After the success of "Re-Animator" cemented the careers of those involved, the next follow up should have been easy. It was supposed to be "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"*, but Empire Pictures thought it was too weird. So, what was the follow up? It was "From Beyond", which turned out to be even weirder than that movie.
Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) has been sent to the nuthouse. Why? Because he was found covered in blood, next to the decapitated head of Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel.) However, the Doctor was up to no good because this is a horror movie, and doctors always meddle. In this case, it was a device that stimulates the pineal gland, which opens up a sixth sense and awakens a parallel universe. His doctor, Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton) wants to experience this device, and with the help of Tillinghast and cop Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree), she goes to the lair of Pretorious and decides to meddle. This leads to all kinds of beasts, the pineal gland of Tillinghast gets activated in the worst way, and the return of Pretorious, whose no longer human.
First things first: this is not as great as "Re-Animator." That's just fine though, as it doesn't have to be. Plus, it has all the black humor, great direction and writing and nastiness that you'd hope for on display. It's also well acted, with Combs playing a nice inverse of his Herbert West character, Crampton playing her descent into madness without overplaying things, and Sorel doing a great job under tons of latex. Then there's the score by Richard Band. Out of all the movie music he's done, this one's the best, managing to add eerie strings and ethereal synthesizers perfectly, and fitting the events of the film like a glove. It's one of the best horror scores of the 80's, and deserves all kinds of love.
So, what about what you want to know about? You know, the three B's (beasts, blood and boobs)? Well, it's all good. The practical creature and gore effects are awesome, from Pretorious' transformations and the various Lovecraftian beasts to brain eating and eyeball sucking, fans of gore and monsters will be in heaven. Oh, and Barbara Crampton does don a leather dominatrix getup, so for those hoping for t&a will be happy as well.
"From Beyond" is just awesome. It's got everything you love about 80's horror done right, with no filler and a whole lot of love behind it. If you say you love 80's horror and you haven't seen this, then come on, what the hell are you waiting for?
*"Shadow" did eventually get made-it came out a decade ago under the name "Dagon."