After years of waiting, Stuart Gordon's From Beyond is finally out on DVD, and be thankful that it is. Undoubtedly one of Gordon's (Re-Animator) best films and one of the best H.P. Lovecraft adaptations ever filmed, From Beyond revolves around survivor Crawford (the great Jeffrey Combs) of an experiment gone hideously awry. A psychiatrist (Barbara Crampton) however wants to continue the experiment, and returns to the house where everything went wrong, along with Crawford and a cop named Bubba (Dawn of the Dead's Ken Foree). Naturally, things don't go very well, but in Gordon's hands, the otherwise predictable story and events are frequently gross, and frequently entertaining. There's plenty of gorey, slimy moments to be had, as From Beyond is finally restored in all it's uncut glory after years of only being able to see it as a butchered, MPAA approved version that floated around on VHS. The DVD itself has some great special features as well, including an insightful commentary from Gordon, and a couple featurettes as well which detail the making of the film as well as it's re-editing for DVD. All in all, it's so great to finally have From Beyond in all it's uncut glory on DVD; and it's needless to say that if you're a real horror fan, this DVD belongs on your shelf.
Scientific endeavors to reach the other side work and the results - they leave an enigma splashed all over an upstairs laboratory and a man in the custody of a lovingly cozy straightjacket. Here you have an assistant accused of killing his protégé with an axe, a young researcher that wants to exploit the possibilities of findings that still exist in a house with a now-grizzly past, some muscle to keep Jeffrey Combs from trying to escape while helping arrange this - and while trying to prove to people he isn't crazy, and a host of things that become transparent when an experimental machine is fired up and something "from Beyond" returns.
You really have to love the work of Stuart Gordon, and moreso now that it comes complete to you in a form you haven't been allowed to see.
For the longest time this item was only available in the US on VHS, and even then it was available only in chopped up variations that made you want to wince. The same can be said for the versions that appeared on bootlegged DVD - there were qualities issues that abounded, terrible dubbing issues to contend with, and there were also the irregularities that seemed to occur depending on what version you had. This was a sad fate considering this was one of the Gordon "big three," too, and the idea that such a good Combs movie could be overlooked seemed almost impossible. Lately rumors began to surface about a DC of the movie, though, and the suicidegirls did an interview that confirmed that the movie would be coming out. So, it took 21 years for someone to see the point in that, but after 21 years you have a DVD feature of one of Stuart Gordon's better films - and one that he did in the height of HPL remakes and j. Combs stardom.
So, what does it mean to have a director's cut of the movie. Well, according to Gordon, the MPAA castrated his film when it was first rated and made a mess of it. Much like movies that wer ebeing imported at the time and even movies like Evil Dead, the MPAA wanted no part of horror. That meant that they hacked random pieces - a lot of goes and story as well - just to finalize a product they agreed with. Although there were just a few minutes that were added back in, the pieces that were added back took the campy nature of the film and gave it more power. The result - something you should check out because it has been needed for far-too-long. So, if you are a fan of Gordon, are a fan of Combs, or simply want to watch some horror when horror was good THen you need this.
I recommend this o so strongly.
on July 5, 2006
"Mad scientist" Dr. Edward Pretorius has created a resonator machine which can reveal a parralel dimension by stimulating the pineal gland in the brain which perceives the lurkers beyond who lie in wait. Parasitic creatures swim through the ether attracted by movement and light. It is claimed that the pineal gland in the cerebrum is responsible for sixth sense function, and is essentially the parapsychological bit of grey matter.
When Dr. Katheryn McMichaels discovers Pretorius' assistant Crawford Tillinghast who was misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, incarcerated in a mental hospital, she remands him into her custody to recreate the experiment. Together with cop Buford 'Bubba' Brownlee, the dimension is opened and they are greeted by a nude and subsequently malformed Dr. Pretorius who takes a strong liking to Katherine - both to her horror and ecstasy, for it seems the process also enhances sexual sensitivity as well, and she is awakened to her primal self.
