Classic Review – From Beyond (1986)

H. P. Lovecraft's From Beyond

In not many movies do you get this…

From Beyond

Directed by Stuart Gordon

Starring Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ted Sorel, Ken Foree

Review by Jordan

It’s been quite some time since I first watched Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator, but its fair to say that time has not dampened nor diluted my fondness for it. It was the 1985 debut of a director who would later garner the title of Master of Horror, and the first of his adaptations of stories by H. P. Lovecraft, mixing scientific terror with outlandish special effects and deliriously dark humor into a classic horror experience.

Gordon was quick to add Lovecraft’s name to the title, convinced that the great authors works would soon be brought to life on mass by other film makers. He was slightly off about that… and what struck a cord with audiences more was the uncovering of two fresh acting talents to match his visionary eye behind the camera: Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton.

Combs would go on reprise his role of Herbert West in two Re-Animator sequels, as well as other horror offerings including a little seen but terrific anthology film Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, in which he actually got to play Lovecraft himself in a segment directed by Stuart Gordon’s regular producing partner Brian Yuzna. Crampton, with her stunning features and healthy set of lungs remains distinctively popular as a Scream Queen, recently featuring in You’re Next and The Lords of Salem.

In 1986 though, just one year after Re-Animator etched itself into cult film history, all three of these contributors would collaborate on a science fiction horror outing that would rival their previous hit for zaniness and visceral impact, but unfortunately not receive the same ongoing recognition or coverage: H. P. Lovecraft’s From Beyond.

With the aesthetics of the most heavily dripping David Cronenberg chillers and thematically linked to the articulated ink of Clive Barker, From Beyond is a joy for to behold for the initiated, whilst still boasting gallons of gooey gore and a delightuly bonkers performance from Combs to satisfy those simply seeking cheesy ’80’s escapism. The story is that of two scientists who create the Resonator, a machine developed to harness the sixth sense and view another plane of existence that unfortunately also enables other, more aggressive and destructive life forms, to view ours. When one of these men dies at its hand, the other, Crawford Tillinghast (Combs), is forced to recreate the experiment at the request of Dr. Katherine McMichaels  (Crampton) or risk being incarcerated for life in a mental institute.

Also along for the ride is police officer and former college footballer Bubba Brownlee, endearingly played by the physically imposing Ken Foree, whose very presence is all that’s needed to elevate a movie to the next tier of greatness.

The performances, direction and plot are three very good reasons to venture into this Lovecraftian experience, but they’re not the main reason, that honor belongs to the gruesome yet mesmerizing figure of the reconstructed Dr. Edward Pretorius returned from oblivion to unleash alien fury upon those foolish enough to connect electricity to his alluring portal…

I suppose you need to see it to understand.

4 protruding eyes out of 5

10 responses to “Classic Review – From Beyond (1986)

  1. So glad you liked this, Jordan! I saw it in a little theatre in Paramus, New Jersey in the fall of 1986. I had just turned 21…and I had a blast with “From Beyond”. I can’t believe it’s almost 30 years. The reminder is that I do indeed turn 50 come October. That little Paramus art house doesn’t exist anymore…but I’m still a lover of Stuart Gordon and Jeffrey Combs! ML

  2. Good review. I’ve always been a big fan of Jeffrey Combs especially the Re-Animator movies. Classics to say the least (or at least they are to me). Keep up the good blogs. Haven’t seen Tomorrowland yet but I think you’re spot on with that one as well.

    • Re-animator I used to watch quite a bit – most of what Stuart Gordon has made hasn’t had enough recognition I don’t think. Glad you’re enjoying the site mate.

  3. Lovecraft, and Gordon, and Combs… Oh my!

    Thanks for highlighting this cult classic. When I read these names, and Crampton and Yuzna, I got super excited. These guys made gory films full of practical FX, and full of bmovie laughs. Thanks for reminding me with this great review. We need a return of these sort of flicks.

    What do you think of Del Toro’s In the Mountains of Madness adaption, which is stuck in development hell?

    • Ha you’ll love this one mate, it really is awesome!
      I’d love to see it if it ever gets finished! But after Del Toro burned me with Hellboy 3 I’m just not so sure…

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