Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
You may ask yourself… "Christopher, how do you track down these crap movies that you watch… Seriously… I need to know?"  My friends… it's a process.  Take this crap movie from 1996 'Carver's Gate' starring Eddie from Eddie and the Cruisers.  I'm watching that 'Piranha' movie made back in 1978 and while reviewing it I was curious what that little kid playing Bradford Dillman's daughter, Shannon Collins, might be up to today.  Well the girl didn't do much work, but she did show up in the movie 'Carver's Gate', almost two decades later, playing the character of Nympho #1.  Bam… there it is.  Thus I had no choice but to track down this movie, which cost me two bucks and change, and now I own 'Carver's Gate' on glorious Digital Versatile Disk and I think after finally getting around to watching 'Carver's Gate' I might have died a little inside. 

Michael Pare narrates… sometimes… as the character of Carver.  It's a dystopian future, we have ruined the planet, corporations run things, yada yada yada.  People in this future don't have jobs, just wander around mindlessly with pimped out bluetooth's stuck in their ears playing the reality videogame 'Afterlife'.  Carver's job, as it were, is that of a Dream Breaker, not to be confused with a 'Dream Crusher' which is a term usually applied to that woman you call your wife.  What does a Dream Breaker do?  I do not know.  I know Carver told us his job is to regulate the people using the Afterlife game but at no point in this movie does he actually do this.
On this fine morning Carver is awoken to the news that his former lover Diana (Tara Manuel) has been murdered playing the Afterlife game she designed.  That's sad and all, but the powers that be are more concerned what happened to the fancy tech Diana was working on, that being the Transcender!  So while sticking the Bluetooth in your vertical cortex gives the illusion of reality, the Transcender will actually send you into the virtual reality and the CEO of Afterlife Industries Miss Judith (Pamela Keyes) needs this tech because obviously going into a game filled with crazed monsters is way better than just imagining it.
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Turns out Carver has the Transcender.  Again I don't know why, but he does and he needs to keep it from the evil CEO and the shady Dr. Telsa (Peter Wylde) who does double duty as Carver's deadbeat dad.  Also on the scene is uber cute Dream Cop Serena (Marian Skretas) whom Carver will be having sexual relations with later on, and uptight genetically enhanced cop Moribund (Kevin Stapleton) who will be dying later on. 

Here's the problem with the transcender.  When you use it to duck into Hyper Reality, it opens a port and some of the monsters in it travel to real reality.  That's not good.  But Dr. Telsa has fixed it, plus he thinks Hyper Reality can save real reality by transporting tireless workers to fix real reality, and also using Hyper Reality as a sort of supply chain where we can grow food and trees and stuff in Hyper Reality and then ship them to real reality.  Dr. Telsa is kinda dumb.  Still, the mystery of the day is Who Killed Diana?  Indeed.  Just so you know somebody is also trying to kill everybody on the planet.  Which is like thirty people.  This is same person that killed Diana.  Prepare to have your virtual reality brain blowed out.

I don't know quite what to make of this one.  I mean it is terrible, just awful, absolutely putrid in almost every aspect of filmmaking, featuring actors that either overact like they're hyped on sugar laced angel dust, or underacting like they would be somewhere else if someone would just open a door and let them walk out it… Michael Pare.  It's not like my main man Michael Pare was ever the most emotive actor around to begin with, but imagine Michael Pare mailing it in.  It's ugly.  The overacting we can somewhat understand since for the majority of the actors, besides Pare and a couple others, this was like their only movie role, so I'm thinking most of them just transferred their Dinner Theater Experience to the screen.  Still we do have to give it up to Kevin Stapleton who would more than redeem himself years later in the semi-awesome Sci-Fi Original 'Cyclops'.

The lighting is uneven, the narrative is scatterbrained, the special effects weren't very special, the pacing was way too slow and even the musical score was suspect.  But as you know we like to focus on the positive, and we did like the monster designs in this one.  And… uh… we did like the concept of whatever they called the virtual reality sex thing they had going on, which didn't get nearly enough screen time.  The strange thing is that if you have virtual reality sex readily available, then why was everybody playing virtual reality Doom?  Not to be rude or mean to Diana who worked really hard to design Afterlife, but it did look kind of lame.  In fact it's like the worst game ever.  Who would play this game, walking in shiny halls with virtual Hitler, especially when virtual titties are just around the corner?  And what is the business model behind this game since nobody on Earth really has a job?  Just curious.

Yes, 'Carver's Gate' is obscure and it is terrible and Shannon Collin's turn as Nympho #1 while spirited, was underwhelming.  This is probably better left to the Michael Pare completists out there, and we know that you are out there.
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