A Look at Spooky Ornamental Gates in Movies

A Look at Spooky Ornamental Gates in Movies

There’s heavy symbolism surrounding ornamental gates. Regardless of whether they’re made from wrought-iron or other fence materials, psychologists know such gates represent major thresholds in the unconscious – particularly the boundary between our reality and the unknown.

In literature and film, ornamental gates are often used symbolically to mark the threshold between worlds, represent the beginning of a significant journey or transformation, and even simply indicate the nature of the being that lives within. Here’s a look at how spooky ornamental gates have been used in films:


One of the most iconic ornamental gates in film and television is the one outside “The Addams Family” mansion. In this classic TV show, which was later adapted to film, the macabre but wealthy Addams clan is too eccentric to fit in with the outside world.

Throughout the film version, the ornamental gates separating the family from the rest of the world open and close with a life of their own. In one scene, “Gate” snaps shut on the coat of a character who is later revealed as a villain. When that character later evicts the family and prohibits access to the mansion, Gate rattles futilely against the chains that hold it shut. Thus, the ornamental gates in this film represent more than a mere boundary; they guard and protect the family from hostile outsiders.


Another impressive pair of ornamental gates appears in the animated film “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Land, wanders through the gate into a cemetery, and into a grove beyond, where he discovers doors leading to other holiday lands. This sets off a chain of events leading to important personal growth for Jack.

Mythologists such as Joseph Campbell would suggest that by Jack initiated a hero’s journey upon wandering through those chilling fence materials. Children, however, most likely noticed that the frightening cemetery gates feature creepy, crooked wrought iron and mysterious designs on top.


Set in Salem, Mass., the movie “Hocus Pocus” features the three evil Sanderson witches, who have accidentally been brought back from the dead by Max, a high-school student who wants to impress a girl. Max must then defeat the witches in order to undo his mistake.

The ornamental gates that stand outside the Sanderson home serve to protect the outside world from the darkness contained within the house. According to rumor, hundreds of children had been buried behind the gate’s stone walls. The gate, then, creates a barrier between the evil Sanderson witches and the innocence of the rest of the world. In that regard, the gate to the Sanderson sisters’ home is more ominous than any fencing materials we’ve ever seen.

When it comes to spooky movies, Hollywood loves the symbolic power of ornamental gates. Any character that enters one must clearly have a fascinating stretch of life ahead.