PLOT: In an attempt to stimulate the pineal gland, a couple of scientists develop a device called The Resonator, allowing anyone within its range to see the world of the beyond. Once they turn the machine on, they're given the ability to see creatures from another dimension that want nothing more than to drag them into their world.
REVIEW: I'm not entirely sure that I can even write a coherent review for Stuart Gordon's 1986 body-horror classic FROM BEYOND. It's such an unnerving piece of work that only gets more absurd with each passing second. Just when you think you've seen it all, the film delivers a giant slug-monster living in the basement that devours a man's entire body. And that only scratches the surface.
I didn't discover FROM BEYOND until my adult life, and thank god for that because had I seen this shit when I was an impressionable child I don't think sleeping would be a regular thing for me. The genius of Gordon's follow-up to RE-ANIMATOR is that it never lets you settle in and get comfortable. Hell, the opening scene sets the entire pace for what the following 80 minutes have in store as we see Jeffrey Combs' Crawford turn on The Resonator, discovering another dimension that is home to gnarly creatures that were never meant to be seen. After turning that shit off, smartly, Crawford gets his partner, Dr. Edward Pretorius, who quickly jizzes in his robe when he sees that it works. Too bad your head is about to get eaten off like a gingerbread man. Which it does, promptly. And that's the start of FROM BEYOND, a wicked example of brilliant practical effects and creatures that your nightmares couldn't even conjure up.
After the other dimensional shit hits the fan and Bunny the dog finishes eating what's left of Edward's head, Crawford ends up in a mental institution because no one in their right mind would believe a guy that says a monster from another world turned his partner into a corpse with no head. Okay, I take that back. There is one person who would believe that shit and it's Dr. Katherine McMichaels, played by the wonderful Barbara Crampton, who lets this crazy bastard back into the real world to the very place this all went down. The Resonator. She's not entirely off her rocker, however, as she brings with her some backup, just in case. That's where we meet Mr. Bubba Brownlee, who we quickly find out is a pro at eating apples. Chomp! And the rest is history.
What happens next is an example of a filmmaker swinging for those proverbial fences as he brings to life an insane narrative that summons vile monsters, dishes out a hefty dose of the red stuff, and most of all, creates a legitimately unsettling atmosphere that lingers around in your brain well after the film comes to an end. And somehow, Gordon accomplishes all of that in under 90 minutes. That's something.
The fact that FROM BEYOND plays it straight-facedówith such a ridiculous setup and over-the-top practical effectsójust adds to the genius of the film; especially considering the fact that a lot of what we saw coming out of the 80s leaned on their comedy to make them work, and most of those weren't even half as bugshit weird as this. I don't know how it worked, it just did. It's the kind of film that you recommend to a friend (one that doesn't really watch horror) just to see them squirm. And squirm they will.
BEST TNA SCENE:†We see Barbara Crampton's boobs when Edward rips her clothes off in an attempt to eat her mind. It's a pretty wicked moment in the flick, that's for sure.
BEST GORE BIT:†Picking a favorite gore scene in FROM BEYOND is next to impossible. Around every corner is something even more insane than the next, but if I absolutely had to pick just one.... I'd have to go with the moment where Bubba is devoured by bee-like creatures, leaving nothing but a pile of gooey flesh and bone behind.
HALLOWEEN DRINKING GAME:†Take a drink every time Edward changes into a different looking creature and when someone turns The Resonator on.