1980s Horror Classic Debuts Future Marvel Villain Star, Stream Now

By Brian Myers | Updated

Before he landed the role of Blade villain Deacon Frost, Stephen Dorff was steadily working his way through lower-budget productions and independent films. As a teen in the 1980s, Dorff got his break when he was cast as the young star of the horror film The Gate. Though Dorff’s film debut has been largely forgotten over the years, its availability on multiple streaming services should be a beacon for horror fans to take in a great genre entry from that era.

Kids Vs. Demons

The Gate is the story of three teens who are forced to combat demonic forces that have made their way out from the gates of Hell. Glen (Stephen Dorff) and his older sister Al (Christa Denton) are left alone for the weekend while their parents go out of town. While Al uses the time to throw an unsupervised party, Glen and his best friend Terry (Louis Tripp) are preoccupied by a large hole in Glen’s backyard that yielded an unusual geode.

Always Call Before You Dig Or You Might Open A Portal To Hell

Days before, a massive tree stood on the spot where the geode was discovered. After having a dream in which the tree was struck by lightning, Glen went to his window the next morning to see workers taking the tree down and leaving a massive hole in its place.

The geode in The Gate is broken open by Glen and Terry and begins a chilling sequence of events for the boys and Al. They are plagued by nightmares and suffer from hallucinations that Terry believes stem from the hole in the yard. After studying lyrics from his favorite heavy metal band, Terry becomes convinced that the hole is the gateway to Hell that will soon spew forth demons unless it is closed.

The Fate Of Humanity In The Balance

Knowing that a sacrifice must be given to the gate to have it open fully, Terry works quickly to read an incantation from an ancient tome called The Dark Book to close it. But Terry and Glen are unaware that the sacrifice was already made when a friend of Al’s placed a dead family pet into the hole, thus setting off a series of events that lead to the gateway to Hell opening later that night.

The Gate sees the demons come out of the hole and attack Al, Terry, and Glen as they fight for their lives. It becomes a battle of wits against a legion of demons to determine the fate of humanity.

They Don’t Make Kids Movies Like They Used To

The Gate is the perfect film for a young kid in the 1980s, as the movie glamorized much of what made that era endlessly cool. The heavy metal music and dark arts ephemera that captivated Terry set the perfect backdrop for a film that soon sees little demons on the screen. The acting isn’t perfect, and the storyline is a little overreaching at times, but it has held up as a fun watch nearly 40 years after its theatrical release.

Streaming On Multiple Services


One particularly interesting part of the production was the demons themselves. Most of them appear as knee-high little ghouls, created by special effects master Randall William Cook (The Lord of the Rings). In the pre-CGI era, Cook used a combination of stop-motion animation and costumed actors under forced perspective to bring these little monsters to life. For those who saw the film as children, these creatures typically stand out as the most memorable element of The Gate.

You can stream The Gate for free with Tubi and Roku or rent the horror classic On Demand through Prime, Vudu, Google Play, and AppleTV.

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