The Gate (1987)
I've kept the plot summary short for three reasons. First, there isn't much to it. Second, I like this movie a lot, and don't want to really go into much detail so that you will be intrigued and then go watch it. Third, if you want to check a plot summary, you can go to IMDB or wikipedia or what have you.
The first time I saw this movie was when I was a kid in middle school, on a class trip to Montreal. Whereas all the older kids were out drinking and going to strip bars with their teachers, all us good (that is, stupid) kids were stuck in our hotel room eating convenience store food and checking out late night movies in French.
Well, this movie came on and I was transfixed. I understood French a bit back then, and could follow what little story there was. But more importantly: the effects. The little demons running around. The laborer who came out of the wall and fell to the ground only to turn to worms. The large demon at the end of the movie. These images all stayed with me over the years.
Once I found out the movie had been released to DVD, I ordered a disc and sat down to watch it. If anything, it was better than I had remembered. The other night, I watched it a third time and was really impressed.
It's a clever movie. It was probably meant for children; it's not very gruesome and of course the main characters are all young kids. However, it's got a really great sense of humor and no matter how old you are you really have to appreciate the effects, which are a mix of stop motion and guys in rubbers suits and forced perspective shots.
And what kid in the 80s couldn't relate to this movie? You really can't get more 80s than demon summoning spelled out in heavy metal record album notes.
The performances are all really great, with the exception of the main character who is totally outclassed by heavy metal-loving best pal. The kid playing him is amazing, and he's also a really well-written character. The way the three kids act together is really believable and helps the movie to be more than just a special effects flick.
If more "lite" horror movies were more like this, I'd still be watching them in the theaters.