Ladies and Gents from Cinema Head Cheese here is Rob Sibley
From Beyond (1986) is without a doubt my all time favorite Stuart Gordon horror film. I know right off the bat for saying that some of you will tune out because you worship Re-animator. Don’t get me wrong, I dig Re-animator I like it a lot. But I think From Beyond works better as far as tone goes. But this isn’t my review for Re-animator. This is my review for a film that holds a special place in my heart.
This was the first Gordon/Jeffery Combs film I’d ever seen. I was thirteen scouring the horror shelves of the local Blockbuster with my older brother and I came across this killer VHS box art of a mutated Ted Sorel with the tag line “Humans are such easy prey” I knew I had to see the film.
My thirteen year old mind though was not prepared for all the outrageous S&M sex, over the top gore and the sexiness that is Barabra Crampton. All of the film was drenched in a beautiful pink and purple haze of technocolor that gave me the impression that all this craziness was being filtered through a Pink Floyd video.
It left an impact and it was such a delight visiting this flick. It’s so much damn fun and it doesn’t take itself seriously… not for a second. The cast is uniformly outstanding, you can never go wrong when you team up Jeffery Combs with Barbara Crampton. Things get even better when you throw in genre icon Ken Foree in a scene stealing performance.
The story is simple but fascinating and like many Stuart Gordon films examines the human condition without ever becoming pretentious. Based of a seven page H.P. Lovecraft short story the film concerns two scientists experimenting with a device called “The Resonator” which they hope will tap into the human pineal gland or as some call it “The Third Eye” to possibly open up doors to another world, another universe. Things get messy quickly and our main scientist Crawford (Jeffery Combs) is thrown into an asylum where he meets a kind, sexually repressed doctor Katherine (Played with major bravado by Crampton).
While everyone else just see’s a raving mad man, she sees something more to Crawford and his tales. It’s not long before they escape and team up with a private detective Bubba (With a wonderful cigar chomping performance from Foree). It’s not long before “The Resonator” is back working… only problem is everyone starts acting very strangely, this machine is tapping into their inner subconscious and brings out there hidden desires and soon goody goody Katherine is soon a sexual beast clad in a leather corset and sporting a whip.
Things get even more bat shit crazy when the supposedly dead scientist from the opening isn’t dead and he’s got some nasty plans. Not only is The Resonator opening other path ways in people’s minds. It’s releasing hideous creatures from the other-verse into our world.
What ensues in an insane mixture of slime, blood, boobs covered in slime and all sorts of fun icky stuff.
Everything about this flick works, thanks in big part to veteran Gordan collaborator, writer Dennis Paoli. Who is the man you want to go to if your adapting Lovecroft. He already had Re-animator under his belt before this, he’d work with Gordon again after this on the amazing “Dagon” and the stellar Masters of horror ep “Dreams in a Witchouse”.
You can’t go wrong with this film and you certainly can’t go wrong with this Region B encoded Blu-ray from Second Sight. UK fans get treated to the first Hi-Def release of the title and yes this is the uncut print that we saw on 2007 MGM DVD.
While the MGM release looked stellar. This Blu-ray blows it right outta the water! It’s a beautiful transfer, the already lush color palate looks that much lusher and details pop out big time. This is one of the finest transfers of an 80′s horror flick I’ve seen on Blu-ray. No digital crush and no DNR folks!
The audio is equally impressive with the DTS-HD 4.0 audio really rocking the house. The film has never sounded this good. Also included (and much appreciated) is a mono track for purists.
The extras… wow. First Sight went all out on this one. Let me start out by saying all those amazing extra’s from the original MGM release have happily been ported over. So you still get the amazingly laid back and fun commentary track featuring Gordon, Crampton and Combs. It’s a mind riot and a laugh a minute kind of track.
Also held over from the previous release are two featurettes with Gordon speaking about the films editing and his thoughts on the film. An interview with Richard Band the films composer some photo montages and a storyboard to film comparison.
What’s new to the Blu you might ask? Well expect four brand new featurettes, the best of the bunch being a brand new interview with the still lovely Barbara Crampton. She still looks amazing after all these years and has a keen sense of humor and remembers the production fondly. The 20 minute long “Monsters and Slime” featurette is a must watch for monster fans. We watch FX masters Anthony Doublin & John Naulin wax poetic about how advanced the impressive creature effects were for a lower budget film. It’s a fun watch!
All of the new extras are presented in HD.
For UK fans or fellow American with All Region Blu-ray players this is a must own. Even though the previous MGM DVD was fantastic but this Blu-ray is a revelation. HIGHLY recommended for anyone who considers themselves a fan of horror or Lovecraft.