Due to the success of Re-Animator, Gordon wanted to do another Lovecraft film, and he wanted to reuse the key actors from Re-Animator, Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton, who all ended up being extremely successful and welcome returns. However, I remember really wanting to see this when I found out that Ken Foree was in it, my favorite zombie killer (Dawn of the Dead). Here, Foree still has that likability he had as Peter in Romero’s film, but his character in From Beyond just wasn’t as skilled with handling interdimensional creatures, as Peter was with zombies, to make it all the way through this one.
|"It ate... bit off his head... like a gingerbread man!"-- Crawford Tillinghast / Jeffrey Combs|
There’s a lot of potential and fun to be had with the ideas related to Lovecraft’s original piece, such as mad scientists and the even madder Sci-Fi invention, the resonator, and its ability to stimulate a sixth sense from a dormant sensory organ, the pineal gland, allowing a crossover of sorts between this world and another dimension full of distorted head biting creatures.
There’s this queasy purplish pink lighting that gives the alternate dimension its character, and the slimy, unidentifiable stuff that almost substitutes for blood oozing and splattering from the monsters has the color, too, and it grosses me out; I love it. After his transformation and having his pineal gland awoken, Combs’s character starts to feel more like an alien, and it completely weirded me out. That gland that protrudes out of his forehead is such a gross, and awesome, effect. Combs is one of those actors that can go extremely over-the-top and still come off as very professional. Anyone that hasn’t seen it yet should check him out as Edgar Allan Poe in Stuart Gordon’s film adaptation of The Black Cat. Combs seriously looks like Poe, in that.
The unapproving psychiatric doctor played by Carolyn Purdy- Gordon eventually becomes a villain, in a Nurse Ratched sort of way, and she’s the butt of an insane gore gag that was, amongst many others, excised from the film by the censors upon its original release. The gory scenes are so intense and such an integral part of the horror that Gordon said in an interview that restoring these scenes was like giving From Beyond its balls back.
Also, honorable mention should go to Barbara Crampton, who lights up the screen with her talents and looks. Due to the madness at hand, her character ranges between a timid psychiatrist, a sexy dominatrix, and a hysterical mad woman. She deserves an award for her mad cackling at the end. Screaming madly while the film transitions into the ending credits is a great way to end a horror film, if it’s done right.
From Beyond’s story is a terrific development that goes even further beyond its source material in more ways than one and is my favorite from Stuart Gordon, though I do have high regards for Dagon and Re-Animator, as well. Anyone who hasn't seen the director's cut of From Beyond is heavily advised to do so. It's a gooey, gory, and monsterific good time.
The participants in the Ultimate Gore-a-thon: A Splatterific Extravaganza have worked extra hard to bring you some great material that's highly worth reading. A nice master list (complete with links) of what everyone has published so far and what is yet to be published can be found by clicking HERE.
Blood Sucking Geek
Deep Red Rum
Movies At Dog Farm
The Info Zombie
Candy-Coated Razor Blades