From Beyond 1986 ★★★★½

After Lamberto Bava’s Demons, I mindlessly flicked to a title of the PS3 that I felt like I should have seen by now and the impromptu ’80s marathon was born:

From Beyond is Stuart Gordon’s second H.P. Lovecraft adaptation (also starring the incomparable Jeffery Combs – and Ken Foree!). Coming right after Re-Animator this had big shoes to fill. I can say that, although it probably needs to walk those bad-boys in a bit before they become comfortable and so they won’t produce those annoying blisters on the bit just above the heel, this was a tonne-o’-fun.

Having not read the Lovecraft story, I did not know this film was about a couple of scientists who invent a device that enlarges the penal gland, believed to be the location of the third eye. The machine works and they are granted the ability to view a parallel universe full of spooky, nasty creatures, once of which travels into our dimension and bites head off one of the scientists. Combs, the surviving partner, is forced to go through through the experiment again when the police are notified. As the machine is turned on once more, Combs seems his partner on the other side with a new body. As the penal gland swells, so too does sexual appetite and euphoria leading to a visceral mix of sex, violence and humour.

The totally gross special effects were a stand out, as they were in Re-Animator and Combs is terrific once again. I guess what dates this film, and what makes Re-Animator timeless, is that for this film the cast is largely made up of prominent (and not-so-prominent) B-movie actors of the time. Ken Foree is a hell of a lot of fun, but his acting is of a certain style, which immediately dates it to the ’80s. Their performances are of the time and although that plays into the ’80s charm of the film, Re-Animator features a number of stage actors who deliver performances that have stood the test of time.

Probably my favourite film of the marathon and just the kick in the pants I need to check out the rest of Gordon’s filmography.

Next up Hellraiser.

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