Considering the procedure is largely experimental yet, the scientific method of trial and error is employed to disasterous results, as various creatures who range from eel-like beings to huge worm-like monsters are attracted to the massive electro-magnetic vibrations, and eventually overcome the participants. Pretorius is himself a transmutating beast who attempts to absorb Tillinghast and Katherine, until they eventually barely escape with their lives, though Tillinghast is dramatically effected by this encounter as his pineal stem emerges from his forehead like a "third eye", through which his psychic abilities are amplified, but is also afflicted with an insatiable hunger for brains.
Despite becoming a patient herself scheduled for shock therapy at the hands of a sadistic and resentful rival doctor, Katheryn escapes and returns to the attic of the blighted house to destroy the resonator, but is surprisingly met by Tillinghast who restrains her. He struggles to regain control of his mind, but is eventually ingested by Pretorius, creating a hellish struggle from within the bowels of the creature.
She barely emerges from the nightmare with her life, but at the cost of her own sanity.
For those who enjoy the writings of Lovecraft, From Beyond is both a psychological and horror thriller filled with impressive pyrotechnics and FX creations.
on March 9, 2008
Since I've given 5 stars here, I'm obviously a fan of films such as "From Beyond" and "Galaxy of Terror". Some clearly don't share my tastes for whatever reason, and they likely can't help that any more than I can help liking what I like, so although some detractors may be narrow-minded people, I realize this isn't necessarily true of all of them. However, there is one opinion that even some fans of these movies hold, and that is the fallacy that the acting is atrocious.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I'm disappointed that even fans familiar with Lovecraft or "B" films don't catch on that the over-the-top performances are intentional. Think about the semi-formal dialogue, usually among highly educated turn-of-the-century (20th, that is) scientists and college students who populate Lovecraft's pulp-fiction stories where he got paid by the word. You'll find that the language in this movie has the feeling of being lifted right out of these stories. It would be impossible for even Val Kilmer or Gary Oldman to make these stilted conversations flow smoothly. Yet, as one watches, he or she realizes that he has fully accepted the characters and their motivations. That's the ingenuity of it, to give it that pulp fiction feel that a modern reader gets when he first samples one of these stories (and the "B" movie is film's answer to pulp-fiction). Yet, it must be done with a straight face or it will fall apart into a mindless, unfunny parody like "Attack of the Killer Tomatos" (I present the campy "B" movie as a separate category from outright horror-comedies like the excellent "Evil Dead 2", or "Dead-Alive"). While some vainly search for humor in the outrageous goings on, they don't realize that they aren't seeing the forest because of the trees. The humor lies in the ridiculous levels of outrageousness. A film of this type must still have some capability to scare or shock, and "From Beyond" has that, unlike, say, the Tromaville flicks. It takes skill to get just that right balance between outrageous shock, deep-rooted sleaze and seemingly inadvertant cheese which can give birth to the most subtle sort of camp as in Walter Hill's "Last Man Standing" starring Bruce Willis. And the vast majority of the credit for making "From Beyond" work must go to the witty and talented cast.
People who complain about the acting in these movies remind me of my brother-in-law dismissing Nicolas Cage in "Wild at Heart" as a bad actor trying to imitate Elvis Pressley, when in fact, Nicolas Cage was playing a trailer-trash type who was trying to be like Elvis. Or my dad who complained about the bad cinematography that resulted in too much red while watching "Angry Red Planet". These people just don't get it, much like those reviewers here who would rather emulate what they, in their lack of understanding, perceive to be elitists' taste.
So the next time you watch your copy of "From Beyond", or "Re-Animator", or "Rejuvenator" or "Dracula's Widow", remember that they are successfully recreating the ambiance of "B" movie cult classics like "the Brain that wouldn't Die" or "Lady Frankenstein", so look out for what is going on here in the performances. Compare low-budget box-office smashes like "a Fistful of Dollars" or the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" to cinematic losers such as the high-dollar U.S. "Godzilla" or "Alpha Dog" and it becomes obvious that while a cheap movie can entertain, technical excess cannot guarantee that a film has heart.
