Horror Movie Review: From Beyond (1986)

“If there is a statistical correlation between schizophrenia and the pineal gland, they may be feeling or seeing what we saw.”
“Well, what about the hard on I got? Is there a statistical correlation for that too?”

From Beyond is a 1986 American science fiction-body horror film directed by Stuart Gordon. It is loosely based on the short story of the same name by H. P. Lovecraft.

Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) is a scientist who has developed the Resonator. The Resonator is a machine which allows whoever is within range to see beyond normal perceptible reality. His assistant, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs), activates the machine and soon sees strange creatures in the air. When he is bitten by one of them, he urges Pretorius to turn the machine off. However, the crazed Pretorius refuses. Events transpire to the point where Crawford panics, fleeing outside. When the police arrive, they find Pretorius decapitated. Crawford is subsequently arrested and accused of murder.

Crawford is committed to a psychiatric ward, where he is treated by Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton). After Crawford gives his account of Pretorius’ death, Katherine orders that Crawford undergo a CAT scan. It shows that Crawford’s pineal gland is enlarged and growing. Convinced of Crawford’s innocence, Katherine has him released to her custody. She plans on taking him back to Pretorius’ house and the Resonator. They are accompanied by Detective Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree), who investigated Pretorius’ death.

Upon returning to the house, Katherine and Crawford rebuild the Resonator. Crawford reactivates the machine, which causes more creatures to appear. A severely deformed Pretorius, still alive, appears in the attic. He tells the trio of a world beyond that is more pleasurable than normal reality. A panicking Crawford shuts off the Resonator, making Pretorius and the creatures vanish. The next morning, Katherine insists that the Resonator could shed light on the victims of schizophrenia. As well as possible treatments and suggests that they turn the machine back on. But Bubba and Crawford disagree.

While Bubba and Crawford are asleep, Katherine gets back up to feel the pleasure from the machine. She turns it back on, bringing forth a worried Crawford and the now almost unrecognizable and mutated Pretorius. Bubba enters the scene as Pretorius grabs Katherine. He prepares to eat her mind and take her to the world of beyond. Crawford and Bubba go down into the basement to shut off the power. But they encounter a giant worm-monster. Bubba succeeds in shutting off the power, rescuing Crawford and Katherine and sending Pretorius away.

Is that the last we’ll see of Pretorius? Will the trio be able to prove what they’ve seen and set Crawford free? Watch From Beyond to find out.

From the people that gave you Re-Animator, here’s another film about the disturbing nature of experimental science. While From Beyond follows the same tradition of campiness, it also offers something more. With its cheesy costumes and lines, underneath it all is a spine tingling and truly disturbing story. In addition, its effects and visuals are intense, and something you’re unlikely to have seen before.

This time around Jeffrey Combs gets the starring role and masterfully plays, Crawford Tillinghast – the reluctant hero. While Ted Sorel plays his mentor, Dr Pretorius, who’s the very essence of perversion. Additionally, Barbara Crampton (Dr McMichaels) shows her complete terror and pleasure beautifully. She also looks amazing in that outfit, damn. Bubba must have had balls of steel to resist her.

A few plot errors unfortunately knock off a few points, making From Beyond less than perfect. For example, why did the trio go alone and not fill the room with more credible witnesses. I understand they didn’t believe him but after their first experience it’s clear he isn’t crazy. I suppose if errors such as those didn’t exist then the film would simply end very quickly.

From Beyond is a fantastical and unique vision, which will disgust, delight, amuse and excite.


  • Sally Powell

    Editor/Writer - Stay at home mum educating the horror minds of tomorrow. If it's got vampires or Nicolas Cage in it, I'm sold. Found cleaning bums or kicking ass in an RPG. (And occasionally here reviewing all things horror and gaming related!)

From Beyond
  • The Final Score - 8.5/10
User Review
7.25/10 (4 votes)

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