Has science ever done anything positive in a horror movie? In the twisted little world of scary cinema, it seems that the planet’s greatest scientific minds are too preoccupied with re-animating the dead or building gateways into Dimension X to do anything even remotely productive. Even when scientists’ intentions are in the right place and they’re trying to cure cancer, the results of their research always ends with something crazy like a vampire plague or super-intelligent killer sharks. In From Beyond, mad scientists create a machine that enhances the brain so it can interact with hidden dimensions--minor side effects include monsters appearing to devour your flesh, sexual deviancy, growing a tentacle out of your forehead, and, I swear to God, an insatiable hunger for brains.
The movie is based on a short story by horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, an author famous for stories where average folk peek into the beyond and go fuck-all crazy as a result. Humanity amounts to about a flake of dust in Lovecraft’s mythos, a world occupied by groddy looking cosmic entities that lurk about utterly oblivious and indifferent to our insignificant little lives. In the context of this movie, science is seen as being a bit of a fool’s errand. There are things out there that humans simply aren’t meant to see, a kind of forbidden knowledge that our brains simply can’t handle. In the case of From Beyond simply interacting with the other side is enough to send you on an express train to the loony bin—and that’s the best case scenario, forget about getting torn apart by bees or morphing into a eye-sucking, three-eyed mongoloid.
While we only see a sliver of Lovecraft’s dark world in From Beyond, when you consider the depth of the author’s madness, with all of the monsters with a billion gaping mouths and creatures with tentacle faces, it’s more than enough to make the for the kind of fun, gooey grotesquery you’d expect from the director of Re-Animator.
For Monday: Screw it. We’re riding this Lovecraft crazy train all the way to crazy town with 2005’s The Call of Cthulhu. Also a portrait of a serial killer named Henry and more!