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FROM BEYOND (1986)

Directed by Stuart Gordon

Starring Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton

Awesome! Another great gory horror movie from the mid-1980s, proof that the era was a true "golden age" for this stuff. This is kind of a lost gem, because it didn't make the waves that its predecessor, "Re-Animator," did, even though it was produced and directed by the same team and features much of the same cast, most notably Combs and Crampton. In some ways, it's actually a better movie, managing to disturb and scare more than its predecessor, but without the crowd-pleasing comedy that made Gordon's first film a critical and box office success. It also came out in the latter half of the 1980s, when interest in horror was finally starting to wave. And compared to the bloodbath that was "Re-Animator," the gore in this R-rated film does seem a little tame. But if you're lucky enough to run into a copy of this film (it's now been out of print for years, with no signs of a DVD release on the horizon), definitely make the effort to scoop it up.

Combs, in a similar role to that of Herbert West in "Re-Animator," plays the assistant to a mad physicist who invented a way to break out of this universe and open the gate to another dimension. When the doctor's head is severed off during one of these forays into this strange other world, Combs is arrested for murder and deemed insane. Psychiatrist Crampton shows up to try to prove that Combs did not commit the killing -- by demonstrating that the bizarre doorway to another universe his former employer invented really does work. Foree plays the cop who takes Crampton and Combs back to the home where the killing happened.

The three adventurers eventually get the device working again, and encounter a new version of the doctor, who has morphed into a slimy monster that's literally dripping with evil. Entering into this strange parallel universe is also addictive, and Crampton begins opening the gateway even when it's become clear that it will unleash the doctor/monster into our world, not to mention a slew of other slime-covered creatures. Combs himself eventually is transformed into a weird creature with a third eye protruding from his forehead and a strong desire to suck brains. Crampton has yet another slimy nude scene in this pic, not unlike the one she had in Re-Animator.

Weird, warped stuff from Gordon, one of splatterdom's great moviemakers. Like "Re-Animator," this is based on an H.P. Lovecraft story. A truly high quality motion picture, it was unjustly overlooked after the success of its predecessor. The producers would eventually focus on making a "Re-Animator" sequel. "From Beyond" drifted in and out of print on video, and has now gone out of print. It richly deserves a resurrection.

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