Blue on Black: From Beyond (1986)

If I could hug Stuart Gordon, I would. I would hug him twice. First for Re-Animator (which I gushed about a few weeks ago), and second for From Beyond. Back in my video rental days, I remember picking this one up and enjoying it, but somehow it slipped through the (many) cracks of my memory. Well, the other night From Beyond made its way back into my life and I re-watched it on a whim while mindlessly playing some Simpsons Tapped Out on my iPad (Don’t judge me!) in bed, thinking I’d just throw it on for awhile before falling asleep. I ended up being totally sucked in, watching the entire thing, staying up way past my bedtime, and dragging my ass the entire next day at work. But it was so worth it.

Jeffrey Combs (our good pal from Re-Animator) plays Dr. Crawford Tillinghast, assistant to Dr. Edward Pretorius (played by Ted Sorel) who has created a machine called the Resonator, which when activated allows those nearby to perceive other dimensions. Crawford is horrified by what he sees once the Resonator is activated, but Edward is fascinated, as he has spent his life searching for the ultimate sensory experience and this is by far the closest he has come. Crawford attempts to fight off the extra dimensional creatures that have appeared, with no help from the mesmerized Edward, and ends up fleeing the lab with an axe in his hands. Unfortunately, Edward is later discovered headless and the act is understandably pinned on Crawford. To the psych ward he goes!

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Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton) is treating Crawford and notices on a brain scan that his pineal gland (known as the “third eye”)  has grown, and as a result starts to believe his account of what happened the night Edward was decapitated. Detective Bubba Brownless (Ken Foree) accompanies Katherine and Crawford to the laboratory/crime scene to give Crawford the chance to prove the existence of the Resonator, the higher dimensional creatures and most importantly his innocence.

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From this point on, the film is filled with existential dilemmas, delightfully cheesy 80’s special effects galore, sex (*gasp*), and the exact right amount of blood, guts and gore you’d expect from a Gordon/Lovecraft flick. Edward Pretorius (spoiler alert) isn’t as dead as anticipated and he makes one hell of a comeback once the Resonator is reactivated. And Crawford, Katherine, and Bubba suffer some unexpected side effects of their own.

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If you’re a fan of Re-Animator (Who isn’t?!), go play some Simpsons Tapped Out and watch From Beyond. Just don’t expect to be able to turn it off before it’s over.

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