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From Beyond (1986) - Blu-ray Review

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From Beyond - Movie Review

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4 stars

The cool creature effects of John Carl Buechler, Anthony Doublin and John Naulin (the mad geniuses behind TerrorVision and Re-Animator) receive the ultimate gory upgrade with Shout Factory’s stellar release of Stuart Gordon’s From Beyond.  Originally released in the year following Re-Animator, the movie is a total blast of oddities and creepy crawlies as two doctors go in search of the pineal gland (also called the "third eye") and open a whole new realm of bizarre monsters all hungry for the flesh.

Gordon, echoing what writer/director/producer Roger Corman did with his Vincent Price-led Poe adaptations, surrounds himself with Re-Animator’s actors and casts both Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton as his leads again.  Good thing, too.  The craziness of H.P. Lovecraft’s From Beyond literally knows no boundaries.  Both disgusting and hilarious, the movie pushes the limits of bad taste and starts to experiment with comedy in the midst of a continuous attack of a grotesque shape-changing monster that just wants to suck, f&@# and fondle human flesh.

Written by Dennis Paoli, Brian Yuzna and Gordon, From Beyond benefits from originally being a product of H.P. Lovecraft’s typewriter.  Oh, the screenwriters very, very loosely base their vision on the original short story but still – through the gore and the gratuitous slime – the disturbed seed of Lovecraft remains.  Beginning in the attic of Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel), From Beyond clicks on its sonic resonator and never looks back as one assistant, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Combs) opens a gateway between our world and the unseen world around us and begins to lose his mind.  The madness and cast expands as he has to make a deal with Dr. Katherine Michaels (Crampton) and Leroy "Bubba" Brown (Ken Foree).

As you can imagine, things go poorly for our scientists but they go great for us.  This is trash cinema at its ickiest.  The screams and howls of laughter are infectious.  From Foree’s hysterical attitude toward the threatening situation to Combs’ mindless delivery with a 12-inch worm sticking out of his forehead, From Beyond is ridiculously sick entertainment that doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a rock and shock slice of cinematic goo.  It’s a prime example of the 1980’s did best with familiar material; make-up and mock.

And it came out of the unexpected success of Re-Animator.  Avoiding the sophomore slump, Gordon dapples a bit more in science and, armed with a bigger banknote, manages to keep things a bit more compact.  He’s in constant control of the gory proceedings that won out in favor of plot with Re-Animator.  The actors were already in tune with his own particular brand of madness.  The effects artists – after getting a taste of the grotesque with his previous film - were ready to go to the next level with their work, too.  Everyone brought their “A” game to this supposed B-movie and, to their credit, From Beyond is STILL more successful than I think they acknowledge.

Part of the ingenuity comes from the battle Gordon faced with the MPAA after releasing Re-Animator without their approval.  They went for the throat and saddled Gordon with the task of editing down everything for its theatrical release.  Fortunately, this release from Scream Factory preserves the original ramped-up S&M cut.  Still, From Beyond is a relatively bloodless affair.  That’s right, no blood for Gordon.  This time it is buckets and buckets of gelatinous goo.  Slime is everywhere and on everything and everyone.  And it’s effectively disgusting.  Take that, MPAA.

While the movie falls victim to a couple of genre goofs – Foree (the token black male) is the first victim – From Beyond remains one scary ass treat that’s as unsettling as it is effective.  Mad scientist movies aren’t anything new.  The idea of a man-made creation going berserk isn’t either.  However, this monster is of a thinking-and-feeling type that captivates our attention here.  It’s a hulking slab of psycho with a strong sexual desire that our scientists uncover here.  But what it does to them internally is of true fascination.  The power.  The lust.  It’s all here.

From Beyond is exactly that … from beyond and I don’t think we’d have it any other way.  Feel like a teenager all over again and scoop this release.  Fans of Re-Animator should snap this up to learn that it wasn't a one-off and anyone who enjoys the nonsense of B-movies and exploitation will enjoy it, too

{2jtab: Film Details}

From Beyond - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R.
Runtime:
86 mins.
Director
: Stuart Gordon
Writer
: Dennis Paoli
Cast:
Jeffrey Combs; Barbara Crampton; Ted Sorel
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Humans are such easy prey.
Memorable Movie Quote:
"It ate him... bit off his head... like a gingerbread man!"
Distributor:
Empire Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 24, 1986
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 26, 2013
Synopsis: Scientists create a resonator to stimulate the pineal gland (sixth sense), and open up a door to a parallel (and hostile) universe. Based on a story by H. P. Lovecraft.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

From Beyond - Movie Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

5 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 26, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: A

Shout! Factory's 1.78:1-framed 1080p image will allow you “to see more”!  The details are clear and well-defined.  There's a bit of softness to the image but this is more due to the style of the time period than the result of noise reduction.  Skin and clothing textures are perfectly saturated.  Creature makeup is slimy and textures are insanely detailed, showing off great creature designs.  This transfer is sure to please fans.  The strong DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack has some very nice effects going on when the creature speaks.  Otherwise, there’s nothing but solid sound to be found here.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Two, wonderfully realized commentaries are featured here!  The first features Stuart Gordon, Producer Brian Yuzna, and Actors Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs as they discuss everything from shooting locale situations to the actual film.  This is a fun track to listen to.  The second commentary features screenwriter Dennis Paoli as he narrates the film and talks about adapting the film from the story and other issues that sprang up while writing it.  Another solid listen.

Special Features:

Scream Factory loves its fans and doesn’t disappoint with this release.  Of course, the main featurette has to deal with the makeup of the picture.  For about twenty or so minutes, you get a detailed look at the creature effects with Special Effects John Buechler, Anthony Doublin, John Naulin, and Mark Shstrom.  Fans also get an extended interview with Barbara Crampton in which she discusses the role and the flair she put on the final scene.  Jeffrey Combs is up next with an interview where he discusses the film and his involvement in it.  Producer Charles Band gets in on the fun with his own interview.  Fans also get a look at what it’s like to be a director with another feature and, even Composer Richard Band, gets an interview.  The MPAA trimmed footage is also discussed in another featurette.  Overall, an entertaining movie gets a HD treatment with lots of extras.

  • Multiple Dimensions: A Look at the Film's Extensive Make-Up & Creature Effect (24 min)
  • Paging Dr. McMichaels: An Interview with Actress Barbara Crampton (14 min)
  • A Tortured Soul: Interview with Actor Jeffrey Combs (18 min)
  • An Empire Productions: Interview with Executive Producer Charles Band (5 min)
  • The Director's Perspective (9 min)
  • The Editing Room "Lost and Found" (5 min)
  • Interview with the Composer (5 min)
  • Photo Gallery (5 min)
  • Trailer (1 min)

{2jtab: Trailer}

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