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Beyond the Pale
on 8 October 2017
Back in the mid to late '80s, this was kind of a big deal. Following on from their triumphant debut 'Re-Animator', creative team Stuart Gordon (director), Brian Yuzna (producer) and screenwriter Dennis Paoli unleashed this rather 'gooey' splatter filled monster epic that promised to outdo the craziness of their previous picture... which it almost does. But lets face it - nothing can truly overthrow the good Dr West and his unique brand of lunacy. Even though they do give it a helluva good try...
We first meet obsessive and slightly unhinged scientist Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) who between kinking it up with a bevvy of local ladies, has plunged his crazy brain into the discovery of a parallel universe where pleasure and pain rule. Alongside his meek assistant Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) they both attempt to trip the light fantastic, but when Pretorius is murdered by a creature 'from beyond', Crawford is subsequently accused of his murder... When the local authorities disbelieve his cracked up tale of interdimensional beasties, they turn to psychiatrist Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton) and detective Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree) for help. Returning to the scene of the crime, they soon discover the secrets of that parallel universe when it is opened up once again allowing all manner of monsters to cross over and torment our trio, with a returning Pretorius intent on taking control of both that dimension... and ours.
Although not as good as 'Re-Animator' there is much to enjoy in this lurid follow up. Director Stuart Gordon has a real keen eye for the macabre laced with dark humor and 'From Beyond' is riddled with it. Lead Combs plays everything extremely straight and at times is genuinely deadpan funny (his 'It ate him... bit off his head... like a gingerbread man!' is a major comedy highlight), thankfully he's ably supported by both Crampton and Sorel who eat up the silly screenplay ensuring the absurdity is delivered with real relish. This H.P. Lovecraft adaptation may not be faithful, but it sure delivers the late '80s gory goods; from a whole heap of ghoulish monsters to the old bout of head ripping - this one's got it all.
This Blu-Ray release from Second Sight is a delight featuring both a brilliant transfer and vibrant audio, rounded off by a plethora of excellent special features: Stuart Gordon talks the movie, an interview with writer Dennis Paoli and Barbara Crampton, the FX of From Beyond, audio commentary with Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna and Jeffrey Combs and a storyboard to film comparison. All in all, its a slight step back from 'Re-Animator' in terms of Gordon's filmography but taken as a separate entity, it delivers a wonderfully gonzo good time. Highly recommended purchase.