From Beyond serves up goopy, glorious body horror with a healthy dose of kink in Stuart Gordon & Brian Yuzna’s 2nd go at adapting the work of H.P. Lovecraft. Very loosely adapted from the seven-page short story of the same name, 1986’s From Beyond opens with Dr. Pretorius (a magnificently malovolent Ted Sorel) and his meek assistant Crawford Tillinghast (Gordon’s muse himself, the legendary Jeffrey Combs) experimenting in an old farm house with a dimension opening device simply called “The Resonator” that activates an ancient pineal glad and opens your, eventually literal, 3rd eye to spooky worm creatures that live all around us, amongst other Lovecraftian nightmares. As always in Lovecraft’s work, something goes terribly wrong, Pretorious vanishes and poor Jeffery Combs is locked up for his Murder.
But wait! Here comes B-movie icons Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, Chopping Mall) and Ken Foree (Dawn Of The Dead) to the rescue, with evidence that something more than murder is afoot at Pretorious’s spooky farmhouse. Once there, they reboot the resonator and all kinds of funny business abounds, with Tillinghast slowly turning into a mutated albino,, Crampton’s prim Dr. McMichaels transforming into a raging Dominatrix, and RIVERS of gooey gore flowing freely. In fact, there’s SO MUCH gore, it ran afoul of the MPAA rating board, which initially refused to give From Beyond an “R” rating because of it, giving it a dreaded ‘X’ rating. Gordon cut 5 minutes (which are included in a recent Blu-Ray remaster from Shout Factory), but don’t worry, there’s still plenty of mutant sex, violence and cosmic rays to please any fan of Eldritch horrors.
To keep costs down, Gordon shot From Beyond in Italy (where he later filmed Castle Freak) at a studio called Dinocitta. He estimated that the movie may have cost around $15 million to make if he had worked in the States, filming it abroad kept the budget down to only $3 Million. Even with the b-movie price tag, and with Re-Animator already an underground hit, From Beyond still ran out of money, and the rushed ending shows, one of the films only let downs.
However, As he did with Re-Animator, Gordon took cryptic, threadbare stories from HP Lovecraft’s deepest catalog, ones that only featured hints of the cosmic horrors within (nothing in the original is as explicit and Lovecraft’s descriptions of Cthuhlu, Yog Sogoth and other Eldritch OG’s), and turned it into a sex-soaked, superbly surreal, gloriously gruesome, psychedelic nightmare. You can catch From Beyond streaming, as always, on Shudder.
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