HOLLOW GATE

HOLLOW GATE

1.5 Stars  1988/87m

“When Mark Walters throws a Halloween party, Freddy and Jason wouldn’t dare to come.”

Director/Writer: Ray Di Zazzo / Cast: Addison Randall, Katrina Alexy, Richard Dry, Patricia Jacques, J.J. Miller, Ted Buck, Mario Hernandez, Pat Shalsant.

Body Count: 6

Dire-logue: “Just a few Halloween nuts… Is that all you old bitches want? Happy Halloween, you filthy old hag!”


Yesterday was Halloween. I was at work, but managed to watch a certain famous flick about the day in question. It was amazing. Eerie, creepy, perfect all round 30 years on. I also watched Hollow Gate.

Now, the killer in Hollow Gate, Mark, had his head held in the apple-bobbing bowl by his beer-choking pop at a kids’ party. This actor’s name is Bartholamew Bottoms, which might explain why such a thing might happen to him off-screen. Title cards tell us that ten years later, on Halloween Night (despite it being daylight), he teaches two nasty classmates a lesson when they mock him and his gas-pumpin’ job by setting their tank alight and watching them burn. Another two years pass and, on the same day, he attacks a shop girl who won’t have ice cream with him (“I don’t like ice cream! I don’t like the movies!” -who’d want to date this chick?)

Some undisclosed time later, Mark is living with his dotty Grandmother at Hollowgate, a fat-ass mansion outside the town limits (somewhere in Oklahoma). His live-in nurse has been dismissed and, when she suggests throwing a costume party on Halloween to resocialise Mark, Granny gets a pair of scissors in the eye. A couple of weeks later, two teen couples on their way to a nearby rave opt to deliver a few costumes to Hollowgate in exchange for free wigs. Yes, really. They’re soon trapped on the grounds after Mark shows them what’s left of Grandma and, for each ensuing murder, he dons a costume and plays its respective part (drill sergeant, redneck farmer, snooty British fox hunter…) This is assumedly, Hollow Gates ‘niche’, it’s ‘hook’. Sucks, don’t it? Well, not half as much as the film itself.

The teens in peril are an ensamble of am-dram rejects for sure. They squeal their lines and overact to the point of a lunacy that rivals Mark’s madness. Equally, their decision making abilities should be called into question: at one point, they elect to run across a plain one by one for no obvious purpose. The last girl goes and notices a combine harvester coming towards her in the distance. Now, you can outwalk a combine harvester, especially when it takes between five and ten seconds for each machine appendagey part to lower itself to ground level. But no, she stands there and screams, keeps still so the killer can shoot her and then run her over in said vehicle. She literally had over a minute, during which she could have crawled to safety!

Worse is to come. Another teen is mauled by Mark’s rabid…Golden Retrievers!!? Yes. The friendliest, most placid canine species is cast as a savage killing machine. I have a Labrador Retriever and the only living thing I’ve ever seen it eat is a spider. By the time the last girl is on the run and screaming at everything, two cops whose respective ‘stories’ we’ve had the displeasure of returning to throughout events the film come a-rescuin’ and things are wrapped with that old killer’s-eye-opens-in-the-hospital thing.

Low body count, rubbish gore, characters who should die but don’t – this is only made bearable by the bewildering lack of acting talent. Slam the gate shut upon your departure please.

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