Joe Hart’s GATE-FEST: 30 Years to Hell and Back!

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A few years ago I had the honor of covering THING-FEST  at Days of the Dead Indianapolis where Canadian super-fan, Joe Hart, brought his immense assortment of props and collectibles associated with John Carpenter’s The Thing. Joe has a heart of gold and his enthusiasm for the movie, coupled with his enviable collection, made for one unforgettable weekend! Many of the actors from the film were on hand as well and one of my favorite moments was getting a photo with Thomas G. Waites (“Windows”) along with the actual microphone prop he’d used in the movie. I’ll always be grateful to Days of the Dead for hosting Mr. Hart as it was the magnetic pull of his collection that inspired me to cross state lines and attend!

Joe Hart & cast members at THING-FEST

Joe Hart & cast members at THING-FEST 2013

Since that time, Joe’s been busy focusing on another ‘80s cult favorite, The Gate! This 1987 film was an American/Canadian collaboration featuring old school creature effects courtesy of such notable talents as Randall William Cook (Ghostbusters, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Craig Reardon (The Goonies, The X-Files, Oz the Great and Powerful). The plot revolved around two boys inadvertently opening the Gates of Hell while unleashing a hoard of miniature demons (referred to as “minions”) on their suburban domicile. Despite mixed reactions from the critics, it spawned a 1990 sequel, Gate 2: Trespassers, with both having since built a fan following. There was even talk of a 3D remake but unfortunately, as of this date, nothing has come of it.

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GATE-FEST 2016 will debut just shy of  the movie’s 30th Anniversary release at Toronto’s Horror-Rama this October. Specific dates are pending so be sure to “Like” the official GATE-FEST Facebook page for updates. As it was filmed in Toronto back in 1986, it’s the ideal date and setting for this to occur and is guaranteed to leave a legion of satisfied fans in its wake.

For Hart, however, this latest endeavor is a personal one that goes beyond mere fandom. Not only because it was a favorite film shared with his son, Jason, but also due to the untimely death of one of his good friends, Dan Dunlap. Dunlap worked behind the scenes on the film (Driver Captain) while also having an uncredited role as a minion. He later struggled with depression before it would take his life in November 2012.

Dan Dunlap

Dan Dunlap

This tragedy had a profound impact on Joe who hopes to use GATE-FEST as an opportunity to not only honor the memory of his friend but also raise awareness. “Dan was a larger than life person,” says Hart. “This event was inspired by him and is very close to my heart and soul.”

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Rare Alamo Drafthouse Poster (#20 of 225) to be featured at GATE-FEST

Despite his passing, Dunlap will also have a visible legacy at GATE-FEST courtesy of a rare prop. Despite most of the minions being “stop motion” creature effects, fifteen costumed humans were used in the film wearing masks (referred to as “hero busts”) created by Reardon. After filming ended, Dunlap was allowed to keep his and it is believed that of those original fifteen, only two exist counting Dunlap’s. Joe inherited the prized item and it is now the cornerstone of his immense collection.

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While the guest list is still in the works, Hart has been in contact with the aforementioned Reardon and Cook and is hopeful they’ll both be in attendance. He’s also reached out to cast members such as Louis Tripp (now going by the name Baph Tripp and living in Australia) and Stephen Dorff, among others. Hart’s had numerous conversations with the film’s director, Tibor Takacs, whom he describes as “one of the nicest people” he’s ever spoken to as well as a “class act.” He’s also been in communication with its writer, Michael Nankin.

GATE-FEST promises to bedazzle fans with a first hand look at this collection (the largest known of the franchise) which also includes rare posters, theatrical promotional items, and a 35mm print to name but a few. This is pretty amazing for a movie that had critically been brushed aside back in its day.

Rare Gate II mobile theater promo

Rare Gate II mobile theater promo

The Gate was the little engine that could,” says Craig Reardon who also asserts that of all the films he’s ever worked on, this is one he owns the most backstage photos from.  Hart is hopeful some these will make their way to GATE-FEST and that it will be as much of a success as his past efforts such as THING-FEST and his wonderful Creepshow Expo. “They call me Joe Vision because I’m a visionary,” says Hart. “I encourage all super fans to bring their collections to light and let other fans enjoy them too. ”

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Dave Fuentes~

 

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3 thoughts on “Joe Hart’s GATE-FEST: 30 Years to Hell and Back!

