Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Renowned For Sound

For the latest music reviews and interviews

October Challenge – From Beyond

2 min read

Oddly enough, it’s not hard to see From Beyond’s less than stellar critical reception having something to do with Re-Animator’s critical success. After all, both films share a number of significant elements – both share Stuart Gordon as a director, Jeffrey Combs as a star, and H.P. Lovecraft as the  creative starting point – and From Beyond is often seen as a Re-Animator knock off, a lazy effort designed to capitalise on Re-Animator’s success.

It’s true: From Beyond is not as good as Re-Animator (few horror films are, in fact.) But that doesn’t make From Beyond a bad film, or even a less than impressive one. As it stands, From Beyond is a misunderstood gem: a film that mixes Lovecraft, hard science, the Prometheus myth and beautifully garish 80’s excess. It is a cocktail of extremes, a movie that does nothing by halves but is all the better for it, and through its excess reaches baroque heights of greatness.

From Beyond Insert

Gordon’s work as a director is as good as it has ever been. At times, his work is startlingly restrained – his directorial hand is calmer here than in Re-Animator – but at other times he ramps up the proceedings to eleven, and floods the screen with colour and light. He also shows off his admirable skills when it comes to pacing. From Beyond starts slow, but never too slow, and the way it ramps up incrementally to its insane final act is something to behold.

Nonetheless, the real star of the show is the one and only Barbara Crampton. It helps that Dr. Katherine McMichaels is so well written; she never takes a back seat when the going gets rough, and she is the one who propels the plot forward, rather than the inert men around her. But Crampton does fine work ensuring that the character is both cartoonish and complex, melodramatic and measured. It’s fine work indeed.

From Beyond is another one of those films crying out for critical reinterpretation. Its striking finale brands itself upon the eye, and proves to be one of those climaxes that reveals itself to be more powerful than one may initially think. It stays with you like a curse.