Dr. Pretorius and his colleagues are working on a sensational experiment: by means of stimulation of the pineal gland, they want to open the human mind to higher dimensions. When the experiment succeeds, however, they are immediately attacked by terrible life forms, which apparently are floating around us all the time. When Dr. Pretorius is killed by one of them, Dr. Tillinghast is under suspect and thrown into the psycho ward due to his stories. Only the ambitious psychologist Dr. McMichaels believes him and wants to continue the experiment.
Directed by: Stuart Gordon
. Starring: Jeffrey Combs
, Barbara Crampton
, Ted Sorel
, Ken Foree
, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon
, Bunny Summers
, Bruce McGuire
, Del Russel
, Dale Wyatt
, Karen Christenfeld
, Andy Miller
, John Leamer
, Regina Bleesz
. Music by: Richard Band
I first saw "Re-Animator" (1985) in what seems like almost an eternity ago. "Re-Animator" was gory, sexy, funny "B"-movie greatness featuring a great cast of characters, direction, and special effects.
The next film after it, which I just finished viewing for the first time, was "From Beyond," released in 1986. Directed by Stuart Gordon (that's "Gore"-don to you, horror fiends, and everyone else out there) and adapted by himself, producer Brian Yuzna and Dennis Paoli (the film's chief screen-writing scribe) from the short story by H.P. Lovecraft, "From Beyond" is gory, slimy greatness out of the Mind's Eye! It is well-known in the horror community that Stuart Gordon is an avid consumer of all things related to H.P. Lovecraft - hence why we got this film and "Re-Animator," Gordon's two most famous horror pictures (Gordon would subsequently direct two other pictures that were also adaptations of works by Lovecraft).
I honestly thought I'd learned my lesson after watching "Re-Animator," and that is to never eat anything whilst watching a Stuart Gordon film. Again, I was wrong to do so. Once the special effects and gore started for "From Beyond," I immediately lost my appetite and had to will myself to finish my meal. And after I finished what I could, I immediately got some deliciously refreshing lemon cake from the refrigerator. Go figure.
Either way you cut it, "From Beyond," like "Re-Animator" before it, is not an easy movie to stomach (especially if you're eating anything). But once you find that you can, you find an interesting special effects gore film with plenty of gore, special effects, and humor. While "Re-Animator" could crack you up at almost every turn, "From Beyond" plays it a little bit more straight-faced (though there are still some morbid laughs to be found here & there). And you could also find an interesting treatise on deviant human behavior (a little bit more on this later).
In the film, the brilliant Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) has developed a revolutionary new device called the Resonator, which sends out a resonance wave in order to stimulate the pineal gland in the brain, allowing those within the affected wave range to perceive higher planes of existence outside our standard perceived reality (the so-called "sixth sense"). This also allows the user(s) to be able to see alien creatures that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye without the use of the Resonator, and, in turn, they can also see us, as well. The creatures, we're told, are always around us and we're always around them; we just can't see, or even interact with, each other, without the Resonator activated into stimulating our pineal glands. And the more malevolent entities of this alternate dimension are attracted to our movements, so it's best that when we're in the affected fields to not make any sudden movements; otherwise, we're in for some trouble that's literally not of this world.
During Pretorius's first experiment with the device, something goes horribly wrong, and his young assistant Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs, from the earlier "Re-Animator") is blamed for his murder. Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton, another hold-over from "Re-Animator" and again choosing to show off a lot of exposed flesh) is assigned to his psychiatric care, and she convinces Tillinghast to repeat the experiments as part of his therapy. Along with cop Bubba Brownlee (the towering Ken Foree, from the original 1978 "Dawn of the Dead"), the three of them discover that the Resonator has worked too well, and it has in fact opened a gateway to another dimension inhabited by extremely hostile creatures that would LOVE to have us for dinner...
As I stated earlier, "From Beyond" is not an easy movie to sit through, if you have a weak stomach and you're eating something. But you'll find an occasionally thoughtful exercise in a movie that posits the theory about a machine that can stimulate people's darkest and most inner-most desires. Dr. Katherine McMichaels finds herself obsessed with uncovering the truth about the Resonator and what lies on the higher plane outside our perceived reality (and exploring her own deviant sexual desires). This leads to a scene of Crampton in S & M-bondage leather, and she is later attacked by the rapidly evolving Dr. Pretorius, who was, in his personal life (before his murder), a sexual pervert and predator, and who has now been transformed into a hideous, amorphous shape-changing mass of flesh and goo that is an abomination to known science (and reality, for that matter) that is, in his - paraphrased - words, what he already was in his human life. Make sense? Just watch the movie.
"From Beyond" has some stellar acting from the three leads, as well as Ted Sorel as the primary antagonist Dr. Edward Pretorius (who spends much of the movie encased inside one special effect or another). The gory & slimy special effects work, and gore, by the team of John Buechler, Mark Shostrom, John Naulin, and Anthony Doublin (with additional effects by Mechanical and Makeup Imageries, Inc.) is truly stand-out and holds up incredibly well 27 years later (and by loose 2013 standards). I can only pray that some Hollywood idiot doesn't get the idea to remake "From Beyond" using modern CGI technologies...
So, whatever you do, get your hands on "From Beyond" and prepare for a gory, slimy sci-fihorror classic that is truly, From Beyond...
Review by dee.reid from the Internet Movie Database.