Thursday, September 20, 2007

From Beyond

And my curious need to turn this blog into a Jeffrey Combs fansite continues on with this film, reuniting him with director Stuart Gordon, after their successful pairing with the cult classic Re-Animator the year prior. If Re-Animator was a tad over the top, to put it mildly, this is just completely frenzied.

Let me explain the opening scene, just to show you what I mean. We open with Combs working on a machine straight out of a science fiction nerdfest, with bulky, 70s style computers lining the walls and an oversized machine in the center with a big glowing ball and unnecessarily large tuning forks on the top, complete with a big fuckass flip switch like you’d see in the old Frankenstein movies. Combs flips the switch and turns the machine on, and we’re instantly enmeshed in a pinkish purple glow, at which point a flying worm thing suddenly appears and bites him. He gets his boss, Dr. Pretorius, to share in the delight at their experiment finally working, only to have the machine begin to spin out of control. As Combs checks the machine and ominously warns his boss, “Edward…it’s running itself!”, a neighbor notices the loud noises and flashing lights coming from the room and calls the police, who in proper fashion arrive in time to arrest Combs, but not in time to keep Pretorius from getting his head bitten off by a monster From Beyond *thunderclap*. If the movie doesn’t quite manage to maintain that level of franticness quite all the way through the entire film, it’s only because no director save Billy Wilder could accomplish such a feat.

To steal a line from Mel Brooks, this film rises below vulgarity. The monsters are all dripping pink goo to ensure that extra bit of disgustingness, the machine is found to stimulate sexual urges just to give things that extra bit of kink (and to provide an excuse for a cute psychiatrist to dress up in leather bondage attire), and one character, changed by overexposure to the Resonator, develops a taste for eating people’s brains out through their eye sockets. It is trashy, filthy, sleazy, and just pure magic. This is everything a person could possibly want in a horror movie. If you don’t enjoy this film, then I question the wisdom of your reading of this blog.

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