Octoblur: If the quality doesn't scare you the quantity will.
Last Octoblur I watched Tibor Takács weird little 1987 creature feature The Gate twice, the second time with my 8-year-old son. While it's no masterpiece, it was fast-paced fun with neat stop-motion monster effects. When I told my son there was a sequel, he asked to watch it, and the code of Octoblur is that no man can refuse his children when they request to watch a horror movie (as long as it's age appropriate). I didn't hate The Gate II: Trespassers (1990), but a day later I'm having trouble thinking of anything that I liked about it. It's a lite-version of the original: fewer monsters, smaller cast, less fun.
While there's no sign of Glen and Al, the teen siblings whose house was destroyed by the unleashed horde of demons in the first movie, The Gate II does feature the return of Glen's friend Terry (Louis Tripp), who insists on reopening the gate — this time more carefully — so that he can use demon magic to fix his rotten life. Because that kind of thing always goes well. His multi-media ritual from the ruins of Glen's house is crashed by some delinquent teens — Pamela Adlon (as Pamela Segall), James Villemaire, and Neil Munro — and all four try their hand at making some wishes and then having them turn to crap (in some cases, literally).
Whereas sequels today often try to one-up the previous installments by doing the exact same things bigger and louder, The Gate II takes opposite approach: instead an army of miniature demons, there's just one; instead of a relentless parade of other scares, there are just a few; instead of a whole house full of teens being wrung through the fright wringer, there are only four. the only excess in this is sequel is a marked increase in bad language, making it a lot less kid friendly than The Gate. the biggest problem with The Gate II's budget-saving attitude toward special effects and mayhem is that it allows the viewer more time to consider just how uninteresting it is. the best thing I can say about The Gate II: Trespass is that it's never annoying, but I'd far prefer to watch the first movie again than sit through such a sluggish, unambitious and pallid imitator.
Stay tuned here and on twitter @Popgap to see what I choose to inflict upon myself this Octoblur!