Thursday, January 1, 2009

From Beyond (1986; Stuart Gordon)

I must say, this review is going to be ridiculously biased. Not for the sake of Jeffrey Combs. Not for the sake of Stuart Gordon. Simply for it being inspired by Lovecraft. I have been a avid fan of Lovecraft for quite a few years, so I always welcome anything that is tied to his works.

I am glad that (while other people may disagree) there is a semi-competent director (in the form of Gordon) who is frequently giving us his visions of what he thinks is truly going on in Lovecraft's worlds. The beauty of it is that another director can come along, create another film on the same short story, and come up with completely different creatures that dwell in the other dimensions and worlds.

(Keeping it fresh again) two scientists set up a device that activates a certain resonance, causing a gland in our brain to grow, allowing us to see into another dimension, and in return, seeing that dimensions inhabitants see us. To bring the idea to another level of realism (at least to a degree) the film makes a connection between schizophrenia and the size of that certain gland. I thought it was a clever idea, at least.

I am not quite sure as most of the surprisingly few Gordon films I have seen are fuzzy in my memory, but it appears he has a very intimate fondness with still camera angles. While that can make films come off as stale (due to moving cameras representing progression, movement, etc) it worked surprisingly well as we felt our characters trapped in a certain space. The camera was further complemented with a wonderful color palette in many of the shots.

As for the score, it is adequate but altogether not too exciting or memorable. Jeffrey Combs puts on a wonderfully enjoyable performance (again). All in all this film has the feel of a Lovecraft title, but it lacks the depth required to truly delve into his beautifully constructed world. While that obviously can not be held against any single film, maybe it is something Gordon might want to work upon. A series of Lovecraft films that fit together besides the small hints to locations that reoccur.

Score: 3/5

Notes: Tentacle Rape (Fuck Yes)

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