From Beyond (Director's Cut DVD) Review

Poster Art Country : USA
Year: 1986
Genre: Horror/Metaphysics
Format: DVD (2007 Re-Issue)
Running Time: 86 minutes
Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Stuart Gordon's campy interpretation of Lovecraft's classic tale comes to life all over again in this must-have Director's Cut DVD....

Directed by Stuart Gordon. Written by Brian Yuzna, Dennis Paoli and Stuart Gordon. Adapted from a work by H.P. Lovecraft. Starring Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree, Ted Sorel and Carolyn Purdy-Gordon.

Dr. Edward Pretorious was a superior intellect but, as an associate says after his bizarre death, ''the five senses weren't enough for him. He wanted more.''

Dr. Pretorious dies early in Stuart Gordon's From Beyond--his head twisted off by a creature from the fourth dimension. Though dead, he won't go away. Assuming one ghastly shape after another, he makes life a living hell for his former assistant, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast, who's been accused of his murder, as well as for the beautiful, scholarly and demure Dr. Katherine McMichaels, a specialist in schizophrenia called in to help solve the crime.This is more or less the entire plot of From Beyond but not, by a long shot, everything that happens in the film, which is funny in the way of pulp fiction condescended to by superior intellects and special-effects experts.

From Beyond is an updated adaptation of an old H. P. Lovecraft tale about those malignant creatures that share our world, unseen, existing in their fourth dimension just waiting to get back into ours. With the help of computer technology and something called a ''resonator,'' Dr. Pretorious has provided the means by which these beings can return.

Mr. Gordon, the founder and a director of Chicago's highly respected Organic Theater Company, and director of ReAnimator finally gets his masterpiece UNRATED DIRECTOR'S CUT on DVD for all us who have had to buy bootleg DVDs that were merely transfer from the VHS. No extras, not even a decent trailer could be found on Youtube. So what does it mean to have the directors cut of From Beyond out finally? Well, according to Gordon, the MPAA castrated the film and made an utter mess out of it. The result is something you should check out because it has been needed for 21 years now. I won't spoil the surprises, but there are plenty....my favorite involving a shot of a head being pulled off and scenes of Katherine's breasts being molested. The disc also boasts a gorgeous widescreen transfer and a powerful 5.1 sound mix.

The film's most spectacular moments belong to the sebaceous cyst school of special effects, pioneered in Alien and in the films of David Cronenberg: lumps, on or in various parts of the body, which swell up and then burst to reveal something oozily unspeakable within.

Oh and did I mention that Dr. Pretorious is revealed to have a secret life. He likes to relax by dressing up in black leather and doing naughty things with whips and handcuffs. (don't we all?) So - it turns out - does the scholarly Dr. Katherine McMichaels. Poor Dr. Tillinghast, physically and emotionally agitated by the elder doctor's resonator, suddenly finds himself walking around with his pineal gland - or third eye - hanging out of his forehead. The symbolism here is dream-book basic.

The film's straight-faced actors include the always great (and Gordon favorite) Jeffrey Combs (Tillinghast), Barbara Crampton (Katherine McMichaels), Ted Sorel (Pretorious) and Ken Foree, who plays a policeman. Of course, I don't even need to tell you, this is 100% Pit required viewing... but you already knew that right?


Review by John Gray, for Pitofhorror.com

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