Saturday, October 10, 2015

Halloween Movie Month: Hellgate

Hellgate (1989)

Hellgate starts with a group of college students in a cabin outside of town (not quite a "cabin in the woods") who are telling ghost stories to each other.  One of the stories told is a local legend about a girl who was killed by a motorcycle gang.  The girl is the daughter of the owner of a ghost town tourist stop.  The grieving father comes to poses a magical crystal that can bring things back to life, the power of which also fuels his lust for vengeance.

Hellgate is a terrible movie, but it is the kind of terrible that is a lot of fun to watch.  There are ghost stories, a cabin in the woods, supernatural forces, the dead being raised, bikers, a demon fish created by the crystal, zombies, possessions.  It is like they took all of the possible horror movies and turned it into a game to see how many they could cram into one.  At times, all of the pieces actually almost work together.  At other times, it just feels like there are too many things going on at once without any focus.

Along with being a goulash of horror genres, there are also some very awkward sex scenes (and suggestive scenes).  Before the girl is killed by the biker gang, they are accosting her in a diner.  The cook comes out and shoots a shotgun to get them to leave, but does nothing to try to stop them from taking the girl.  Apparently he was fine with whatever they were going to do to her, he just didn't want them doing it in his diner.  A girl is smoking during sex, but her face (with the cigarette in it) is in the couch.  A girl is naked several times in front of her father.  There were a lot of topless scenes, and almost all of them were just super awkward.

The dialogue is cheesy.  The acting is cheesy.  There are a ton of plot holes and things that do not make sense.  At times there are too many things going on without any clear reason as to why/how they are happening.  But, overall, it was a fun movie.  There is some heart.  There is a slight amount of tension.  There are some gory scenes, including one of the best demon fish I have ever seen.  There is nothing to especially make it stand out or to become an iconic horror movie, but it was a fun little romp leading up to Halloween.  Hellgate hits a lot of the right horror notes (scary music, monsters, things jumping out of the shadows, nudity, etc.), but it doesn't hit any of them out of the park.  It is kind of like a casserole - it has a lot of things that I like and overall it is not horrible, but it could easily get lost among any number of similar items that do the same or similar thing better.

Rating and Recommendation:  2.5/5.  Enjoyable and worth seeing for free.  If you are able to add Hellgate to your queue or catch it somewhere like Hulu, I recommend doing so.  I would not actually spend money on it, but I enjoyed it enough that I would watch it again if given the opportunity.  Reminder - my current rating system is based on how much I enjoyed watching the movie and not necessarily a reflection of the quality of the movie.  The enjoyment level of Hellgate was much higher than the quality level.

Be sure to check back soon for more reviews in Halloween Movie Month!  In the meantime, leave comments on this (or any other) review, follow me here and on twitter (@GargyleReviews), and let me know what movies you'd like for me to review for Halloween Movie Month!

- The Gargyle

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