From Beyond (1934)/(1986)

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

From Beyond (1934)/(1986)

"From Beyond" is a short story by science fiction and horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was written in 1920 and was first published in The Fantasy Fan in June 1934 (Vol. 1, No. 10).

The story is told from the first person perspective of an unnamed narrator and details his experiences with a scientist named Crawford Tillinghast. Tillinghast creates an electronic device that emits a resonance wave, which stimulates an affected person’s pineal gland, thereby allowing them to perceive planes of existence outside the scope of accepted reality.

Sharing the experience with Tillinghast, the narrator becomes cognizant of a translucent, alien environment that overlaps our own recognized reality. From this perspective, he witnesses hordes of strange and horrific creatures that defy description. Tillinghast reveals that he has used his machine to transport two of his house servants into the overlapping plane of reality. He also reveals that the effect works both ways, and allows the denizens of the alternate dimension to perceive humans. Tillinghast's house servants were attacked and killed by one such entity, and Tillinghast informs the narrator that it is right behind him. Terrified beyond measure, the narrator picks up a gun and shoots it at the machine, destroying it. Tillinghast dies immediately thereafter as a result of apoplexy. The police investigate the scene and it is placed on record that Tillinghast murdered the two house servants.

From Beyond is a 1986 American science fiction-body horror film directed by Stuart Gordon, loosely based on the short story of the same name by H. P. Lovecraft. It was written by Dennis Paoli, Gordon and Brian Yuzna, and stars Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree and Ted Sorel.

From Beyond centers around a pair of scientists attempting to stimulate the pineal gland with a device called The Resonator. An unforeseen result of their experiments is the ability to perceive creatures from another dimension that proceed to drag the head scientist into their world, returning him as a grotesque shape-changing monster that preys upon the others at the laboratory.

The opening of the film pretty much mirrors the short story with the exception that Jeffrey Combs plays the role of Tillinghast the assistant to Dr. Edward Pretorius who creates The Resonator.  The short story ends with the destruction of The Resonator but that is only the back story for the film.  After being arrested for the murder of Dr. Pretorius, Tillinghast must convince the authorities that his story is true so he must repair and activate The Resonator.  What follows is just what you would expect from a Lovecraft inspired tale – insanity, unspeakable horrors and nudity.

If the cast and crew seem familiar that would be Stuart Gordon’s desire to recreate the working environment from Re-animator.  Gordon cut his directing teeth in the world of theater so he liked to work with the same people all the time but that just makes a more iconic production.  In my opinion Lovecraft is best when Yuzna, Gordon and Combs are involved. 


How about some obscure references to pad out the article?  

Ghoulies II (1988) -- The artwork for From Beyond is seen on one of the exterior walls of Satan's Den.

Slither (2006) -- Grant Grant's monstrous transformation is based after Dr. Pretorius return "from beyond."

Planet Terror (2007) -- Both films feature doctors named Doctor Block/Bloch (pronounced the same), and the female Dr. Block appears to have been made up to look exactly like Barbara Crampton in From Beyond. Also, her son's line about "I'm going to eat your brain and gain your knowledge" is a reference to a major plot point in From Beyond.

Related Articles

  1. From Beyond Short Story – Wikipedia
  2. From Beyond Movie – Wikipedia
  3. From Beyond Movie - IMDB
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