A worm out of head;
A sexual transformation;
Some good explosions.
I am a huge H.P. Lovecraft fan; that said, my expectations going into this film were not high. By the end of the film, I was thinking to myself, with some degree of shame: “This isn’t that bad… It’s actually kind of good.”
The dilemma: we were watching this film because we expected it to be terrible. Purchased at a rural corner store amongst canned ham and icing sugar, our dream was to recreate the communal sense of disapproval, hilarity and slight nausea typical of our VHS finds. Though this was all there to some degree, the movie stands far above most of the junk we’ve injected into our VCRs and DVDs.
- A mental institution: measures normalcy and sanity in the movie; a Lovecraft trademark.
- Scientists: some good, some bad–all looking to stimulate their buried sexual desires.
- The Pineal Gland: by stimulating this “sixth sense” which lays dormant in all human beings, Dr. Pretorious–a decadent, sadomasochistic womanizer–has discovered the doorway to an alternate dimension. There is a price for stimulating your pineal, however, and that price is too horrible, too gruesome to even mention. (Yes, it is a penis-forehead.)
- An alternate dimension: by stimulating the pineal gland, you can gain insight into a reality that lies side-by-side with our own, where woeful creatures–translucent insects that want to eat your flesh–lie waiting.
- Transformation: with the help of the resonator, and without the drawback of the forehead phallic worm thing, Dr. McMichaels–a bookish, yet sexy, psychologist–becomes a sultry, sexual being, whose interests include bawdy clothing and seducing her clients.
So while most elements of the film met my every expectation for “bad”–campy ’80s horror-sci fi, terrible special effects, and inadequate acting skills–there are many elements that meet my standards for “good,” including interesting and continuous character development, motifs and thematic symbolism, and a riveting storyline. Also, explosions.
So I admit my love of this film. In terms of the larger canon of work that this group has consumed, From Beyond falls into that elusive and minuscule category of bad movies: Bad Movies Which Are Actually Good.