From Beyond (1986)

Director: Stuart Gordon

Continuing today’s Lovecraft theme. I mentioned the violence that tends to get done to Lovecraft’s stories in translating them to film, and this really is kind of a classic example… a story that’s only a few pages long and a movie that’s to run about 80 minutes, how to make the former into the latter? In this case, by (rather loosely) converting the story into the pre-credits sequence, then kind of extrapolating from there. Interested to learn that, though Stuart Gordon was hot property after Re-Animator and another Lovecraft film was a logical step, the one he wanted to make was Dagon, but Charles Band suggested this instead cos he couldn’t envisage the fish-people thing… Anyway, it reunites Gordon with various members of his stock company, though as he observes in the DVD interview, this time round Jeffrey Combs kind of swaps place with Barbara Crampton; she’s the “mad scientist” this time, determined to carry on the experiment Combs started but which ended rather badly for his associate, who’s become some sort of multi-dimensional entity intent on staying in this one. Of course, not only is the female protagonist not even in the original story, she’s fairly alien to Lovecraft’s fiction in general, as is this film’s sexual angle; Combs’ fellow scientist is revealed as having a certain fondness for S&M, although I think Hellraiser probably handles this sort of business better. On the whole From Beyond struck me as kind of an odd film, not quite as epic gross-out as Re-Animator was (though duly neutered at several points by the MPAA anyway; Gordon says it was like they were punishing him for daring to release that film unrated, which option I can only presume wasn’t available this time for some reason) and generally leaving me kind of uncertain as to how seriously it was intended, and it took me a while to really warm to it until it started getting just that little bit more excessive and ludicrous in the last half hour. Not bad at all, though maybe not quite as good as I was hoping.

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