From Beyond REVIEW

From Beyond Blu-ray review.


Release Date: 25 February 2013
1986 | 18 | 86 minutes | £15.99 (DVD)/£19.99 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: Second Sight
Director: Stuart Gordon
Cast: Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree, Ted Sorel

Ever seen photos of the microscopic parasites which live on the human body? If you necked a load of LSD and pondered on those, this is the sort of lurid, day-glo vision which might result.

Made by the director of Re-Animator and starring the same two leads, this HP Lovecraft adap uses his seven-page short story of the same name as a starting point – literally (it’s basically the pre-credits teaser). After that, it’s all new material.

Jeffrey Combs plays Crawford Tillinghast, the assistant of Dr Pretorius (Ted Sorel), creator of the Resonator, a machine which stimulates the pineal gland, allowing you to see beyond the normal limits of perception. The results aren’t pretty: weird other-dimensional creatures resembling eels and jelly fish (“jellyish monstrosities”, Lovecraft called them) float in the air… and once you can see them, they can see you.

Bizarro body-horror’s the focus, as Pretorius returns “from beyond” turned into a ghastly mass of twisted flesh (the physical effects still impress). The Thing’s jaw-dropping transformations were clearly an influence, but From Beyond recalls the kinkier avenues of David Cronenberg’s career too. Stimulating the pineal also causes arousal; soon Barbara Crampton’s buttoned-up shrink is shedding her lab coat slipping into something less comfortable…

The film has limited horizons, arguably sets out its stall far too early, and shuns the intellectualism with which Cronenberg might have approached similar material, but if you have a strong stomach it’s all sorts of sicko, shiversome fun. Bad trip, good movie.

Extras:

An immaculate print (which reintegrates some “strong” footage trimmed from the original theatrical release) comes with four all-new featurettes. “Stuart Gordon On From Beyond” (21 minutes) splices footage from a screening Q&A with a great talking head. There are also interviews with the writer (15 minutes), Barbara Crampton (14 minutes) and the effects guys (21 minutes); the latter’s well worth watching just to hear a gruesome on-set accident anecdote (the director fainted after someone basically sliced off a couple of fingers).

Six other bonuses are carried over from the 2007 region one DVD, which does inevitably result in some repetition. The director is accompanied by his two leads and producer Brian Yuzna on a commentary which is good-humoured and entertaining but has its fair share of quiet spots, as everyone gets sucked into watching the movie. You also get short interviews with Gordon (nine minutes) and the composer (five minutes), a bit on the restored trims (five minutes), a rather misleadingly titled “storyboard to film comparison” (the storyboards are merely glimpsed held in Gordon’s hands, and certainly aren’t “compared” to anything!), and a “photo montage” (translation: stills gallery).

Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman

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