terrence's house, we get a glimpse into his life. He lives alone with his father, an alcoholic who was recently fired from his job as a airline pilot. Terrence puts the minion in a jar with some liquid, while silently wishing to himself that his father would get another job. The next day at breakfast, Terrence's dad tells him that he has a job interview! What an odd coincidence!

Terrence sees Liz at school the next day, and she immediately starts asking him about the portal and the minion. If you haven't laughed at this movie yet, Liz comes to the rescue telling Terrence that he has " spiritual resonance." She also wishes she could find her true love, who she feels is not John. Boy, there sure is a lot of wishing going on! And we're not done yet, because we are whisked off to see that John and Moe are hanging out, y'know, talking about wishes and stuff. Wouldn't it be simply fantastic if there was some connection to these wishes and the minion? Why that would open a whole avenue of adventure... and comedy! Moe wishes he could meet aliens, while John wishes he could be king of the world, but presumably not in that fruity Leonardo DiCaprio way. Moe also reveals that he has a hole in his heart in such a way that it is obvious this information will be important in the film's climax.

When Terrence gets home, his dad tells him that he got the job but with a twist. He is not a pilot, but a "luggage technician." However, the airline agrees to allow him to fly again if he gives up drinking. This information is also important later.

By now Terrence and Liz have figured out the whole wishing thing and decide to go for the high life. Liz wishes for a 1962 Corvette and they drive around wishing for all kinds of material possessions. The romance between the two also heats up. Unfortunately, all these wishes turn to shit after a while. Real shit. The corvette and the other junk is nothing but a steaming pile the next morning. But what about the wishes for non-material goods? Terrence gets a phone call from the airline that his father is in the hospital. He finally got to fly again, but was drunk and crashed the plane on the runway. Then we're treated to lots of hooey about unholy trinities and portals and Armageddon. Basically it all adds up to the fact that some powerful demons are waiting to go through the gate that Terrence stupidly opened.

Terrence realizes that he has to kill the minion, but maybe he should have "wished" the minion dead, because when he gets back home, he finds that Moe and John have broken into his house and stolen it. Unaware of the end result of the wishes, the two hoodlums tie up the minion and wish for riches. They are enjoying themselves at a French restaurant when Moe reaches in his jacket to pay and comes out with a handful of excrement. John doesn't really care too much, as he has got a bigger problem his face is melting. John and Moe run back to yet another abandoned factory. And suddenly, they turn into giant demons.

Terrence figures out that "The Trinity is coming through us!" and he and Liz speed to their impending deaths. Of course there's only one way to end this type of movie, and that's an old fashioned battle between good and evil. Moe and John vs. Liz and Terry in a fight that takes them briefly to another dimension full of dark skies, altars and other things you can see on Judas Priest album covers. Phew!

Another 80's Canadian movie that full out denies it's Canadian roots, The Gate II still has several earmarks of the Canadian film Terrence's Dad watches a Blue Jays game at the beginning of the film, and then an interesting scene the minion escapes and Terry straps on hockey gear to protect himself.

While painfully boring in spots, The Gate II's real failure is that the effects are mind-blowingly inferior to the first film. Sequels should make some attempt to up the ante, but by reducing this story to just one demon who spends most of his time hidden away, there's precious little to recommend about The Gate II. Luckily, they stopped this series when they did, ensuring that we are not subjected to another installment in the venerable Gate franchise.


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