Thursday, October 9, 2008

#86: From Beyond


From Beyond
Directed by Stuart Gordon
Written by Brian Yunza, Dennis Paoli and Stuart Gordon (from a short story by H.P. Lovecraft)
Released October 24, 1986

You know the old saying: another day, another H.P. Lovecraft adaptation from the director of Dagon and Re-Animator. This time Stuart Gordon directs Re-Animator star Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Crawford Tillinghast, a scientist assisting Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) in the creation of a resonator that was supposed to be able to stimulate a 6th sense in the human pineal gland.

The experiments go horribly wrong when the machine begins to conjure up worm-like creatures from another dimension. After Dr. Tillinghast is bit on the face, he runs to get Dr. Pretorius, who is attacked by the creatures and supposedly killed. Tillinghast is incarcerated for murder, but is released into the custody of psychiatrist Dr. Katherine McMicheals, one of the few people who believes his story, along with a police officer played by Ken Foree (the original Dawn of the Dead).

From Beyond comes near but can't match the hilarious, campy brilliance of Re-Animator (come on, that fellatio scene will go down in history), but it certain gets points for trying. When the two doctors and Officer Bubba return to Pretorius's house and start tinkering with the resonator, things start to get truly weird and disgusting. One of the most hilarious lines in the movie comes after Pretorius has made his first return from the dead, his head exploding into a mass of slime and tentacles. Dr. Tillinghast slams the power switch on the resonator into the Off position and yells:

"That will be quite enough of that!"

Of course, for Dr. McMicheals, who has become addicted to the sensation that the resonator brings about, once is never enough. She not only becomes obsessed with the resonator, but also becomes sexually drawn with the constantly mutating Dr. Pretorius. Throw in a little S&M, some brain eating and some nudity and you've got yourself a bloody, fun little horror movie. As with most of Gordon's Lovecraft adaptations, the short story pretty much gets burned through in the first 5 minutes, so who knows what the author would have thought about where the movie goes.

For gore freaks, the DVD includes many restored scenes originally cut by the MPAA 20 years ago. Of course, compared to movie violence today, it's all seemingly tame by comparison. The science behind the ideas in the movie is a little silly, and is barely examined enough to hang a movie plot on. Regardless, From Beyond becomes a damn good time.

For more on From Beyond:
- Movie information at IMDB and Wikipedia.
- Buy the DVD.

The From Beyond trailer:

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