Wednesday, September 14, 2011

From Beyond (1986)

Seen: On dvd on our big screen/projector set-up, rented from netflix.

As I've mentioned several times in the past, I have become a somewhat crazed Re-Animator fan this past year. It's just the perfect movie. So it was with gusto (and a few suspicious cohorts) that I popped in From Beyond, a film that re-teams director Stuart Gordon, stars Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton, and loosely-employed source inspiration HP Lovecraft for another round of weird experiments and transformation horror. This time around Combs portrays the amazingly-named Crawford Tillinghast, a mild-mannered scientist assisting the visionary Dr Pretorious (Ted Sorel). Their experimental machine opens up a portal to the 4th dimension, and the doctor is almost immediately decapitated. Police suspect Crawford, but criminal psychiatrist Dr Katherine McMichaels (Crampton) believes his story and seeks to re-create Pretorious's experiment- with TERRIFYING RESULTS.

Thinking about this movie leads to a wistful sigh of satisfaction. It really delivers on so many levels. It starts out slowly, it's true, and for a while I was afraid it would just be a sort of boring exploration of an fake scientific experiment I didn't understand. Turns out the science stuff is indeed completely inexplicable, but totally not boring! As the film progresses, the half-assed explanations of things and haunted house set-up make way for wacky monsters, awesome special effects, unsettling sexy times, cannibalism, incredible grossness, and just all-out insanity. There's also a good deal of purple lighting.

As I'm pretty sure he always does, Jeffrey Combs lights up the screen with his intense demeanor and off-putting delivery and general greatness, as well as getting to wield a badass axe and later donning some crazy, appropriately disgusting prosthetics. I didn't at ALL get the whole "expansion of the pineal gland" thing, because whatever, medical talk will forever be something I cannot follow, but that little spindly forehead pokey thing is an image I will never forget. Yeesh.

Barbara Crampton starts off with some rockin' oversize glasses and a professional demeanor, rapidly loosing items of clothing and modesty the more they experiment. Because did I mention this machine not only opens up another dimension, but also makes everyone super horny? Yeah. So that leads to some nice moments.

By the end of From Beyond I was totally into it, but it did take a while to find its footing. Also the story doesn't make any goddamn sense and sometimes that was frustrating. BUT OH WELL THIS HAPPENS.

4/5

Pair This Movie With: It really would pair well with Re-Animator for more Combs/Gordon/Crampton/Lovecraft goodness. Alternatively a Cronenberg body horror would work, perhaps The Fly?

2 comments:

  1. Awesome movie, quite possibly Gordon's best film? There's always that fight amongst horror fans, is it this one or is it Re-Animator? Or both? I say both! But I love the hell out of this one! It's slightly more over the top, the make up effects are plentiful and its fun as heck!

    The dvd actually includes some gross out scenes that I had never seen before, like the sucking out the eye scene and the scene where Crampton bites off Tillinghasts pineal gland with her mouth.

    Awesome flick, still love it to death.

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  2. Reanimator still has the edge for me. And wins for most uncomfortable oral sex scene ever.

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