Trailer Terrors: Hellgate (1989)

Beyond the darkness terror lives forever.

Touted as a product of "the special effects masters that brought you Hellraiser and Hellbound," the film instantly leeches onto the notoriety of the franchise to fuel its own PR campaign. Remarkably enough, however, the only real connection that Hellgate has to those films is a man named Alan Hedgecock, whose sole credit is apparently as an assistant on Keen's team for Hellbound. Definitely not a good start.

The real punch in the gut however are the actual special effects themselves which, quite honestly, are comparable to the backyard shenanigans of a high school drama club dropout. Okay, perhaps that's being a little harsh. We are treated to a proliferation of reanimated corpses, dismemberment and anatomical combustion, but nothing that can really compare to the overall spectacle that Hellrasier provided and certainly not the work of a "master."

Hellgate was also the last film directed by William A. Levey (his first was Blackenstein, 1973) and though he tries to find that familiar formula of horror and comedy, the story instead becomes downright awkward offering few laughs and even fewer scares. Speaking of the story, I've purposefully neglected to mention it because there really isn't much of one to review. There's something about a crystal that brings the dead back to life (kind of like a portable Pet Cemetary) and an undead biker gang... I don't know, the characters were generally rather slow-moving and unsmart witless. Despite even this, I had hopes that John Astin (The Addams Family) would deliver a promising performance as Lucas, but alas it turned out to be an incredibly convincing look-a-like in the form of Carel Trichardt (??). Sigh.


  1. deadlydolls said...:

    I kind of enjoyed it, although that may have come from my slight disappointment with the rather annoying other side of the disc, The Pit. Hellgate is rather terrible, but I dug the mime scene and the sort of Scooby-Doo-ish mood of the ugly protagonists.

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    Haha, I love that you called them "ugly protagonists."

    My sense of disappoint was mostly the result of setting my expectations a little too high and that awesome cover art. It's hard not to get excited with a gooey, screaming skull staring out at you from the grave... or is that just me?

    Glad to see you stopping by the clubhouse, Emily. I've really been digging the House of Horror as of late, too.

  1. deadlydolls said...:

    My absolute pleasure Rondal! I must apologize for being so late to the Club, but clearly, you have an open door policy that lets just about ANYONE in.

    And yeah, Hellgate is weak, and my expectations were insanely low which probably does account for my overenthusiasm. Also, the opening scene with the bikers followed by the wacky spontaneously combusting fish made me incredibly happy.

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