It is October, the month in which people put carved pumpkins on the front porch and wear costumes to celebrate Halloween. Movies play an important part as well, but instead of recommending popular movies like “Halloween” or “Hocus Pocus,” the Gore Guru is going to dive into lesser-known stuff worth checking out over the course of the month, starting with 1986’s “From Beyond.”
A psychologist and a police officer are sent to investigate claims by a scientist that he and his colleague created a device that allowed them to see into a dimension invisible to the naked eye. He is right, but the machine also overstimulates the mind and summons creatures from beyond.
Previously, director Stuart Gordon made “Re-Animator,” a cult classic about a mad scientist who uses a special chemical to bring people back from the dead. Both this and “From Beyond” are based on short stories by horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft.
“From Beyond” is a much different movie from “Re-Animator.” Whereas that film mixed black comedy with gross-out violence and horror, this movie is more straightforward and chooses to delve into the metaphysical side of science.
The device, known as the Resonator, acts as a gateway into a dimension where strange creatures roam. It is also worth mentioning that the device heightens specific areas of the brain, namely the pineal gland. The more the main characters interact with the Resonator, the more stimulated the pineal gland becomes, to the point that it makes them sexually charged, among other things.
Returning from “Re-Animator” are actors Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton. The actors play opposite roles. Although Combs once again plays a scientist, his character wants the Resonator destroyed, but Crampton’s character thinks the opposite and becomes obsessed with figuring out the possibilities of this device.
The performances are excellent, but special mention must be given to Ted Sorel as Dr. Pretorius, who becomes the center stage for the movie’s impressive special effects.
“From Beyond” comes from a time when effects artists did not use computers to create all the required effects, and the movie is a testament to the amazingness of practical effects. Some of the shots of the mutated Pretorius look a bit wonky, but otherwise, it is a sight to watch.
With an interesting premise, crazy monsters and stellar performances, “From Beyond” has all the elements necessary for a compelling horror picture. It is not as absurd or twisted as “Re-Animator,” but that is not to say the shocks have been completely abandoned.
It is a movie that gives the viewer a glimpse into a world the human mind cannot understand, one that tempts us into crossing over. As the villain Pretorius says, “Humans are such easy prey.”