  1. AWESOME WRITE UP ABOUT JOE HART AND HIS SUPERB COLLECTION AND LOVE FOR THE MOVIE! I ALSO WOULD LIKE TO MENTION THAT I THONK IT IS AMAZING THAT JOE HART IS DOING THIS EVENT IN REMEMBRANCE OF HIS FRIEND AND WANTING TO MAKE THIS EVENT A CHARITY EVENT FOR NENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS. I AM SURE THIS EVENT IS GOING TO BE ONE THAT MANY WILL REMEMBER FOR YEARS !! THANK YOU JOE HART!!!

  2. Gate Fest will be a One of a Kind Event , Since its 30 Years to the day Oct 2016 will mark its Anniversary for The Gate that was filmed in Toronto Canada back in Oct 1986… This Event is all about The Fans who Loved The Gate Movies and wanted more info on The FX and a First Hand Look at The Real ” Minion ” That is Straight out of Hell…. Gate Fest 30th Anniversary will be History in The Making in Toronto Canada this Oct 2016 I Hope to see You All there in person we will have Prize Giveaways and Items that have never been Viewed to The Pubic until Now…… This is a Once in a Life Time Event That will Have a Long impression on its Fan base for many Years to come, in The End its All about People coming together to share there Love of The Movie. A big Thanks Goes Out To the guys @ Terror from Beyond The Daves for helping Open The Gate One Last Time…….

  3. Hi Folks I’d like to take the time to thank Terror of the Dave’s for taking the time to Write this amazing article for the 1986 87 classic The Gate ….

    This webpage is by far my favourite on the web hands-down they hold back no punches in journalism for cult classics horror films ,modern horror films and above all I’ll tell tale journey that takes the fans On a fantastic ride of nostalgia ,
    There Amazing description of the film s that’s so many of us love in our childhood years were one can still relive the good times on how much Fun we Had at the Box office….

    April 20th 2016 was the third year for National Canadian film day which Gate Fest debut along with actor Jonathan Llyr who physically played one of The Minion’s that were in the film created by Craig Reardon and Randy Cook …..
    There was a special introduction to the film by Craig Reardon To Mark the 30th Anniversary of it debuting in Toronto Canada in October of 1986
    There was a huge turnout for this event which later that year will eventually lead to Gate Fest 2016 …..

    One year ago February 2016 this article launched a Clult fan base that would include a 30th anniversary Reunion in Toronto Canada at Horror Rama at the Hyatt Regency Hotel along with the legendary rock ‘n’ roll band Killer Dwarfs that was inspiration for the film along with Jonathan Llyr Who played one of the 15 minions in the film along with Linda Grandson who played Terry Chandler’s mother in the film ..

    Also attending director Micheal Felsher from red T-shirt Luis productions was physically on hand and was inspired to do a Gate Blu-ray that comes out today February 28, 2017 with never before seeing photos interviews and extras that are sure to enhance the quality of this Blu-ray …

    Special-effects Genius Mr. Craig Reardon was scheduled to appear but due to a delay in confirming dates we are sad to report that he did not attend last year’s Gate Fest ?….

    Thank You Sir ,
    I would like to take the time to collaborate on this amazing event that has led to the first time on Bluray , thanks to the Terror of the Dave’s which I feel had a tremendous impact for the future of this franchise and many other conventions that soon will follow …..

    Thank you guys for your amazing contribution in bringing back one of the most amazing Canadian Horror Classics That needed a shot in the arm !

    If not For Your Outstanding article That speaks volumes to The Gate Fans out There This In My Book Could Have Never Happened?
    However There are some of you have not yet seen This Canadian Classic Now is Your Time to see it digitally remastered on Blu-ray special collectors edition this February ……

    If if you delay in getting this Gate Blu-ray I have one thing to say before they’re sold out folks 👀

    You’ve Been Badddd……

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