One time in junior high, we put together two cans connected with a string to show that we could communicate over long distances. We didn’t get a good grade on it, since that’s probably something more suited for a 2nd grade class to do, but we were in a pinch, and what can we say… we were pretty stupid back then (you might say not much has changed). We always thought it would be pretty cool to communicate with another dimension, but there’s no way that we would could have done it with just some shitty string and a couple of tin cans. What we needed was a dimensional resonator! At least that’s what they had in 1986’s From Beyond. Stuart Gordon directs the film, an adaptation of a short story by H.P. Lovecraft.
Jeffrey Combs plays Crawford Tillinghast, a physicist and assistant to a brilliant doctor who builds a dimensional resonator to communicate with other dimensions. Ted Sorel is that brilliant doctor, Dr. Edward Pretorius – and also a S&M freak. Pretorius becomes obsessed with the feeling the resonator gives him, as it’s stimulating the growth of his pineal gland (otherwise known as a theoretical “third eye” or “sixth sense”) which is giving him immense pleasure.
During one of these sessions, a being from the other dimension kills the doctor by twisting his head off. The only witness is Tillinghast, who is promptly taken into police custody and charged with the doctor’s murder. He’s promptly admitted to a nuthouse based on the fact that he’s spouting off something about seeing flying worms and… oh, I dunno, about some figure from another dimension twisting off his partner’s head, perhaps?
A psychiatrist believes that Tillinghast may be telling the truth, and after seeing through a CAT scan that his pineal gland is highly developed, wants to try to recreate the experiment that lead to Dr. Pretorius’s untimely demise. Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton – a Chopping Mall alumn) and Detective Buford ‘Bubba’ Brownlee (played by Dawn of the Dead’s Ken Foree) accompany Tillinghast to the Pretorius estate to get to work, and they all are horrified to see that the being that killed Dr. Pretorius has taken over his identity while evolving into something entirely different.
Raz: When you use anything written by H. P. Lovecraft you know you are going to have something weird and creepy. When Crawford starts up the resonator and gets bit by a dimensional worm it pretty much goes down hill from there as far as weird creepy monsters. You got to love that Dr. Pretorius gets his head eaten, and it is twisted off before it is devoured.
Sean: Jeffrey Combs puts on one hell of a performance as the sheepish and overly creepy Crawford Tillinghast. He later develops what I like to call a “brain penis” and his performance goes just over the top enough. Between that and a craving for sucking brains out through a few people’s eye sockets, he becomes a character that is hard not to like.
Raz: Not only is this movie weird due to the creepy dimensional monsters and such, it is weird because of Dr. Katherine’s S&M penis stroking, finger licking goodness. You also got to love Bubba Brownlee tromping around in his bikini briefs showing off his package in wet and dry conditions. Poor Bubba gets eaten by bees trying to save his friends, and he is reduced to a gooey pile of bones, organs, and a head.
Sean: This film is full of great 80’s slimy, greasy gore. You know the shit, where it looks like everything is covered in ectoplasm from Ghostbusters. The brain penii (penises?) look like they’re coming out of some repulsive puckering assholes (hey, they do, sorry!) I find it hard to believe that it won awards for the special effects and was nominated for the make up, but back in the day I guess this was pretty good. With all the digital effects nowadays I think that we take a lot of 80’s effects for granted. While in ’86 these didn’t look all that believable, they’re a lot more disturbing. There are is also a pretty good boob shot, if that’s something that tickles your fancy.
Raz: Although the effects are not the greatest compared to the current standards, they were fairly decent. If you like H. P. Lovecraft stories, or 80s gore you will like this movie.
Check below the break for some pictures and a clip of FROM BEYOND!