The success of the text-to-screen versions of H.P. Lovecraft’s work could not be more diverse. Some are great (The Re-animator, Dreams in a Which House), some are a bit dodgy (Necronomicon) and some are just plain shit. ‘From Beyond’ definitely sits in the ‘great’ section of that particular scale.
The story is a simple one, in that a machine ‘the resonator’ encourages the growth of a certain gland in our brain enabling ordinary human beings to see with a sixth sense. This sixth sense allows us to see creatures all around us, most of which are malevolent. Thankfully the effects of the Resonator are localised, but it doesn’t stop a mad scientist getting himself decapitated by one of the monsters and when his partner is found raving about it, a cop and physiatrist are sent in to investigate validity of the surviving scientist’s story.
The plot is simplistic, but this is its strength. Without the need for lengthy exposition, we simply need to accept that the machine does what it does. The mind of Lovecraft converts shockingly well to 80’s special effects, incidentally all of which are rendered in 1080p resolution thanks to Second Sight. The characters are typically cliché, the male scientist is overtly reluctant to go back, and his paranoia comes across more like a bad case of the over acting, than anything more serious – still Comb’s is a legend in his own right. The female scientist is a real ‘she’s not, then she’s hot’ – oh and then she’s into bondage! Nice. Then there’s the evil scientist who is a right smug bastard, and of course then there is the cop, the mediator, who simply adds in the human rationale to those moments when you simply think ‘at what point where luminous slugs floating around eating peoples heads do people stop thinking how amazing the machine is, and begin to panic!’
All in all its great fun!
In addition to the dizzying plot line, and what most people no doubt fondly remember, is the typical over the top gooey gore and really amusing creature effects. It has that proper 80s feel to it. The monsters look really cool in their own way, and despite the fact that they are clearly just big puppets they do make you smile with out clearly taking the piss. The gore too is as equally appealing. The gore effects are hardly brutal but they are quite ‘gross-out’ and there are tonnes of over the top sick and gore type mutilations including plenty of slime. Again, in 1080p the effects look more colourful and gruesome than ever.
Overall, it’s hard to state specifically why this movie such a memorable release, and to see it finally get a truly fan-faithful release is something to be happy about in itself. It’s story is a little out there, but I think it’s the fact that not only does it satisfy the usual 80s necessity, it also has the corny sexual element to it, which at best is cringe worthy, but ultimately humorous; all of this plus the gore and slime and general disgustingness of many of the scenes and its job done. Its gross, its dodgy and its typically 80s. It’s got a cult following already and I’ve got to say it won me over too!