I would like to add that for those who complain about it not being very "Lovecraft-ish", too grisly, etc. I can only say that yes, Lovecraft was never about humor, but again, From Beyond plays it fairly straight-faced, so you can pretty much see the movie you want to see. As for levels of gore, remember that the LAST thing Lovecraft was about was restraint or trying to be "tasteful". The reason he wasn't overly graphic was because his prose was designed to bring the reader's imagination into play, and maybe I'm kinda twisted, but quite frankly, visuals such as what's in this movie are the kind of things Lovecraft's use of language bring to my mind. Most other HPL fans I've known have expressed a similar sentiment. It's one of the reasons he is still so popular.
In closing, I'd like to say that this DVD has absolutely fantastic picture quality. The technicians did a terrific job of remastering the prints and restoring the recovered film clips (previously thought to be lost) and the extra featuers are just the right amount to be interesting, not so many as to be drudgery. Fans will not be disappointed. Great job, MGM.
on March 22, 2002
Two scientists are on the verge of discovery, creating a resonator to stimulate the pineal gland located in the brain - to create a 6th sense. But this is a horror movie not a documentary so things go...well, wrong. The resonator opens up a world visible only to those in the 'field' or range of the device but one that is constantly expanding and filled with horrific creatures that certainly aren't friendly.
This IS without a shadow of a doubt the best film EVER. The cast surpases brilliance - Jeffery Combs certainly deserves more recognition as the BRILLIANT actor that he is, Barbara Crampton is one foxy chick and that Leroy 'Bubba' Brown character has to be one of the funniest 'Shaft' wannabee's ever put to film.
I won't spoil the film for you but just wait to see what happens to Dr.Edward Pretorius - "My God Edward, WHAT have you become?" - "Myself!". Pure genius.
I'd recommend this film to anyone - you'd be mad to miss it, and why isn't it on DVD? - Criminal!
on July 16, 2005
I saw this years ago, and it was one of the nastiest, scariest, horrifying pieces of cinema I have ever witnessed. I absolutely respect Stuart Gordon who also did Dolls and The Reanimater, for their time so original and still great fun to watch. I am still waiting for it to be put on DVD format, then I'll be buying it.
on October 11, 1999
I'm glad to say that I finally have a copy of "From Beyond" to call my own! I haven't seen this monstrously grotesque H.P. Lovecraft adaptation in more than ten years; thank goodness Amazon has it in print. Everything about this frighteningly original & campy horror/sci-fi story is absolutely remarkable (even 13 years later). Jeffrey Combs is excellent as the hapless, neurotic physicist Crawford Tillinghast (he ranks right up with Bruce Campbell's Ash from the "Evil Dead" saga). He and his demented colleague, Dr. Edward Proterious (Ted Sorel), have made a scientific breakthrough with their Resonator machine, a device that stimulates the dormant pineal gland in the human brain through resonant magnetic field frequencies. In turn, the subject can "see" outer-dimensional creatures that otherwsie couldn't be observed in the physical world. However, they both become victims of their own creation as they are transformed into hideous, unearthly creatures with a new sixth-sense organ and an acquired taste for human brains! The action, special and mechanical effects (especially after the cop Bubba gets killed by hordes of flesh-eating gnats), and story make this 1986 cult film a triumph for Stuart Gordon's "Re-Animator" crew! Definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart!!!
