Saturday, October 13, 2007

FROM BEYOND - UNRATED DIRECTOR’S CUT

When Stuart Gordon made his directorial debut with 1985‘s RE-ANIMATOR, he hit it out of the park with one of the smartest, most rewarding horror films of the Eighties. Some people forget, though, that his follow up was damned near as good, if not better. Now, after a long wait, MGM Home Video has finally unleashed FROM BEYOND: UNRATED DIRECTOR’S CUT (1986), a fully re-mastered and restored version of the 80’s horror masterpiece.

Two scientists create a machine that enables them, by stimulation of the pineal gland, to perceive a parallel reality populated by grotesque, monstrous beings. When their first experiment apparently leads to the death of one of them, a beautiful psychiatrist (Barbara Crampton, RE-ANIMATOR) and a police officer (Ken Foree, the original DAWN OF THE DEAD) escort the survivor (Jeffrey Combs, RE-ANIMATOR) back to the isolated laboratory to re-create the experiment and prove that he did not murder his colleague.

Loosely based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, and filled with fantastic, pre-CGI "practical" effects, plenty of gore and slime, kinky sex and sheer, unbridled depravity, FROM BEYOND was pretty heady stuff for ’86, and suffered heavily at the hands of the MPAA, who demanded multiple trims before they’d grant it an "R" rating. MGM Home Video, in association with the Monsters HD channel, has restored the film to director Gordon’s original version, and given the whole movie a digital clean-up and restoration. It looks fabulous.

MGM’s new "Unrated Director’s Cut" has been given a sterling 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer (previous home video versions were presented in open-matte full-frame, which spoiled a number of the effects), and a booming Dolby Surround mix. In addition, they’ve provided an entertaining and informative commentary by Gordon and key cast members, several retrospective featurettes, a storyboard comparison, and more.

With a talented cast that understands the genre, a unique visual look, and sharp direction by Stuart Gordon, FROM BEYOND stands as one of the most ambitious and original horror films of its era, and still has the power to shock and surprise today. MGM’s new DVD is a solid package and is very welcome.

Highly recommended.

BUY: From Beyond (Unrated Director's Cut)