You may be surprised to discover that we all possess a Third Eye. Also known as the pineal gland, this small gland located in the dead centre of the brain and is so named because of its resemblance to a tiny pine cone. However its size is in no way related to its function or the level of spiritual, mystical and science fiction speculation that has been made about its power over our minds.
With theories on its purpose going back to Ancient Egypt, the pineal gland has been and still is believed to be our inner third eye. The activation of it would lead the human race to mystical and spiritual enlightenment, higher states of consciousness and the unlocking of extra sensory perception and powers.
The activation of the pineal gland and its evolutionary effects on mankind are the basis of horror writer H.P Lovecraft’s 1920 short story ‘From Beyond’. This story was adapted in 1986 by director Stuart Gordon, the man behind the amazing Re-Animator and Dagon, both also crafted out of Lovecraft classics.
From Beyond much like Re-Animator, takes Lovecraft’s story to a whole other level of horror, making sure to add in as much sex and gore as possible to keep the audience as excited and disgusted as possible. This happens all the way through and due to this it is as bonkers as it is brilliant.
Opening on the fateful night where crazed scientist Dr. Pretorius (gleefully insanely played by Ted Sorel) and his assistant Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Herbert West himself – Jeffrey Combs) finally succeed in activating a giant device named The Resonator. This machine fully stimulates the pineal gland, and as it does so, the pair discover they can now see a whole new world existing alongside our own, full of disturbing and malevolent monsters.
The experiment spins drastically out of control and in the confusing bloody aftermath Tillinghast is blamed for Dr. Pretorius’s death, which he fervently denies. Instead he blames the hideous alien animals that he saw when The Resonator was turned on.
His claims land him in an insane asylum where it seems no one will believe his story. That is until psychologist Dr. Katherine McMichaels (Barbara Crampton) comes up with a controversial plan that takes Tillinghast back to the scene of the experiment to reproduce its affects. This leads to a nightmarish journey into the true power of the third eye and the creatures that want to cross over to our world from ‘beyond’.
Throwing the audience straight into the mad world of Dr. Pretorius from the start, the film is a thrill ride all the way through, driven by a brilliant performance from Jeffrey Combs. He journeys from victim to hero to villain and back again during the course of the story as his third eye is fully activated and he is transformed into a deformed and deranged inhuman, brain sucking, higher being.
Although the purpose of the experiment is for the mad scientists is to play God and evolve the mind, From Beyond is very much about body horror. From the Carpenter-style mutated flesh monsters and multi-toothed flying worms that dwell in the alternate universe, to the amped up sexual appetite experienced by Katherine (leading her into the realms of S&M and the film into the themes of classic Cronenberg) From Beyond is more 50 Shades of Gore than anything else. And the excellent brand new Blu-Ray transfer showcases the warped and wicked special effects perfectly.
Surreal and scary, ridiculous and grotesque, From Beyond is an 80’s horror classic which deals with a whole host of intriguing ideas on obsession, addiction and the morality of scientific discovery while still managing to be a full on monster movie.
Watching this engrossing and entertainingly gross film will cause your first, second and third eyes to be wide open in enjoyment. Just make sure to check your pineal gland doesn’t get over stimulated!