From Beyond (1986)
By: J.R. McNamara on September 18, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
MGM (USA). Region 1, NTSC, 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 4.0, French DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 86 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Stuart Gordon
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree, Ted Sorel, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon
Screenplay: Dennis Paoli
Music: Richard Band
Tagline: "Humans are such easy prey."
Country: USA
Straight off the bat I have to show some appreciation for the 'horror love' that distributor MGM have shown with this, and a few other releases. MGM have released some films in mid 2007 that many of us didn't think would get a decent release, especially releases as well presented with cool extras, such as The Burning, and this film, From Beyond. So thanks MGM!!

Director Stuart Gordon and Producer Brian Yuzna created a wonderful thing in the mid eighties: Re-animator. This film shocked and delighted horror fans because of just how far it went: bloody, sexy… and the head giving head sequence…UNFORGETTABLE. There was a problem though, and one that Gordon was aware of: sophomore slump! How does one make a film like Re-animator, and then top it… or at the very least equal it in shock and gore value. H. P. Lovecraft fan Gordon's first idea was to do an adaptation of the short story Dagon, but making a movie about men turning into fish was something than Empire Pictures moneyman Charlie Band was not interested in doing, so Gordon and Yuzna presented him with a short list of Lovecraft tales, one of which was Dreams in the Witch House (eventually becoming Gordon's Masters of Horror series 1 episode) and this tale: From Beyond.

Lovecraft's story of the opening of a door to another dimension, and the expansion of the human pineal gland only remained in the prologue of Yuzna's (written with Gordon and Dennis Paoli) script, and where he and Gordon decided to take it, was far more than what the MPAA would ever allow.

The film opens with researcher Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) using a machine, the Resonator, which adapts the pineal gland to alter the perception of reality, and allow human beings to see creatures from another dimension that exist in our place in time, but not at the same wavelength. Excited and fearful of his success, he tells in elder colleague, the perverse Dr. Pretorius (Ted Sorel) about his accomplishment, and his fear of the results, considering one of the creatures attacked him. Pretorius ridicules Tillinghast's fear, and gets his to turn on the machine again, which then causes his death…. By having his head twisted off.

The experience drives Tillinghast seemingly mad, and after being accused of Pretorius' death, he finds himself in Arkham Asylum. After assessment, he ends up under the charge of psychologist wunderkind Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton) who insists that he returns to the house, and the place of Pretorius' demise to prove his innocence. Tillinghast and McMichael's return to the house, under protection of policeman Buford 'Bubba' Brownlee (Ken Foree), and reactivate the Resonator, only to find the more they use it, the more unusual the side effects. Eventually both McMichaels and Tillinghast become self destructive: her with an insatiable need for sex, and him with an unstoppable need to feed on brains, and the creatures form beyond become more and more aware of the existence of another world…

Filmed in Italy on the same set as the film Dolls, From Beyond is everything that Re-animator is, but in fluorescent pink instead of fluorescent green. Due to the MPAA's merciless cuts, From Beyond has not been available in such a complete print and this makes this unrated director's cut an essential piece of eighties horror for all horror fans.
Video
Beautiful, lush transfer presented in 1.85:1 with 16:9 enhancement. Lovely picture on this one, very psychedelic. When you see the reinserted cut footage on the 'Editing Room' extra, you will appreciate even more how good this print is!
Audio
A very creepy and slimy Dolby surround track on this. Every slurp and suck is perfectly clear!
Extra Features
Nice bunch of extras on this disc, MGM should be commended for treating such a cult horror movie with this much respect, but it being part of their 'horror' hits line, its no wonder.

First there is a feature length commentary by director Stuart Gordon, Producer Brian Yuzna, and cast mates Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs. A light and amusing commentary that almost feels like a conversation you could be involved in. Gordon and Yuzna provide the technical meat, and Crampton and Combs provide a light conversational salad, so the meal never gets too heavy either way.

Refections with Stuart Gordon: A Director's Perspective is a short interview with Gordon, discussing the origins of the film, to the psychological reason of why people like horror films. Brief, but insightful.

The Editing Room: Lost and Found is a short documentary about the missing 'cut' sequences of From Beyond that were found in 2005, and eventually restored into this DVD release. The restoration process is looked at, and some shots of the 'unrestored' footage are also shown.

Interview with the Composer is and interview with Richard Band, composer of this film, and the way he creates sound textures for each part of the film. This is an interesting look into how a composer's mind works.

Photo Montage is a series of scored photographs from the movie…nothing more than a slideshow with music.

Storyboard to film Comparisons has a series of scenes taken from the film, with their drawn storyboards side by side for comparison. The section is introduced by Gordon, who provides an explanation as to why he believes storyboards to be so important. The actual comparisons are: Appearance of Dr. Pretorius, Death of Bubba, Hospital Escape and Katherine Frees Herself.
The Verdict
Eyeball sucking, brain eating, pineal gland chewing, boob squeezing, sexy, horny, bloody, slimy good fun, all dressed up in pink lights with a light sense of humour. Lovers of Re-animator will become lovers of this film. BUY IT NOW!!
Movie Score
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