2 July 2020 | Coventry
Beyond the Gates ... and into the Time-Capsule!
If you love horror, you must love the eighties. That's almost a given thing. Have you noticed how, recently, homages and references towards 80s horror aren't just used as a gimmick anymore? 80s throwback horror has now even become an entire sub genre on itself! The successful show "Stranger Things", and the remake of Stephen King's "It", are undoubtedly the most famous examples, but there are many other equally enjoyable but slightly more obscure titles as well, like "Summer of 84", "You might be the Killer" and "The Final Girls". "Beyond the Gates" also qualifies in this category, with a good old-fashioned video store setting, a phenomenally catchy synthesizer soundtrack and an authentic contemporary scream-queen in the shape of the wondrous Barbara Crampton.
The plot can shortly, simply and aptly be described as an amalgam between "Jumanji" and "Hellraiser". Two estranged brothers gather in the abandoned video store of their missing father, and in the back room they stumble upon an interactive VHS + board game called "Beyond the Gates". The game's hostess, the still-ravishing Mrs. Crampton, addresses herself directly to the brothers via the screen, and they soon realize that playing the game will lead to solving the mystery of their father's disappearance. But, at what cost?
I can safely say that I like "Beyond the Gates" a lot more than most people. I really dug the moody and borderline melancholic atmosphere, and the unknown (to me, at least) actress Bea Grant is terrific as the oldest brother's girlfriend. Admittedly, the film is heavily flawed. The pacing is incredibly slow, and particularly the first three quarters are very uneventful. Apart from the three main characters, and Barbara on TV, there are also very few supportive characters, so it's not too difficult to foretell who dies and who survives. But hey, the body count may be low, but at least they die spectacularly and quite gruesomely! Most of all, though, check out the soundtrack! Me, I left the DVD-menu playing for an additional two hours, just I could hear that great tune in the background.