After their great success with Re-Animator, gruesome twosome Stuart and Yuzna continued bringing us great horror movies. From Beyond is loosely based on a short story of the same name written by the infamous H. P. Lovecraft. Despite the story being only seven pages long, you can definitely feel the main Lovecraftian motives here. Scientists going to places they shouldn’t is one of the most famous ones. Mostly because these experiments never end well.
The movie still looks and feels great, so it’s a great choice after all these years. Especially if you’re tired of all the same old horror movies the studios keep churning out. Things you’re going to see here have not been seen before or since, so you better strap in because this is going to be quite a ride. A true descent into hell and madness as things progressively get weirder and weirder.
From Beyond starts furiously and then settles into this steady pacing pulling you further into the story. The atmosphere is this thick and all-enveloping blend of dread, mystery, and horror. A true stuff of nightmares masterfully crafted with just hints of humor and entertainment. Before you know it, you will be deep within it and not thinking about whether this is real or not.
The story’s a variation on the age-old mad scientist gimmick. However, there’s a reason why stories like this resonate, pun intended, so well with us. They tap into our ancient fear of the unknown and things lurking in the dark. At the risk of sounding like Neil Breen, you’ve got dark matter, dark energy, parallel universes, and all kinds of other weird stuff. Or you don’t have to do any of that and just watch floating killer parasites materialize and attack people.
It’s the middle of the night and Dr. Crawford Tillinghast is hard at work. He’s an assistant to the brilliant Dr. Edward Pretorius, who invented The Resonator. This is a special machine that’s supposedly able to pierce dimensions and look into other worlds. However, the two scientists have not been able to make it work properly. Not until tonight…
One of the things you’re going to first notice about this movie are the special effects. We start with pretty decent optical effects and then witness truly nasty and glorious practical ones. I mean, some of them look positively disgusting. Some truly nasty shit. From Beyond offers not only gnarly body horror reminiscent of The Thing or The Fly but also all kinds of otherworldly creatures.
This brings it closer to Hellraiser because it has such sights to show us. And finally, I just have to mention Carpenter’s classic Prince of Darkness, featuring a similar atmosphere only without the graphic stuff. The cinematography is stellar and at times you really can’t tell that this is an eighties B horror movie.
Well, I guess the cast of From Beyond is also a clue. We have the immortal Jeffrey Combs in another memorable role giving one hell of a performance. Next up is the veteran of the horror genre, Ken Foree who did overact a bit. However, that did fit in nicely with Gordon’s overall quirky atmosphere. And what can we say about beautiful and equally talented Barbara Crampton other than magnificent? And you should know that she sold the fabled dominatrix suit at a yard sale.
If you’re looking to continue in the same direction, I recommend you check out Brian Yuzna’s best movie Society. The practical effects are equally gruesome but the story is much more intelligent and hard-hitting.
Director: Stuart Gordon
Writers: H.P. Lovecraft, Brian Yuzna, Dennis Paoli
Cast: Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ted Sorel, Ken Foree, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Bunny Summers
Fun Facts: The entire movie was shot in Italy to save on money. Stuart Gordon recalls that instead of $15 million they’ve spent only $2.5 million. He will continue to use this strategy in his later movies, most notably Castle Freak.