OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets


From Beyond (1986)

The Resonator, a powerful machine that can control the sixth sense, has killed its creator and sent his associate into an insane asylum. But when a beautiful psychiatrist becomes determined to continue the experiment, she unwittingly opens the door to a hostile parallel universe... and to the deviant behaviour within the human psyche. With its victims becoming creatures who feed on - and become aroused by - human brains, the Resonator is the ultimate man-made monster. And now something's gone horribly wrong and no one can turn it off!

...or at least that's what my Unrated Director's Cut DVD of From Beyond says. I have to disagree a little bit on the details, but more on that in due course.

First of all, chant with me: Jeffrey Combs! Jeffrey Combs! Jeffrey Combs! Jeffrey Combs! ...etc. etc. pp. ad nauseam. Also... produced by Stuart Gordon, directed by Brian Yuzna... I trust this movie. Call me naive, but I inherently tend to trust anything the two guys come up with. Especially if it features Jeffrey Combs. Or Ezra Godden.

Now, the premise of the movie pretty much is summed up in what my DVD cover said resp. says. The film starts out with Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) activating the Resonator built by Prof. Edward Pretorious (who resides in the building of the Pretorious Foundation, Benevolent St. 666)... and, together with pink light, a nasty, fishy thing appears and bites him into the face before he turns the machine off again, thereby causing the thingy to disappear again.

Meet the Resonator:

A machine designed to awaken the pineal gland to its full potential, thereby awakening a sixth sense - a third eye of sorts, with which one can see into the regions beyond that what is visible to our mere human, mortal sight. Intriguing concept. I vaguely remember that the Principia Discordia recommends contacting Eris through the pineal gland. I doubt that Omar Ravenhurst and Lord Malacalypse the Younger had From Beyond in mind when they wrote those world-changing words, though.
Back to the movie: Of course the experiment worked, and the Resonator opened up a gate of sorts (I am refraining from starting to chant 'Yog Sothoth' over and over now...). Or rather, tore down the barriers between our so-called "real" world and... the beyond.

As a result, IT comes through and devours Prof. Edward Pretorious ("It ...ate him... bit off his head... like a gingerbread man!!"), conveniently by twisting off his head (we get treated to a really nice shot of that later on in the movie).

Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton), quite a pretty psychiatrist (I like her better in her business-like clothes, but I just throw that in now - later, this is open for discussion and a peer review), takes an interest in Tillinghast's case (who, in the meantime, has landed in Miskatonic Mental Hospital... I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't Arkham Asylum, but then again, I can't have everything I want), as no one knows why Pretorious' body is missing a head and... well, because. I am not entirely sure myself.

Intrigued in Tillinghast's story of what happened at Benevolent St. 666, she orders a CAT scan of his brain. To her surprise (and the chagrin of Dr. Bloch, his treating psychologist), the scan reveals that his pineal gland is of abnormal size (bigger than usual, you morons, not smaller) and actually expanding into his brain, extending to the optic thalami. In simple-speak: It appears to be growing.

We all know what this means: Dr. McMichaels thinks that the experiment actually worked and wants to recreate the experiment. Of course, she needs Tillinghast for this, as he is the only one who knows how to operate the Resonator, now that Prof. Pretorious ...died. The police allows her to do so, as they are more interested in solving the case of the dead man with the twisted-off head than in, you know, preserving mankind and protecting it from evil forces from beyond (hah! See what I did there?!). The usual stuff.

Tillinghast, of course, isn't exactly thrilled, but given the choice of spending the rest of his life in the asylum or doing the experiment one more time, he decides to do the lesser of two evils. Or so he thinks...

Arriving at the Pretorious Foundation, I want to add that I really like the scene in which Combs slowly and carefully, full of hesitation, enters the building, with the number 666 (*starts to sing* ...the number of the Beast... *cough* Sorry, won't happen again. Promised.) slowly appearing. He is literally entering his own hell. Maybe I'm interpreting too much into it, but I liked it.

On their tour through the old mansion, they also find Pretorious' pleasure room.

Me like.

So... of course, they get the Resonator running, and stuff happens. Like... critters appearing. For example: A small critter (he just bit Ken Foree!).

