H.P. Lovecraft’s classic tale of suspense became ’a grisly amalgam of sex, shock and satire’ (Newsweek) in the hands of the creators of Re-Animator. And now, armed with shocking never-before-seen footage and special features and on Bluray for the first time, this ’ bloody good entertainment’ (Time) has evolved into one of the most gruesomely riveting film experiences of all time!
The Resonator, a powerful machine that can control the sixth sense, has killed its creator and sent his associate into an insane asylum. But when a beautiful psychiatrist becomes determined to continue the experiment, she unwittingly opens the door to a hostile parallel universe... and to the deviant behavior within the human psyche. With its victims becoming creatures who feed on (and become aroused by) human brains, the Resonator is the ultimate man-made monster. And now something’s gone horribly wrong and no one can turn it off!
Director Stuart Gordon followed his gleefully gruesome Re-Animator
with From Beyond
(1986), another freewheeling H.P. Lovecraft adaptation that blends classic mad scientist tropes with a hearty dose of polymorphous perversity and gallons and gallons of gore and goo. Gordon's stalwart leading man Jeffrey Combs returns to the laboratory as a research scientist working with the grandiose Dr. Pretorius (Ted Sorel) on a device that stimulates the pineal gland in order to supercharge perception. Unbeknownst to them, the machine has a few (quite literal) kinks in its design: not only does it bring the user into contact with extra-dimensional creatures with an appetite for humanity, but it also supercharges both evolution and desire, transforming Pretorius into a gelatinous, megalomaniacal libido monster while reducing Combs to a psychopath with a taste for brain matter. While From Beyond
does not command the same cult following as Re-Animator
--it lacks that film's coal-black humor, which tempers its explosions of morbid autopsy-room splat-shtick--it's also an outrageous experience unto itself. It more than matches its predecessor in terms of bloodshed while also conjuring a heady brew of Frankenstein references (Pretorius name-checks Ernest Thesiger's sexually ambiguous medico in Bride of Frankenstein
), Cronenbergian body horror, and a quivering mass of Freudian peccadilloes, all filtered through Gordon's own avant-garde theater sensibilities and '80s-era grindhouse aesthetics. It also benefits from a remarkably game cast, led by the unfettered twin forces of Combs and Sorel and abetted by fellow Re-Animator
alum Barbara Crampton, who kicks out the jams as a strait-laced psychiatrist who discovers her libertine side through their invention, and Ken Foree (the '78 Dawn of the Dead
) as a brawny detective whose pro-football past proves no match for the picture's array of monsters.
Scream Factory's Blu-ray presentation offers the director's cut of From Beyond along with a host of new and previously released supplemental features. Lively commentary by Gordon, Combs, Crampton, and producer Brian Yuzna has been ported over from the 2007 MGM DVD release, as have interviews with Gordon and composer Richard Band, while the new material includes a second commentary track with cowriter Dennis Paoli, who reads selections from the Lovecraft source material, as well as interviews with a very funny Combs, Crampton, and producer Charles Band. A featurette on the four special effects companies that labored on the film, as well as a gallery of production stills and advertising material and the original trailer, round out this typically top-notch Blu-ray from Scream Factory. --Paul Gaita