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From Beyond at Chazen Museum of Art
October 30, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pmFree
From Ian Adcock’s feature on UW Cinematheque’s Stuart Gordon series at the Chazen Museum Of Art (which concludes with this screening):
Stuart Gordon’s kinky, outrageous experiment in body horror, From Beyond (1986), is a fan favorite due to its over-the-top aesthetic. Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) and his assistant Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) have finally perfected the Resonator, a device that gives humans access to the fifth dimension by stimulating the pineal gland. Unfortunately, the fifth dimension is full of nightmarish creatures, and the experiment ends with Pretorius getting his head bitten off and Tillinghast going mad.
Tillinghast is rescued from a mental institution by psychologist Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton), who wants him to recreate the experiments to find out what happened. Along with police escort Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree of Dawn Of The Dead), he returns to the laboratory. When they switch the Resonator back on, Dr. Pretorius’ head returns from the fifth dimension with a new terrifying body. Transformed into a classically Lovecraftian monster, Pretorius’ sadistic urges have become a desire for power and human flesh.
The excessive pineal stimulation begins to affect our “heroes” as well; Dr. McMichaels becomes drawn to both the Resonator and Pretorius’ bondage gear, while Crawford sprouts a pineal antenna in his forehead and develops an insatiable hunger for brains. After a bloody escape from the mental institution, Tillinghast and McMichaels try to overcome their urges to destroy the Resonator before Pretorius becomes all-powerful.
Filmed quickly reusing the set of Dolls (1986), From Beyond is clearly an attempt to one-up Gordon’s breakout debut Re-Animator (1985), using another Lovecraft short story as its basis, and bringing back both Crampton and Combs as the stars. Gordon also had the most difficulty getting the film passed by the MPAA ratings board. Presumably, it was payback for everything Gordon got away with in his unrated debut. Packed full of gruesome special effects and copious amounts of slime, it’s one of Gordon’s most popular and enduring films.
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