Hellgate on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review


Hellgate begins with an old man finding a weird crystal in a cave which can bring things back to life – rather handy when introduced to Lucas Carlyle (Carel Trichardt), whose daughter, Josie (Abigail Wolcott, in her one and only film) is dead. However, early tests on creatures including a dead tortoise and a live goldfish don’t exactly work out in a pleasant way, so it can’t be the wisest use of someone’s time.

There’s some nearly inventive special effects in this film, so it’s just a shame that the film takes 15 minutes before it actually gets anywhere, and then it slows down into a crawl before it reaches a watchable conclusion.

In this film, the dead are never just dead… they’re resting. So it becomes a zombie movie with the humans ending up in an amusement park running away from… well, walking away, really.

Very little of what happens makes any sense, but on the plus side, there’s some female nudity… even if Ms Wolcott is displaying plastic breasts.

Lovers Josie (Abigail Wolcott) and Matt (Ron Palillo)

The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition. For such a low budget flick, there’s only a slight amount of haze on the picture and a great amount of defintion, so this fares better than most thirty-year-old horror movies.

The audio is in DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (mono), But expect no sound-based surprises.

The extras are mostly interview-based:

  • Road to Perdition, B-Movie style (36:31): Director William A Levey talks about the movie which turned out to be his penultimate release – the time spent working in South Africa, where the movie was shot, even though he didn’t want to go in the first place, and he ended up learning a great deal from the country.

    Adding in working with Patrick Swayze and Playboy model Deborah Stratten, this interview was recorded in 2012, about a month after the film’s star, Ron Palilo, passed away.

  • Alien Invasion, Blaxploitation and Ghost-Busting Mayhem (13:06): Filmmaker Howard S Berger gives his thoughts on his 18-rated film which he said should be seen when you’re aged between 6-12 🙂

    This man has watched the film 3 times a year for the past 20 years!

  • Video Nasty (8:20): Puppet Master movie series creator Kenneth J Hall reminisces about the straight-to-video horror boom.

  • Reversible sleeve: featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys.

The main menu features a short piece of the music set to clips from the film. There’s the bog-standard 12 chapters here, but surprisingly for Arrow, NO subtitles. Why is this?

Hellgate is out now on Blu-ray, but for some reason, the DVD isn’t released until March 6th. Also, check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.

What a crystal ends up doing to you…


Detailed specs:
Running time: 91 mins
Year: 1989
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: December 5th 2016
Chapters: 12
Cat.no: FCD1388
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio (Mono)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (35mm)
Disc Format: BD50

Director: William A Levey
Producer: Anant Singh
Screenplay: Michael S O’Rourke
Music: Barry Fasman and Dana Walden

Matt: Ron Palillo
Josie Carlyle: Abigail Wolcott
Lucas Carlyle: Carel Trichardt
Pam: Petrea Curran
Chuck: Evan J Klisser
Bobby: Joanne Warde
Buzz: Frank Notaro
Zonk: Lance Vaughan
Jonas: Victor Melleney
Deputy no. 1: Len Sparrowhawk
Deputy no. 2: Alan Granville
Waitress 1958: Lynda Powell
Waitress 1989: Kimberleigh Stark
Man in Fridge: William A Levey

Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.


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