From Beyond Poster # 1 Ted Sorel as Dr. Edward Pretorius H.P. Lovecraft


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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 on 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.

Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel) is a scientist who has developed the Resonator, a machine which allows whoever is within range to see beyond normal perceptible reality. His assistant, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs), activates the machine and soon sees strange creatures in the air. When he is bitten by one of them, he urges Pretorius to turn the machine off. However, the crazed Pretorius refuses. Events transpire to the point where Crawford escapes Pretorius’ attic laboratory with an axe, fleeing outside. When the police arrive, they find Pretorius decapitated. Crawford is subsequently arrested and accused of murder.

In the film “From Beyond” (watch it on Hulu here), Dr. Edward Pretorius pioneered use of the Resonator, a device that expands human perceptions of reality via wave manipulation of the pineal gland. As the photos illustrate, things didn’t work out all that well. Pretorius lost his corporal form and crossed over into an alternate dimension of amorphous hedonism. Mistakes were made. Brains were eaten. Things got a bit sticky.

Pretorius’ mutated pineal gland (or perhaps a true parietal eye) actually bursts from his forehead. It even wiggles about. What a charmer! The purpose of this mutation, however, seems to have little to do with circadian rhythm. Instead, we turn our attention to the pineal gland’s possible role as “a potential biological locus for spiritual experiences.”

That quote comes from Rick Strassman MD, who researched the hypothetical — and as yet unproven — connection between the pineal gland and the production of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine or DMT. A University of New Mexico a psychiatrist, Strassman supervised more than 400 DMT sessions between 1990 and 1995. As author John Horgan relates in this Scientific American article, Strassman’s test subjects dissolved into light, met God-like beings and sometimes freaked out in the presence of alien lizards.

Strassman shut down his studies in ’95 out of concern for these “bad trips,” but in his book “DMT: The Spirit Molecule,” he entertains the notion that DMT actually affects the brain’s ability to RECEIVE information — not just interpret or generate it — allowing us to perceive dark matter and parallel universes otherwise hidden to us.

As you might imagine, mainstream science isn’t quite behind the whole invisible realms theory. Dr. Edward Pretorius, however, was totally on board. He utilized his Resonator to supercharge his pineal gland, crank up his DMT production and glimpsed all the squishy, gross-out stuff happening beyond the veil of human perception.

From Beyond was made back in 1986, a few years before computer generated imagery took over the special effects industry. As such, From Beyond is one of the last movies to feature gruesome effects using a wide variety of physical effects such as make-up, prosthetics, and animatronics. While not excessively gory, this film features a large number of eerie and slimy creatures. In this regard, the large number of special effects created by Mark Shostrom and John Carl Buechler are as gross as magnificent, and they talk loudly about a now bygone era of cinematic magic.

While these special effects brilliantly bring to life the unspeakable horrors described by Lovecraft, the visual structure of the film is also used to further enhance the impact of the narrative. Indeed, there is an uncanny purple light in all the scenes that take place when the resonator is on. As psychedelic as it is hypnotic, From Beyond captures the visual experience of seeing for the first time a spine-chilling world that is hidden right in front of us.

Near mint condition.