From Beyond

Viewed – 25 July 2008  DVD

As a long time fan of the horror genre, it shouldn’t be argued that the 80s were the golden era.  With the likes of The Thing, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Evil Dead 2 etc putting a big grin on my face, even though I must have been way too young.  I look back on such a time with huge nostalgia.  Thankfully in the advent of DVD, we now get to watch such treats in the best quality possible.

Stuart Gordon’s 1986 kind-of follow up to his fan-favourite Re-Animator has almost the same cast (with a returning Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton) and with Brian Yuzna involved again as producer.  This time instead of a mad scientist who can bring the dead back to life, we have Combs as a mad-scientist’s assistant who becomes embroiled in an experiment to open a dimension that brings with it creatures ‘from beyond’.  After a major disaster, a young female doctor (Crampton) befriends Combs and along with a tough black cop (genre regular Ken Foree), they decide to investigate what happened on that fateful night that seems to have left Combs half-crazy and accused of murder.  Soon we’re seeing creatures from god-knows-where messing with the three protagonists, freaky hallucinations and lots of messy make-up effects.  The device the mad-scientist created you see, is meant to stimulate the pineal gland, giving the persons involved a sixth sense and a killer head ache to boot.  It also stimulates them sexually, making this one of the weirdest semi-erotic movies out there.  This is further illustrated when formerly stiff-collard Crampton turns sado-masochistic vixen for one particular scene, and this reviewer’s misspent teenage yearnings came flooding back in a heart beat (ahem).  The film’s only real failing is the simplicity of it’s story and a brief running time – and yes, it’s not sophisticated or intelligent – but it is FUN.

The DVD I picked up houses a hilarious commentary track from the cast and director (clearly the DVDs selling point, for me at least), and we also get lots of behind the scenes footage, story boards, a gallery and interviews.  The film itself is in superb condition, boasting possibly the best picture it has ever had, with more than acceptable stereo sound also.  Overall, a worthy addition to anyone’s DVD collection.

Verdict:  3 /5

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