From Beyond (1986)

?????????????????????????????????????

Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) and Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) are researching the effect that a resonator has on the pineal gland. They believe that stimulating the gland lets people see a reality beyond our own that is otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Crawford activates the resonator and begins to see strange creatures floating around him. When he is bitten by one of these creatures, he tells Dr. Pretorius to turn the machine off. Dr. Pretorius refuses, telling Crawford that it’s giving him a feeling like no other.

beyond1

Crawford flees the laboratory and is stopped by the police. When the police find Dr. Pretorius dead, they charge Crawford with his murder. Crawford is committed to a mental asylum where he is then interviewed by Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton). Crawford tells Dr. McMichaels about what happened in the laboratory. Together with a detective Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree), the three go back to the laboratory to find out what really happened to Dr. Pretorius.

beyond3

Directed by Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), and based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, this is one crazy film. It is packed to the rafters of gory and gloopy practical effects. The script and acting are a tad wobbly at times, but it adds to the overall charm and ‘B-Movie’ feel to the film. Jeffrey Combs is always good value for money. He always delivers a solid performance, no matter what the overall film is like. Ted Sorel plays the part of the perverse Dr. Pretorius brilliantly. His transformation into the hideous monster is great, and he delivers his lines with relish. I like Barbara Crampton, but she feels wasted here. She is mostly just a damsel in distress, but she reacts in some strange ways throughout the movie, even getting dressed up in bondage gear during one strange scene.

beyond4

I have never read the short story that the film is based on, so how faithful it is I couldn’t really say. But as it’s Stuart Gordon and he directed another Lovecraft tale in ‘Re-Animator’ , you know it’s a pretty safe bet for some gratuitous violence and an overall tongue in cheek tone. I really enjoy this movie, however it’s not for the squeamish, so if guts and gore aren’t your bag then steer clear. For the rest of you gorehounds, dig in and enjoy.

4/5

JM

beyond5

In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

mad5

My second John Carpenter review brings us to this under-looked gem from 1994. The opening credits music is quite possibly one of the most bad ass fucking pieces of music ever. It’s music that seems like it belongs in a totally different movie. Check it out on YouTube and see why. Kicking things off we find John Trent (Sam Neill) being committed to a mental institution, despite protests from him that he’s not crazy. Soon after Dr. Wrenn (David Warner) stops by John’s padded cell to speak to him. Upon entering he finds the room, and John, covered in strange markings. John begins to tell Dr. Wrenn how he ended up in a mental institute all began when he was asked to look for a missing writer called Sutter Cane (Jurgen Prochnow).

mad2

Strange things have been happening in town and some people seem to think that it’s the writings of Sutter Cane that are responsible, only he’s nowhere to be found. People are being murdered and seem to be going crazy after reading the books by Cane. John Trent is asked by Cane’s publisher Jackson Harglow (Charlton Heston), to track down Cane and bring him back. Trent is accompanied by Linda Styles (Julie Carmen) in tracking down Cane. The investigation into Cane’s whereabouts bring John and Linda to a town called Hobbes End, which just so happens to be straight out of Cane’s novels. Finding the town almost empty, John and Linda find out what has happened to Cane, and what will soon happen to the rest of the world.

mad4

Cane has been chosen to usher forth the ‘Old Ones’, beings that lived long before humans ever walked the Earth. However bringing them back will not bode well for humankind. This is another one of my favourite John Carpenter films. To be fair to Carpenter, the only film of his I wasn’t keen on was ‘Ghosts of Mars’. Yes I am one of those people who liked ‘Escape From L.A.’ believe it or not. This has a lot going for it too. It has a great cast, great script and brilliant direction from Carpenter. The storyline borrows some bits from H.P. Lovecraft lore which only helps the film in my opinion.

mad3

It’s another one that I recommend to people when I get the chance. I know many haven’t heard of it, and it is also one I will have to import from Germany if I want the blu ray. Sadly there is not even a UK release of this on DVD, so it will require importing, I’d recommend Amazon.de as your first port of call. If you haven’t seen it then track it down, I think you’ll like it.

4/5

JM

mad1