From Beyond (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stuart Gordon|
|Produced by||Brian Yuzna|
|Screenplay by||Dennis Paoli|
|Story by||Brian Yuzna
|Based on||"From Beyond"
by H. P. Lovecraft
|Music by||Richard Band|
|Edited by||Lee Percy|
|Distributed by||Empire Pictures|
85 minutes (unrated cut)
|Box office||US$ 1,261,000|
From Beyond is a 1986 American science fiction-body horror film directed by Stuart Gordon, loosely based on the short story of the same name by H. P. Lovecraft. It was written by Dennis Paoli, Gordon and Brian Yuzna, and stars Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree and Ted Sorel.
From Beyond centers on a pair of scientists attempting to stimulate the pineal gland with a device called The Resonator. An unforeseen result of their experiments is the ability to perceive creatures from another dimension that proceed to drag the head scientist into their world, returning him as a grotesque shape-changing monster that preys upon the others at the laboratory.
Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) is a scientist who has developed the Resonator, a machine which allows whoever is within range to see beyond normal perceptible reality. His assistant, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs), activates the machine and soon sees strange creatures in the air. When he is bitten by one of them, he urges Pretorius to turn the machine off. However, the crazed Pretorius refuses. Events transpire to the point where Crawford panics, fleeing outside. When the police arrive, they find Pretorius decapitated. Crawford is subsequently arrested and accused of murder.
Katherine puts the bomb on the Resonator and goes to leave when Crawford attacks her. As he is about to eat her brain, she bites off his pineal gland, reverting him to his senses. However, Crawford is pulled away and eaten by a completely deformed, mutated Edward. Katherine finally escapes, right as the whole attic explodes.
- Jeffrey Combs as Crawford Tillinghast
- Barbara Crampton as Dr. Katherine McMichaels
- Ted Sorel as Dr. Edward Pretorius
- Ken Foree as Bubba Brownlee
- Carolyn Purdy-Gordon Dr. Bloch
Gordon had previously worked with both Combs and Crampton on Re-Animator, and he cast them in part because he had become used to working with a company of actors during his time in theater, and felt that doing the same thing with Lovecraft movies would allow the actors to know coming into the shoot that they would be asked to do "all sorts of odd things" and thus adapt more quickly to his direction. He was interested in the possibility of making a series of Lovecraft films with the same cast, like Roger Corman's Poe adaptations. Gordon, Combs, and Crampton would work together on a third Lovecraft adaptation in 1995, the direct-to-video Castle Freak, and Gordon would later direct versions of two more of Lovecraft's works: the film Dagon in 2001, and the second episode of the Masters of Horror television series, H. P. Lovecraft's Dreams in the Witch-House, in 2005. Many members of the production staff for Re-Animator also held similar roles in the production of From Beyond, including screenwriter Dennis Paoli, producer Brian Yuzna, executive producer Charles Band, director of photography Mac Ahlberg, and special effects artists John Carl Buechler and John Naulin.
From Beyond was shot in Italy with an Italian crew in order to save money. Gordon says that the film would have cost fifteen million dollars to make in the United States, whereas the foreign production enabled him to hold costs to approximately two and a half million dollars. It was shot on a soundstage called Dinocitta just outside of Rome. Dinocitta was originally constructed by Dino DeLaurentiis, but was seized by the government for nonpayment of taxes, and then sold to Empire Studios. From Beyond was one of the first films shot at that venue during its period of ownership by Empire. Gordon shot his film Dolls at the same time, and it was released the following year.
As with his earlier film Re-Animator, Gordon made use of medical advisors to be sure that the actions taken by the doctors and nurses of the film followed proper medical procedures. Four separate special effects teams worked on the effects for From Beyond. According to Yuzna, the production ran out of money before the effects on the finale could be finished.
According to Gordon, securing an "R" rating from the MPAA was a challenging ordeal. He quotes them as initially saying his presented cut of the film had "ten times too much of everything". He was ultimately able to get away with making small trims, and without removing any entire sequences from the film.
MGM has released a restored unrated cut of the film with extras. From Beyond has previously only been released in its edited R-rated form. The MPAA had required cuts to S&M footage and gore to allow it to be R-rated. This missing footage was reinserted into the film and the restored, longer version was aired on the Monsters HD Channel. This longer, "director's cut" version was also then subsequently released on DVD by MGM on September 11, 2007.
Awards and reception
The film received generally positive reviews from critics. On the review website Rotten Tomatoes, the film maintains a rating of 71% approval from critics.
Allmovie's review of the film was favorable, writing "Gordon is that rare breed who truly finds inspiration in another creator and uses that inspiration to craft a film that captures the essence of that creator while still being totally and uniquely his own", calling it a "gory thrill ride of a movie."
In their book Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H. P. Lovecraft, Andrew Migliore and John Strysik write that "From Beyond is a visual treat," but add that the film's "gross sexual excess may displease hardcore Lovecraft fans."
- "From Beyond". Box Office Mojo.
- Gallagher, John Andrew. "Stuart Gordon", Film directors on directing, Volume 1989, Part 2, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1989, p. 98. ISBN 0-275-93272-9
- Lukeman, Adam. Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen: A Celebration of the World's Most Unheralded Fright Flicks, Random House Digital, Inc., 2011. ISBN 0307523470
- Gallagher, p. 94.
- Gallagher, p. 95.
- Gallagher, p. 93.
- Richard Band Film Music Biography
- Craig Butler. "From Beyond (1986)". Allmovie. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- Andrew Migliore & John Strysik, Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H. P. Lovecraft, Night Shade Books, February 1, 2006, ISBN 978-1892389350
- From Beyond at the Internet Movie Database
- From Beyond at AllMovie
- From Beyond at Rotten Tomatoes
- Article discussing DVD release