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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Black Gate
The Black Gate
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // PG-13 // April 26, 2005
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Daniel W. Kelly | posted May 6, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:
Black Gate was made in the mid-90s, but it is basically a throwback to made-for-TV possession/haunted house movies of the mid-70s.

Talk about a house on a haunted hill. Rebecca Lacey's inn sits perched atop a mountain on the California coast—but it has guests running for the door. In come psychic investigator Scott Griffin and his assistant Justin to draw out the fiend behind the haunting. As paranormal dreams begin to plague Scott, Justin finds himself drawn to a gorgeous woman in white. Soon, an evil force of satanic proportions is unearthed, and it is up to the two men to exorcise the inn's demons.

For those who grew up on hokey 70s horror movies that were budget rip-offs of box office hits, you'll feel right at home with this tame film. There's nothing sleek about it, it isn't gory or filled with intense horror action, and there's no nudity to be found. It's just a simple, straightforward ghouls and ghosts film with a typical resolution. Not really any scares to be had, some routine acting and cheesy but fun (and funny) effects. For instance, don't miss out on an opening scene that clearly shows the house on the hill, and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore below—which is odd, considering the shore below is a mat painting that isn't moving. Do not expect anything from this film—it's for diehard retro fans only.

The DVD

Video:
1:78:1 anamorphic—keeping with the feel of the movie, the film itself looks like it was shot in the 70s. The image is very soft, the colors and blacks are washed out, and there's a yellow/orange tint to the whole movie. The print is relatively clean, with occasional specks and hairs.

Sound:
2.0 stereo—the main center track is relatively flat and monotone, but left/right effects are crisp and clear with good separation and travel. There is also some added rear surround sound.

Extras:
Scene selection offers 16 chapter breaks. There are options for English captions or Spanish subtitles. Also includes four trailers: High Tension, Riding the Bullet, Frankenstein, I Am David.

Final Thoughts:
If you remember TV-movies of the 1970s that copycatted the bevy of haunting/possession box office smashes back then, you'll probably get a retro kick out of Black Gate. Just don't have high hopes about being scared out of your seat.

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