Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"From Beyond" DVD Review (US & German DVD's!)


This is the third in my series of DVD reviews of movie adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft stories. This time around, I'll be taking a look at two versions of "From Beyond". First up is the "official" U.S. "Unrated Directors Cut" from 2007 & secondly a look at the German issued Dragon Entertainment release in 2000.

"H.P. Lovecraft's From Beyond" U.S. Unrated Directors Cut Review - MGM 2007

MGM 2007 DVD Cover Art.


This 1986 film adaptation is the second one done by Lovecraft masters Stuart Gordon & Dennis Paoli, the first being 1985's highly inventive "Re-Animator".  The two maestros would continue to collaborate for many years adapting Lovecraft stories with great success.

Effectively, this can be considered a sequel to Lovecraft's short story "From Beyond" written in 1920 as the short story is visually adapted in the pre-credits sequence! So, really, everything after the opening credits is what happened after the original story ended! As a Lovecraft fan, I don't really look at it that way though but it is an interesting idea to consider!

This movie has what Lovecraft fans have come to expect by 1986: gore, slime, tentacles, body horror elements and crazed scientists tampering which things they shouldn't. 

The story is simple: Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) and Dr. Edward Pretorious ( Ted Sorel) have worked to create a machine dubbed "the resonator". The resonator is capable of generating waves that stimulate dormant senses within the human brain that allows a subject "to see" and interact with all of the other-worldly dimensions that surround us unseen every moment.

Pretorious, driven by his own obsessions with sensual pleasures, tests the machine and is consumed by something from beyond as Tillinghast disables the resonator with an ax. Arrested for Pretorious's murder and placed into an asylum, a young psychiatrist Katherine McMicheals (Barbara Crampton) and police officer Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree) work to re-create the experiment to prove Tillinghast is telling the truth regarding Pretorious' death.

The ensuing madness & mayhem involves a transfigured Pretorious, now a resident of the other dimensions, attempting to bring the two worlds together and unleash an unimaginable horror. 

Dr. Pretorious in one of his transfigured flesh forms.

Pretorious demonstrating that "it's just a body"!

Tillinghast & McMicheals look on in horror.

The infamous "Resonator".

One restored deleted scene. The notorious "eat the brain through the eye socket" shot!

The US Unrated Directors Cut runs 86 minutes with all of the deleted scenes in place. The DVD features are Audio Commentary by Stuart Gordon & Cast; Directors Perspective featurette; The Editing Room: Lost and Found; Interview with the musical composer & more.

It's presented in 1.85:1 Widescreen and only with Dolby Surround. The disc is coded for Region 1.

This is the version to get on DVD, but I read about the new Blu-Ray disc and it seems to have upped the ante regarding extras and audio/video resolution.That's a whole other blog right there!

"H.P. Lovecraft's From Beyond" - Dragon Entertainment Issue (Germany) -2000

German DVD Front Cover.


The DVD is actually the US Theatrical Version and is cut by several minutes despite the packaging listing the running time as 86 minutes. The DVD quality is of a restored quality, but not as good as the US Edition. It does have 5.1 Surround Sound, but in German only. Original English language track is 2.0. It is, however, presented in 1.85:1 Widescreen and the animated DVD Menus are incredible!

This disc is coded Region 0 - capable of being played anywhere in the world.

What makes this version so awesome is the artwork, the slip sleeve, the booklet and the interior artwork. It's amazing! 

Interior DVD Case outer artwork.

Interior DVD Case inner Artwork & Booklet.

Again, I would recommend this film, not to just Lovecraft fans, but to horror fans as well. Newer fans will may not enjoy all of the practical effects, but that's what gives these 80's horror films an edge in the gore factor, in my opinion!

Go & watch this film! I love it!

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