We also get to meet Dr. Pretorious again (with a dialogue that is deeply engrained into my psyche due to a track on one of the This Is Horrorpunk compilations... Gods be damned if I can remember which one it is...). He has changed a little bit, but hey, looks are just that: Looks. Judging someone by his tentacles and deformations is just shallow.

Also, remember: Some people change more than others. And more often than others at that.

Of course, Tillinghast and Bubba (Ken Foree, the awesome and hungry police guy) aren't really for continuing with all that stuff - they proved that Tillinghast isn't a schizophrenic crazy, and thus, there is no need to continue with the experiments. However...dear Katherine is already hooked. She wants to continue and do more experiments.

At this point, I need to point out a, you guessed it, plothole: Tillinghast knows that moving whilst the Resonator is on makes the creatures see you when you're in the vibrating field. He tells the others to hold perfectly still. Of course they don't... but he doesn't either. A little bit stupid, if you ask me. Whilst it may not be a definite plothole, it's definitely something to wonder about.

Back to the plot. Our pretty psychiatrist wants to experiment further - because she wants to cure schizophrenia, as it seems to her that an enlarged pineal gland might have something to do with schizophrenia.

Anyone else seeing some sexual tension here, or is it just me?

We also get treated to the heartbreaking story of her dad, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was turned into a vegetable, so she soooooo wants to try the Resonator again. Not because she's hooked on it and turned on by whatever her pineal gland under the influence of the Radiator's vibrations is telling her.

Of course, everything goes horribly wrong.

It's not actually tentacle rape or anything of that sort, but damn, it's still awesome. Sleeping gown-clad young pretty psychiatrists who get touched in a naughty way by semi-melted, metra-dimensional passed on insane scientists. Cool.

And then she's getting hooked on the Resonator's effects even more... which, now, shows us one of its other cool effects: Causing sexual depravity. As according to Magnus Hirschfeld and most of "normal" mankind (be glad I haven't read my new Foucault book yet, otherwise I'd probably start a philosophical rant on that topic...).

I can't really decide whether she wants to be tied to that, or tie someone up.

Sexual depravity, in this movie, comes in the form of looking at beams intended to spreadeagle someone and... dressing up.

...in an outfit I can't decide whether to classify as slutty in the submissive way or slutty in the dominant way. After all, she's wearing a collar.

Also, please agree with me that she looks better when in her business outfit and her hair up. This way, she just looks slightly chubby.

Then again, the Resonator - or rather, her enlarged pineal gland - made her into a sexual deviant, so she goes for the next pretty male she can find. In this case, it's Crawford Tillinghast.

In case you were wondering - he is bald and has minor burns because he nearly got swallowed by a creature from beyond. Obviously, that and his nearly comatose state make him an ideal target for her newly acquired somatophilia.

At which point I want to mention that somatophilia is classically defined (again I refer to Magnus Hirschfeld) as a less sadistic and less "sick" fetish than necrophilia, to which it is closely related (if we consider necrophilia in the classical sense, not in the way that Erich Fromm defined it) - and although I approve of necrophilia, I do not approve of somatophilia practiced on males.

A sombre moment of silence here. Nice gore, though. I knew I could trust this movie!

Humans are such easy prey...

I won't give away how this movie continues. That would rob those of you who haven't seen it of an intense joy that brought me happyful (there it is again, the word I am trying to bring into the mainstream - thanks, Palmolive corporation!). Let me just say that this movie is truly awesome. It's a rare thing for me to stand an 80s movie without getting bored for one single second (obviously, Hellraiser is an exception, as is Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and a handful of others), and this is just a really, really good movie. I like the camerawork, I adore the soundtrack (I give it an A++) - it's not as brilliant as the Re-Animator soundtrack (my all-time favourite), but still amazing. The FX are solid, there's a lot of gooey and slimy goodness, as well as cool and at times funny gore... what else could I want from a movie? Plus, the plot is not too far off the story by HP Lovecraft on which it was based (please compare to Beyond the Wall of Sleep if you have any doubts).


10/10 Miskatonic U shirts worn by a protagonist in a Stuart Gordon movie!