Friday, March 16, 2012
What's pink and purple, Lovecraftian, covered in gore and slime, and still sexy? Give up? It's Stuart Gordon's science fiction/horror extravaganza, From Beyond.
Based on the titular H.P. Lovecraft story, a gateway between another world and the human mind has just been opened by two fringe scientists with a device of their own mad creation called the sonic resonator. This new dimension of consciousness grants passage to ghoulishly amorphous creatures who want to rend human flesh and minds, by inhibiting the pineal gland. Once they've tapped into the pineal glands, these beings from beyond gain total control over their human host bodies, sending them on a rampage of sex and violence crazed euphoria. It becomes a race against time to close the portal between the two worlds and to put and end to the scientists newly acquired addiction to carnal savagery. Which belies the real question, do they really want it to stop?
From Beyond is another jewel in the cult movie crown of Stuart Gordon who was hot on the heels of success from his 1985 zombie opus Re-Animator made for the soon-to-be infamous Empire Pictures. With a small cast of only four main characters, consisting primarily of staunch horror icons like Jeffrey Combs, Ken Foree, and Barbara Crampton, From Beyond isn't a body count bloodbath like most of the popular slasher flicks of the 80's. However, it is a monster movie driven by Lovecraftian proportions, the excesses of the 80's, as well as the needs of aging monster kids who sole purpose in life is to see mass quantities of blood, boobs, and beasts. In fact, their are technically more creatures, transmutations, and inter-dimensional creatures than there are actual cast members in From Beyond's brisk 86 minute runtime. That is not to say that due to the small cast that the carnage and bodily harm within is restrained on any level. Instead of pandering to teen audiences by showing how fast they can dispatch of a co-ed or jock stereotype, Stuart Gordon and writer Bryan Yuzna opt for extensive shots of extreme slime covered alien forms devouring, and melding with their human prey in surreal transfigurations of twisted flesh. Think Rob Botin's creature effects in The Thing, but on a B-horror budget and you've got a pretty good idea of what's to come. Also, as mentioned in the opening riddle, the lighting choices in From Beyond are unlike anything The KVLT has ever witnessed in a horror film before or since. Lurid pinks and electric purples wash over visceral scenes of the sonic resonator's corrupted and reconstituted abominations wreaking havoc upon naked human flesh seem as if they were illuminated by Prince's stage lighting crew, yet somehow strangely, it works. Then Richard Band, brother of infamous producer Charles Band, composes a score that expertly delivers orchestrated wave after wave of dissonant strings and thundering timpani rolls that roll, reel, and wrench the tension.
When it's all said and done, almost 30 years later, From Beyond still delivers. Whether you are curious to behold Lovecraft's creations come to life, scream queen Barbara Crampton violated by otherworldy creatures, or you just love a good, effects heavy monster movie, From Beyond does not disappoint. The only drawback The KVLT could see, is that it isn't the most faithful film adaption of H.P. Lovecraft's work. But then again, making a movie about the dark, vague, and creeping things that Lovecraft himself, in an act of artistic license, chose to not clearly define, seems to lie in the double edged sword realm of filmmaking. As far as The KVLT is concerned, the more Lovecraft in the world, in any form of media is a good thing. So do what you must to find, stream, conjure, or sonically resonate a copy of From Beyond and let those pink and purple inter-dimensional abominations of contorted slime covered flesh into your heart and hopefully into your pineal gland.
Fun Facts About From Beyond:
Aside from their horror and cult film catalogs, Stuart Gordon and Bryan Yuzna also wrote the big budget Disney film Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.
The address to the house where the scientists, the sonic resonator, and it's nightmarish creatures reside is visible in one scene as 666.
Actor Ken Foree references his character from George A. Romero's zombie classic Dawn Of The Dead by repeating the line "I used to play pro football."
From Beyond can be classified a "body horror" film like David Cronenberg's Videodrome, The Fly, Shivers, and Rabid, as well as Shinya Tskukamoto's Tetsuo films.
When Stuart Gordon submitted his film to the MPAA they responded by saying that it wouldn't even get a hard R rating because it had, "ten times too much of everything."
LOVECRAFT MONSTERONI AND SLEAZE