From Beyond (1986) – Movie review

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From Beyond (1986)

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Produced by Brian Yuznamy top 10 1980s horror

Jeffrey Combs
Barbara Crampton
Ted Sorel
Ken Foree
Carolyn Purdy-Gordon

(***warning, explicit and graphic images and descriptions below)

Ever since Freddy Kruger uttered his first snarky line at his wincing victim, horror in the 1980’s was headed down a path to morbid humor. Few would take it as far as the Stuart Gordon directed, Brian Yuzna produced, re-imagining of the HP Lovecraft tale, From Beyond. This film is morbid black humor taken to the extremes of sadistic gore and horrific irony. While a majority of fans will pick Reanimator as their favorite Gordon/Yuzna collaboration, I like this one a little better, mostly because of the strange abstract creature that Dr. Pretorius becomes.from beyond 1986 poster

A machine invented by Dr. Pretorius and Dr. Crawford Tillinghast called The (Tillinghast) Resonator is believed to stimulate an unused gland within the human brain. The gland enables a person to see into a parallel dimension. The life forms in this parallel dimension have a penchant for human flesh and anyone who moves within the energy field of the machine is attacked.

Dr Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton), is the psychiatrist assigned to Crawford’s case. He has been in the mental institution since the death of Pretorius. When she brings Crawford to the lab to reconstruct the scene of the crime, they both discover that Pretorius is not dead, just transcended into the beyond. As Crawford and McMichaels become mesmerized under the machine’s influence, Pretorius returns to devour them both. A detective sent to guard them, played by Ken Foree, is eaten alive by the strange creatures. McMichaels acts out some repressed sexual desires, made evident by how her eyes linger on a video of Pretorius performing sadistic sex acts. Crawford’s pineal gland bursts out of the front of his forehead like an eel and demands for Crawford to find new sustenance. He attacks the head psychiatrist, sucks out her eyeball then devours her brain by sucking it out through her eye socket. Yeah, gross! But I can’t look away. I haven’t been this mesmerized by gore since a possessed woman stabbed a number two pencil into a woman’s Achilles tendon in Evil Dead! Crawford goes on to suck out more eyeballs and brains, I giant worm grows in the basement and McMichaels is turned-on by the vibrations of the resonator and goes full tilt S&M.

This gory grind-fest is not for the feint at heart, but if you like Evil Dead 2 and Dead Alive, I think you will like this film. It’s absurd violence, a bizarre journey into gory blood-lust entertainment.

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Fun Facts:

The Lovecraft story that this film is adapted from is only 7 pages long.

The house where the lab is located and the experiments take place has an odd address, 666 Benevolent St.

At the mental hospital, automatic doors use the door opening sound from the original Star Trek series.

Here’s some alternate posters and dvd/blu-ray art:

from beyond 1986 alternate artwork

My Top 10 Horror-Comedies of All Time

My Top 10 Horror-Comedies of All Time:

I think the best of this genre captures the scares and chills of a top notch horror film and the true comedic elements that can make us laugh out loud. It was not easy to whittle this list down to ten. I also took into consideration, solid storyline and plot.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)
What more can be said about this horror comedy classic? Early in the film the zombies are taking over but nobody seems to notice that their actions are any different from the rest of the populous. Throwing old records at the girl Zombie, taking a cell call at the most desperate of moments, pulling the shade down when you notice hundreds of zombies outside the window (that’ll help), and wanting to spend time at the pub until this whole apocalypse thing blows over; there is too much funny stuff in this film to mention. But it also has a terrific story and plot.


Black Sheep (2007)
There is something that I find hysterical about hundreds of sheep appearing over the hilltop, bah bahing away, then viciously attacking a bunch of dinner guests at an outdoor party. And, wait until you find out where these mutated sheep are coming from. This film is really crazy, funny, gory, and action packed. I’ll never look at a sheep the same way. No more counting sheep when I can‘t sleep… they bite.


Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
This is the only film that puts all three Universal top monsters in the same film, at the same time. Lon Chaney Jr. and Bella Lugosi reprise roles as The Wolfman and Dracula. Glenn Strange retains the classic look as the Frankenstein Monster and delivers a convincing role. This film has all the elements of the monster’s individual films plus the hyjinx and pratfalls of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Highlights include, the sliding candle, Frankenstein seeing Costello for the first time and getting frightened, a raging battle between Dracula and the Wolfman, and the “Untie the boat!” sequence.


Return of the Living Dead (1985)
The split dog and the medical cadaver zombie, the zombie talking into the cop-car radio, saying, “send back-ups!”, the kid whining about how much it hurts to die, and the frantic antics of James Karen, and Thom Mathews as Frank and Freddy, make this film one of my top horror-comedies. Plus, there are some great memorable Zombies: the chrome dome zombie and the half lady strapped to the table, for instance. And, don’t forget we have a punk’d out Linnea Quigley running around half naked thru the whole movie (or is it: running around totally naked, thru half the movie?). This film was hysterical when it came out and I still enjoy watching it to this day.

