After the success of Re-Animator, Empire Pictures studio head Charles Band asked director Stuart Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna to possibly reunite the cast in another H.P. Lovecraft tale. After much deliberation, From Beyond was chosen, with Re-Animator scribe Dennis Paoli hired to expand the seven-page short story. The result was an odd mixture graphic gore, violence, and sex.
Studio: Shout! Factory
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD, English 5.1 DD, English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 26 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD2-disc Blu-ray keepcase
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 03/26/2013
H.P. Lovecraft’s short story is used to its extent during the early prologue, in which lab assistant Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) and Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) successfully (and tragically) create a machine dubbed The Resonator to stimulate the pineal gland in a subject’s brain, opening the mind to view additional dimensions. The problem is that it also allows beings from other dimensions to view and interact with the subjects, as well, and when they attack both Crawford and Pretorius, Pretorius is beheaded and Crawford left as a suspect, and sentenced to a mental institute, diagnosed with schizophrenia. Trying to build a solid case, the district attorney places Crawford into the care of Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton) and detective Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree). Finding Crawford a fascinating case, Dr. McMichaels takes him back to the house to continue his experiments with the resonator. But an evolved Pretorius is waiting for them on the other side, hoping to experience S&M bliss with anyone who bridges the two dimensions.
The Production Rating: 3/5
Stuart Gordon is very good at grossing out his audience, as evident in his debut feature, Re-Animator, and continued to do so in his more recent works such as his episodes of the television series Masters of Horror and Fear Itself. The make-up and creature effects work by John Buechler (Dolls), John Naulin (Team America), and Mark Shostrom (Evil Dead 2) are front and center, a true showcase of their early talents (with a team that included Gregory Nicotero and Robert Kurtzman), ranging from gooey, slimy versions of Pretorius to brain-eating and sucking brains out of a doctor from the eye socket. Jeffrey Combs is perfectly cast as the tortured scientist (playing the victim this time around), Barbara Crampton is effective as the sexually-repressed psychiatrist who undergoes a sexual awakening, Ted Sorel chews the scenery as the villain of the piece, and Ken Foree adds some comic relief as the former football player turned police detective. As gory and violent as From Beyond is, this restored director’s cut (from 2007) is not only tame by today’s standards, but lacks any real scares even by 1980s standards.
The 1080p transfer, compressed using the AVC codec, approximates the film’s intended 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio by opening up the frame ever so slightly to 1.78:1 to fill a typical 16:9 display. The harvested image is somewhat soft but are often rich in detail (typical of most low-budget 1980s films). Colors are mostly consistent and not overly saturated, and contrast and black levels are decent. There is a slight change in quality between the original theatrical cut and re-inserted sequences that comprise the director’s cut (taken from badly worn workprint trims and restored by MGM and Sony in 2007), but the change is so minimal, if you blink, you’ll likely miss it.
Video Rating: 3.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo track replicates and improves upon the film’s original matrixed UltraStereo 2.0 track, while the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 offers higher fidelity and greater dynamic range, as well as improved stereo separation to give the film a much wider sound stage. Dialogue is never overpowered and directs quite nicely to the center channel. Ambient and directional sound effects, as well as the film’s score, are pushed to the left, right, and surrounds, filling the room nicely. This is most noticeable during scenes when the resonator is functioning and with Richard Band’s eerie score.
Audio Rating: 3.5/5
Shout! Factory has included a reversible insert, allowing fans to use the newly created cover art, or the original theatrical poster design. Also included is the film and all of the same supplemental materials on a standard definition DVD.
Special Features Rating: 4/5
Audio Commentary by Director Stuart Gordon, Producer Brian Yuzna, and Actors Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs: The four reminisce about making the film in Rome (just after studio head Charles Band took possession from the former Dino DeLaurentis Studios from the Italian government during a bankruptcy auction) and reuniting after Re-Animator, taken from the 2007 MGM DVD release.
Audio Commentary by Screenwriter Dennis Paoli: Paoli discusses how the film differs from the original short story.
Multiple Dimensions (HD, 23:40): A look at the extensive creature and make-up effects with Special Effects Creators John Buechler, Anthony Doublin, John Naulin, and Mark Shostrom.
Paging Dr. McMichaels (HD, 13:44): An interview with actress Barbara Crampton.
A Tortured Soul (HD, 17:45): An interview with actor Jeffrey Combs.
An Empire Production (HD, 5:02): An interview with Executive Producer Charles Band.
The Director’s Perspective (HD, 8:51): An interview with Director Stuart Gordon, taken from the 2007 MGM DVD release.
The Editing Room: Lost And Found (HD, 4:45): An interview with Stuart Gordon and the MGM restoration team, taken from the 2007 MGM DVD release.
Interview With Composer Richard Band (HD, 4:32): The prolific genre composer discusses scoring the film, taken from the 2007 MGM DVD release.
Photo Gallery (HD, 4:23): Taken from the 2007 MGM DVD release.
Theatrical Trailer (HD, 0:58): Taken from the 2007 MGM DVD release.
Storyboard to Film Comparisons (HD, 9:09): Stuart Gordon introduces four split screen comparison scenes from the film, taken from the 2007 MGM DVD release.
Shout! Factory pulls out all of the stops and provides a collector’s edition that adds to what was a fairly good DVD release back in 2007 and improves upon it. Fans will definitely be pleased.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Todd Erwin
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