From Beyond is director Stuart Gordon’s second film after his enormous success with Re-Animator (due out later this year from Second Sight also) and follows the exploits of Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) who is aiding Dr Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) with his experiments into stimulating the pineal gland, which they believe to be the seat of a dormant sixth sense.
But after finally getting the machine to work, they are able to see things the human eye cannot and it also unlocks a deadly force which takes over Pretorius and causes his death. Sent to a mental institution Tillinghast is put reluctantly into the care of psychiatrist Dr Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton), who hopes to recreate the experiments in order to prove her theory that understanding the pineal gland is the key to curing schizophrenia. But on returning to the house where the experiment was made they find and see things that they cannot control and have to fight to save themselves from an evil lurking from the other side.
Again inspired by an H.P. Lovecraft short story, From Beyond is a lot of gory and sexy fun, not as tongue in cheek as Re-Animator and therefore not quite as successful. Combes is his usual madcap self, Crampton is great as the doctor who unleashes her hidden sexual side and Ken Foree is also on hand as the policeman sent with them to keep an eye on the experiments. Blood is mostly replaced with slime to help get a rating, but that did not help when the film was submitted to the MPAA for a rating as the ratings board rejected the film time after time, insisting on numerous cuts to various scenes of sex and violence.
By the time Gordon had the R rating he needed, From Beyond was several minutes shorter than its original cut. Sadly the offending censored bits of footage was thought lost when the original distributor closed in the early 1990s. It was the chance discovery of some reels of film in MGM’s archives more than a decade later that made a definitive, director’s cut of the movie possible and that is what we are presented with here, in all its gory glory. Director Stuart Gordon says in one of the interviews on this disc that he was influenced by John Carpenter’s The Thing and watching the effects in this film you can see the similarities.
Second Sight are one of the best UK distributors of cult films at the moment and they have put out a great disc of From Beyond with not only a remastered uncut HD print but bags of extras as well. The 1080p transfer is fabulous, the colours are bold and bright black levels are steady, overall a very good looking disc. You have a choice of Audio an LPCM stereo track and a DTS 4.0 surround track which gives a very enjoyable surround experience without messing with the original sound design too much.
Extras are plentiful and starts with an audio commentary with Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna and Jeffrey Combs, Interviews with writer Dennis Paoli and actress Barbara Crampton, The Editing Room – Lost and Found looks at the censored footage and how it was found and put back in, Monsters & Slime – The FX, An interview with the composer, Stuart Gordon on From Beyond and finally Photo Montage / Storyboard to film comparison .
While not as good as Re-Animator, From Beyond has a lot going for it, and its great to finally see the full uncut version in HD.
FILM: 7 OUT OF 10
PICTURE: 8 OUT OF 10
SOUND: 7 OUT OF 10
EXTRAS: 8 OUT OF 10