on January 3, 2016
THE STORY: Follow up to the wildly over-the-top excess of RE-ANIMATOR. Director Stuart Gordon taps another H.P. Lovecraft story to fuel this equally unbalanced flick in which an obsessed scientist and his assistant brashly open the doorway to a parallel universe using a homemade harmonic tuning device, (The Resonator), without stopping to consider the potential consequences. RE-ANIMATOR alumni Jeffery Combs & Barbara Crampton return to star in this effort, though as completely different characters. Combs this time around is the helpless assistant while Crampton plays a psychiatrist trying to find out what happened to Dr. Edward Pretorious, the brilliant man Combs was working for. Pretorious' body was discovered headless after an accident during their parallel universe tests and the police blame Combs, even though the flimsy evidence is purely circumstantial. Crampton brings Combs back to the house where the tests were conducted along with a police detective (Ken Foree), in order to re-create the experiment in the hopes of uncovering the truth. When they do, a horrible evil from the other side is released. One which threatens to enter our world ...and devour us all.
THOUGHTS: Somewhat more focused directorial effort by Stu Gordon this time around. He concentrates more on the narrative here instead of attempting to gross everyone out with gallons of gore. The film is still a Gordon/Lovecraft horror flick, ripe with gloppy creatures, deviant sex and gooey gore, just not as gratuitous as it was in RE-ANIMATOR. Production values are higher and the actors seem more comfortable in front of the camera here. Crampton is particularly strong as an idealistic head shrinker who ends up running the entire gambit of human emotional experience over the course of the film, thanks to the ID-releasing effects of the Resonator, while Combs' character goes through a disgustingly graphic physical & mental metamorphosis. His pineal gland brain vampire is a repulsive creation, and Gordon does not flinch from showing us the ramifications of such a vile transformation, as Combs' creature chews the eyeballs out of his victims in order to suck out the living brain tissue behind them. Yuck. Ted Sorell, as Doctor Pretorious, is good though hard to look at buried under tons of KY-slathered prosthetic make-up. The film is pure Lovecraft and you are assaulted by this disturbing writer's wholly twisted ideas as much you are by the film's barfy visual F/X.
THE BLU-RAY: Shout!Factory gives fans of this film a top-shelf product they can cheer about. The hi-def transfer looks very nice. Minimal artifacting and pixelation (mostly confined to dark/low light scenes). The film's color scheme is mostly fleshtones reds and oranges. Focus isn't as sharp as I thought it should be but it is decent. Soundmix is level and strong. Some pretty good bonus stuff makes this a solid purchase. Included are a full-length audio commentary track with director Gordon and his cast, a new interview with star Barbara Crampton, 2 behind-the-scenes featurettes, an interview with soundtrack composer Richard Band, storyboard comparisons, the theatrical trailer, and more. Shout! also throws in one of their slick reversible slipcovers, with new art on one side and the original theatrical poster, formatted to fit a Blu-ray box, on the other. All-in-all this is an excellent value. BOTTOM LINE: While not as repulsive as RE-ANIMATOR, this film is still not going to be for everyone's tastes, not even mainstream horror fans. I liked it a more than RE-ANIMATOR, but YMMV. I give it 4 STARS
on March 13, 2004
I am a huge fan of Stuart Gordon, Jeffrey Combs, and H.P. Lovecraft. I watched this movie repeatedly as a teenager and have been anxiously awaiting a collector's edition DVD release. I'd love to see this movie in widescreen with a dts soundtrack! Some director and actor commentary would make this film even better. Aside from that, it's already a perfect 80's gore flick.
on October 1, 2007
After years of wondering why this great horror classic was not available until now is revealed! We nowdays take for granted that every movie will be available on DVD and unrated. So why did it take so long for this film to be released? The studio misplaced the cut scenes! In fact director Stuart Gordon was originally told that they were thrown away. Luckily for us in 2005 someone found them! Now we all get to see one of the most original horror films of all time the way it was supposed to be seen.
If you have not seen this film, there is no real way of describing it properly. You just have to see it. It's thrilling, well acted, and gory as hell. You'll be talking about it for days with your friends. Plus at a good price, you just have no excuse owning it. A great addition for your horror collection if you already love Gordon's Re-Animator films and his take on Lovecraft stories.