From Beyond (film)

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From Beyond
Frombeyondposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stuart Gordon
Produced by Brian Yuzna
Screenplay by Dennis Paoli
Story by Brian Yuzna
Dennis Paoli
Stuart Gordon
Based on "From Beyond
by H. P. Lovecraft
Starring Jeffrey Combs
Barbara Crampton
Ken Foree
Ted Sorel
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon
Music by Richard Band
Cinematography Mac Ahlberg
Edited by Lee Percy
Distributed by Empire Pictures
Release date(s)
  • October 24, 1986 (1986-10-24)
Running time 80 minutes
85 minutes (unrated cut)
Country United States
Language English
Budget US$ 4,500,000
Box office US$ 1,261,000[1]

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 around 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.

Plot[edit]

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 escapes Pretorius' attic laboratory with an axe, fleeing outside. When the police arrive, they find Pretorius decapitated. Crawford is subsequently arrested and accused of murder.

Crawford is committed to a psychiatric ward, where he is treated by Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton). After Crawford gives his account of Pretorius' death (claiming that it was one of the creatures from the Resonator that took off Pretorius' head), Katherine conducts a brain scan and notice that Crawford's pineal gland has grown. Katherine, convinced of Crawford's innocence, decides to let him return to the house in order to show her the Resonator. They are accompanied by Detective Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree), who investigated Pretorius' death.

Upon returning to the house, Katherine and Crawford rebuild the Resonator. Crawford reactivates the machine, which causes more creatures to appear. A severely deformed Pretorius, still alive, appears in the attic and tells the trio of a world beyond that is more pleasurable than normal reality. Pretorius' body gruesomely breaks apart when Crawford attempts to touch him, leading Bubba to draw his gun and fire at the mad doctor. Crawford shuts off The Resonator, making Pretorius and the creatures vanish.

It is now morning, and the three discuss the creatures over breakfast. Katherine – who insists that the Resonator could possibly cure schizophrenia – suggests that they turn the machine back on, but Bubba and Crawford disagree. They all go to sleep, each with a headache. But while everyone is sleeping, Katherine gets back up to feel the pleasure from the machine and turns it back on, bringing forth a worried Crawford and the now almost unrecognizable Edward who is mutated and covered in slime. Bubba enters the scene as Edward grabs Katherine and rips off her clothes, preparing to eat her mind and take her to the world of beyond. Crawford and Bubba go down into the basement to shut off the power, but encounter a giant worm-monster, prompting Crawford to conclude the vibration waves permeate the entire house. The worm begins to devour Crawford, but Bubba succeeds in shutting off the power, bringing a hairless Crawford back, and sending Edward away. The freed Katherine then turns off the machine and meets the others downstairs, crying and feeling ashamed and horrified for turning it back on.

Bubba decides that they should leave the house, but as Katherine puts lotion on Crawford's inflamed skin, she expresses her desire to monitor the machine to figure out where the creatures are coming from. Bubba refuses and tells her to go get dressed. She begins to explore other parts of the house, finding Edward's old S&M outfits and putting one on. She then starts to tease a sleeping Crawford, until Bubba comes in and tells her to snap out of it, which she does, throwing a robe over the outfit. All of a sudden the power returns and The Resonator turns back on, as all three of them run up into the attic to deactivate it. Katherine and Crawford are attacked by little bee-like creatures that strip the flesh off of their victims, and as Bubba pushes them out of the way, he is devoured to the bone. A now almost fully mutated Edward, with an elongated neck and misshapen limbs, grabs Katherine and starts to drag her flesh torn, bleeding body towards him. Crawford fights Edward and succeeds in freeing Katherine but then his enlarged pineal gland pops out of his forehead like an antenna. Katherine short circuits the machine by spraying it repeatedly with a fire extinguisher.

She then takes Crawford back to the hospital, where she is evaluated for insanity and schizophrenia, since her story was just like Crawford's and she is blamed by Dr. Bloch and the police for this evening's events. Vindictive Dr. Bloch then orders for Katherine to get shock treatment. Dr. Bloch then goes to perform an autopsy on Crawford, who's newly fully activated pineal gland gives him an overwhelming hunger for human brains, as well as enhanced senses with which to locate them. As Katherine is being prepared for shock treatment by a sadistic staff member, Crawford attacks and eats Dr. Bloch's brain. Katherine escapes, gets new clothes, and drives back to the house with a bomb. Crawford follows her on a hijacked ambulance car. Katherine puts the bomb on The Resonator, sets it for 5 minutes, and goes to leave, only to have Crawford chain her up in Edward's S&M room, claiming that he loves her. As he is about to eat her brain, she bites off his exposed, enlarged pineal gland, reverting him to his senses. However, Crawford is pulled away by a completely deformed, mutated Edward. Meanwhile, Katherine manages to attract the leech creatures that sense her movement and bite through the straps, releasing her. Crawford fights Edward, only to be eaten by him. Edward chases Katherine into the laboratory, where Crawford's form begins to tear out through Edward's skin and muscles. The two fight for the control of the deformed body, until it dissolves in its own digestive fluids. Katherine finally frees herself and jumps out the attic window, right as the whole attic explodes. She lands on her legs, breaking one, and as the neighbors gather around her, she goes from sobbing to laughing hysterically as she tells them, "It ATE him!".

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

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.[2] He was interested in the possibility of making a series of Lovecraft films with the same cast, like Roger Corman's Poe adaptations.[2] 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.[3]

Albert Band, who served as the production manager of From Beyond, also makes an uncredited cameo appearance as a wino.[3]

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.[4] It was shot on a soundstage called Dinocitta just outside of Rome.[5] Dinocitta was originally constructed by Dino DeLaurentiis, but was seized by the government for nonpayment of taxes, and then sold to Empire Studios.[5] From Beyond was one of the first films shot at that venue during its period of ownership by Empire.[5] Gordon shot his film Dolls at the same time, and it was released the following year.[3]

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.[6] Four separate special effects teams worked on the effects for From Beyond.[3] According to Yuzna, the production ran out of money before the effects on the finale could be finished.[3]

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".[4] He was ultimately able to get away with making small trims, and without removing any entire sequences from the film.[4]

Release[edit]

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.

On March 26, 2013, Scream Factory released a Collector's Edition of From Beyond on Blu-ray Disc/DVD combo pack.[7]

Awards and reception[edit]

The film score by Richard Band won the award for Best Original Soundtrack at the Catalonian International Film Festival in Sitges, Spain.[8]

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."[9]

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."[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "From Beyond". Box Office Mojo. 
  2. ^ a b Gallagher, John Andrew. "Stuart Gordon", Film directors on directing, Volume 1989, Part 2, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1989, p. 98. ISBN 0-275-93272-9
  3. ^ a b c d e 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
  4. ^ a b c Gallagher, p. 94.
  5. ^ a b c Gallagher, p. 95.
  6. ^ Gallagher, p. 93.
  7. ^ http://www.shocktillyoudrop.com/news/171355-blu-ray-dates-for-phantasm-ii-a-the-beyond
  8. ^ Richard Band Film Music Biography
  9. ^ Craig Butler. "From Beyond (1986)". Allmovie. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  10. ^ 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

External links[edit]