Review: From Beyond / Cert: 18 / Director: Stuart Gordon / Screenplay: Dennis Paoli / Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree, Ted Sorel, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon / Release Date: February 25th
From the team behind the classic Re-Animator comes their follow up, not released in the UK since the VHS era. We're happy to say, this 1986 shocker is still a gooey delight.
Crawford Tillinghast (Combs) is aiding Dr. Edward Pretorius (Sorel) with his experiments into stimulating the pineal gland, which they believe to be the seat of a dormant sixth sense. As a result, they are able to see things the human eye cannot, but also unlock a deadly force which takes over Pretorius and causes his demise. Accused of the doctor's murder, Crawford is sent to an insane asylum, only to be released into the custody of young but eminent psychiatrist Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Crampton), who hopes to recreate Pretorius' experiments in order to prove her theory that understanding the pineal gland is the key to curing schizophrenia. Inevitably, things go wrong, not least with the return of Pretorius in a hideous glutinous form.
Reuniting the Re-Animator team – director Gordon, producer Brian Yuzna, writer Paoli and stars Combs and Crampton (and the distinctive Purdy-Gordon; the director's wife) – and once again inspired by an H.P. Lovecraft short story, this is tons of fun. Here, they replace blood with slime in an attempt to win over the US ratings board who refused Re-Animator a certificate, but the result is shocking and visceral nonetheless. As well as plenty of gross practical effects (in the manner of John Carpenter's The Thing) there's Crampton sensual performance, and Combs at his most maniacal. Paoli's script elaborates on the short story (which is used up in the prologue) to great effect, and is certainly in keeping with Lovecraft's mordant style, right down to the fates that befall the leads. The movie is presented here it its full, uncut, brain-sucking beauty for the first time in the UK. If you were too young to catch it the first time around, don't hesitate to give it a go. And if you have seen it before and are curious whether it has aged at all – trust us, it hasn't. With a spirited audio commentary from Gordon, Yuzna and Combs and well over an hour's worth of other fascinating extras – including one story from the FX guys that will have you squirming in your seat – this is a fine release of an '80s horror classic.
Extras: Stuart Gordon on From Beyond / Gothic Adaptation – An interview with writer Dennis Paoli / The Doctor Is In – An interview with Barbara Crampton / Monsters & Slime – The FX / Director's Perspective / The Editing Room – Lost and Found / Interview with the composer / Commentary with Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna and Jeffrey Combs / Photo Montage / Storyboard to film comparison