Fright Night (1985)
Teenager, Charley Brewster, thinks his next door neighbor is the undead but no one will believe him. He calls on Peter Vincent, a popular vampire killer in movies. Only to set the kid’s mind at ease, Vincent agrees to visit the Dandridge home but accidentally discovers, the guy is an actual vampire. Meanwhile, Charley’s bud, Ed, turns onto a wolf, his girlfreind sprouts fangs and has a mouth about two miles wide, and its up to him and Vincent to save the day. Dandridge turns into a giant bat at dawn, his cohort melts on the stairs, and Ed’s evil laugh stays with you long after the movie is over. Sure it’s a bit corny, but it’s a fun film and has some great old school FX.

Army of Darkness (1992)
While I would consider Evil Dead I & II horror movies with a few genius splashes of comedy (the eyeball in the mouth comes to mind), Army of Darkness was a full tilt horror-comedy. The 10-minute battle with the demon-witch in the pit, the choosing of the Necronimicon (stretch-face), and the evil Ashe battles are comedy gold. The three stooges-like, slap-stick antics with the mini Ashe creatures… I could not stop laughing!


Dead Alive (1992)
Just the idea of mother and the reverse birth, it’s so disgusting you have to laugh. But that’s not all folks, ‘cause this film’s got; the martial arts expert priest (heads and limbs flying off with each karate chop), a lawnmower strapped to our hero’s chest (Why you ask? To clear a path through the zombies, of course), Mom’s disgusting table manners (enjoy the soup), a gnarly looking rat, and the little fester baby… Everything in this film is taken to the extreme in comedy-gore. So gross, so funny.


Feast (2005)
Dismissed early-on by horror fans because it was part of Project GreenLight, (funded by Damon and Affleck) – If you never watched this film because of that or any other reason, you are missing one great horror-comedy. The film is funny, with plenty of hard hitting action, violence, original monsters and a strong R rating! Another lazy night in a Texas bar on the outskirts of Anytown, USA, turns into a war between humans and monsters as a horde of creatures move in from the desert looking for some eats (humans) and to procreate, (like the usual barfly’s).  Most of the bar goers are just mangled and eaten by these creatures and one woman is even raped by one. A distraught barmaid tries to protect her young son as the night spins out of control. Casting Henry Rollins as the level-headed, motivational speaker was classic! Did I mention tons of gore?

Ghostbusters (1984)
I’m usually not a big fan of the big blockbuster, big label movies – films have to have a bit of quirkiness for me to really like them. However, there is no denying that Ghostbusters got everything right and made a fantastic horror-comedy. Forget ‘Slimer‘, that is the fluff part of the film. There are some really excellent ghosts and entities to be found in Ghostbusters along with the hysterical antics of Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd. The Librarian ghost is classic – and we all remember the plan, “Get her!” We have Zuul, Gozer the Gozerian, the key master and the gatekeeper and the other world portal on the 80th floor of a NY skyscraper. Then, to top it off, something so ridiculous, whoever thought of it is nothing less than genius. That’s right; I’m talking about the giant Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man.


House (1986)
The excitement of Roger, played by William Katt, trying to capture a picture of the entities emanating from his closet after midnight is quite humorous. Then he tries to get his straight-laced neighbor, played by George Wendt, to witness it in a classic comedic scene. This flick comes with a solid back-story(s), multiple plot-lines, and some real funny and anxiety inducing moments. We also got, Aunt Elizabeth, the crawling hand, the angry Vietnam soldier and the tool-shed! Lotsa’ freaky Fun!


the master list of horror comedies
Also considered: Gremlins, The Lost Boys, Slither, BeetleJuice, Zombieland, Bride of Chucky, Hold That Ghost (Abbott and Costello), Little Shop of Horrors, Young Frankenstein, Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Frighteners, Cemetery Man, An American Werewolf in London, Mars Attacks, Scared Stiff (Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis), The Goonies, Arachnophobia, Teen Wolf, Critters, Vamp, Otis, The Monster Squad, Idle Hands, Toxic Avenger, Jack Brookes: Monster Slayer, My Name is Bruce, The Swamp Thing, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Dead and Breakfast, Santa’s Slay, The Gingerdead Man, Monsturd, The Evil Bong, Fido, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Little Nicky, Bedeviled, Scary Movie (1-4), Idle Hands, Leprechaun, Dr, Giggles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Society, The Burbs, Elvira – Mistress of the Dark, Basketcase, Eight Legged Freaks…

got any to add?