Stuart Gordon and Jeffery Combs, back at it again, a combination that never does wrong. Once again their back to do a modern, reinterpretation of an H.P Lovecraft story, of the same title. One year after they came together to make the classic Re-animator, do these two still have what it takes to pump out horror gold?
From Beyond is the tale of Dr. Crawford Tillinghast, here-on referred to as Combs, the assistant to the twisted Dr. Edward Pretorius, a sadist scientist with an unhealthy addiction to S&M. Together, the doctors are working on a device called The Resonator, which vibrates the Pineal gland, allowing you to see into a realm that is always around us, but never seen, and in return, never sees us, filled with weird flying warm like creatures. While testing The Resonator, success turns to terror as Dr. Pretorius has his head bitten off, an act which ends Combs in a insane asylum. Willing to take the risk to see if Combs story about another realm is true, Dr. Katherine McMichaels gets permission to take Combs back to the house it happened, with the help of Bubba Brownlee, played by the always excellent and often underrated Ken Forbes.
The first two acts of the film are an absolute blast, upon recreating the experiment, we learn that Dr. Pretorius is now some form of super-being in this other realm, who’s form changes and molds as if made out of wax. Great effects, reminiscent of Re-Animator, as well as the body horror entries of David Cronenberg. Things quickly turn bad, and characters, mainly Barbara Crampton in the role of Dr. Katherine, start to make terrible decisions and choices. During this time it’s nice to see Ken Forbes playing the voice of reason, something often missed in horror films. Dr. Pretorius’ evil manner makes for a great backdrop to the spot on acting of Jeffery Combs, and they play off each other very well.
The third act of the film we start to see the story go downhill a bit. We step away from the house, and away from Dr. Pretorius and start to look at the effects the experiments have been having on the characters, and the downhill slope it leads them on. While interesting in it’s own right, it doesn’t quite feel right when compared to the rest of the film. When we finally get back to the house, we get an ending that I personally didn’t see coming when I first saw the film, not so much in it’s conclusion, but in how we get to it.
The film is beautifully shot, with a fantastic color scheme. The film is very bright, with lots of purples and shades of pink and red. It has the feeling of an episode of barney through the eyes of a demented killer on acid. Where most horror films tend to use a dark palette, working off of shades of grey, and crimson, it’s nice to see something up the color, but be able to keep the gore, and he scares with it.
From Beyond is a great film, and while the second collaboration with Combs, it’s far from the last, as they return together for such classics as The Pit And The Pendulum, and Castle Freak. It’s a good look at the earlier points in these two horror legends career, with a great character provided by Ken Forbes. If you haven’t seen From Beyond, what are you waiting for, get out there and vibrate that pineal gland!
Score – A
Gore – 8/10