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

Almost Human (2014) – Movie review

(not to get confused with Almost Human, the TV show)
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Almost Human (2014)

Directed by Joe Begos

Aliens are the new zombies! Actually, it hasn’t happened yet but I feel it coming. There’s a vast untapped resource for horror films in the alien encounter sector. We got a slight taste of it with VHS 2 and Alien Abduction but neither film sent this alien bubble into warp-drive. All we need is a real good alien encounter film with some original expansive ideas to lead the way. Unfortunately, Almost Human is not the one. I think the key to getting something worth buzzing about, is for the filmmakers to drop the ‘based on a true story’ angle. Trying to stick close to reality always holds the film back.Almost-Human-2013 - poster

The run-down: Mark is sucked up by a blue light in a rural area of Maine. The girlfriend goes on with her life and the close friend obsesses over it, often waking with nosebleeds (never explained). Mark shows up two years later, naked in the woods, and goes on a killing spree. He injects people with alien egg-sacs.

So your thinking, it starts off just like Fire in the Sky, but that’s not the problem. The problem is… it copy & pastes scenes and ideas from dozens of Horror films: the alien ‘scream’ from Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1978), the ‘hide in the closet’ scene from Halloween, the ‘bloody worm crawling into someone’s mouth’ scene from Slither, the ‘cops kill the lone survivor ending’ from NotLD, plus parts from Pulp Fiction, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Friday the 13th. Perhaps they were just an homage, but if that were the case, they should have made it more obvious.

There’s an interesting scene where Mark attempts to impregnate his ex-girlfriend by implanting the egg in her you-know-what with his snorkel-face. For everyone else it was oral, why with her is it different? (women like oral too, so I’ve heard) But I watched, ’twas a nice shot of her shaved wahoo. The effects were quite good for a ‘dice and slice’ slasher film, which this was and wasn’t, and it was fun to watch these gags. But, the worst part of the film was, none of these characters were at all interesting. They were boring. Characters without character, no personality. If you watch it just for the gore effects, bloody kills and body count – it’s an ok, casual viewing. Almost Human is almost good.

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Nothing new in this alien encounter turned psycho slasher flick, but decent enough for gore-filled popcorn entertainment.

I give it 2.5 crusty cocoons out of 5 on the alien encounter egg infestation scale.