A group of speleologists led by a Boring Old Man (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart in one of his final screen appearances) descends into the caves in search of their colleague who's suddenly vanished after spending 76 days underground as a part of some experiment. Down below they find a paperback of Umberto Eco's 'The Name of the Rose' and no trace of their fellow member. Before long, light bulbs and even video cameras (installed in the cave to monitor the progress of the experiment) begin to explode.
Veteran director tries to make up for the retarded story with regular firework displays and, for the most part, fails.
Lenzi's primitive time-waster was produced by Alpha Cinematographica, the same outfit that gave us some of the wonderfully awful 'Lucio Fulci presents' films.
John Carpenter famously created 'cheap scare' scenes by things suddenly popping up into frame or by racking focus to reveal something unexpected. Our beloved Umberto strives to achieve similar effect by employing the crash-zoom, which isn't exactly frightening but does have a certain charm.
HELL'S GATE was filmed (well, the above ground scenes of it) on the same location as Lamberto Bava's GRAVEYARD DISTURBANCE and Deran Serafian's INTERZONE.
If you can get over the unimaginative visual style, HELL'S GATE can be enjoyable.
Just don't expect fresh ideas or anything remotely frightening.
Better be content with occasional gore scenes and a cameo by the one and only Paul Muller.