March 30, 2013

Blu Review- From Beyond (1986)

When it comes to buying horror movies on Blu-ray, we have one issue; we already own so many horror movies on DVD, that upgrading them all to Blu-ray would cost a small fortune. There are however some titles that we just have to own in the best format available, and so we open to you our Blu-ray Archives, which consist of what we consider to be Must Own Horror Blu-ray's.

From Beyond (1986)

Scream Factory (Shout! Factory)
Price: $19.99
Two-disc set
1 50GB BR Disc
1 DVD copy
Video: 1080p
1:78:1 AR
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/2.0
Subtitles: English
Region A

From Beyond is one of the most enjoyable horror flicks to have come out of the 80's, plain and simple. It's full of otherworldly Lovecraftian brilliance, it has the ever-sexy Barbara Crampton acting her ass off in a state of erotic overdrive, and it features the much beloved Jeffrey Combs at the top of his manical game. Aside from a few instances of cheesiness here and there, From Beyond is an effective flick that has held up well over the last 27 years.

What Stuart Gordon created with From Beyond, is a dazzling glimpse into an alternate universe that unbeknownst to we humans, exists all around us. You have to use a resonator to actually see this other world -it stimulates the pineal gland, which is obviously the key to the melding of dimensions- but once you do, all kinds of creepy shit shows up and tries to eat your head.

It's basically a flick that uses gore and sensuality to show you what the consequences are when you get a little too curious. It reminds me, in places, of movies like The Thing and Hellraiser, but that could jsut be me.

They call him Dr. Love.
The movie looks great in HD. It's not reference quality or anything, and it isn't quite as filmic as I'd like (I love film grain), but for the most part it's smooth and crisp in its presentation, even if it is a bit soft. The resonator and its glow are gorgeous to behold in HD, and where the Blu-ray treatment really shines is during most of the FX shots; the monsters look great here, in all of their slimy, nasty glory.

I'll admit that I'm easily wowed by most Blu-ray offerings, which is to say that I don't nitpick every detail of the transfer looking for flaws, nor do I particularly care if every frame isn't crisp, brilliant perfection. That said, the visuals here didn't necessarily "wow" me, but neither did they leave me thinking that things could have looked better. This is a pretty transfer, and it's most definitely the best the movie has ever (or likely will ever) look on any home video format.

If there's one thing that I can and have to nitpick, it's the way that some of the old school FX shots come off. To put it plainly, some of them look extremely dated and are pretty poor. I'm talking in particular about the flying monster and the night vision-like "beyond" scenes here, because they do not look as slick as the rest of the FX shots in the movie. To be fair, there was only so much that FX guys could do back in the 80's, especially with a small budget.

There's a penis growing out of that penis.
The DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless track on this disc is crisp and sounds great.

Not being much of an audiophile, that's about as much expertise on this subject that I can pretend to be all smart about here, because honestly, who cares. If it sounds good, I'm all set, and this one really does sound great.

Aside from the special features listed below, which are all fun to watch, the best "special feature" on this disc is the fact that this is an unrated cut. What's so impressive about that, aside from the fact that some long lost scenes were re-incorporated back into the movie, is how they were so painstakingly cleaned up and made to look fantastic, even though the source material was scratchy and in very poor shape; they don't look out of place at all, as some re-integrated scenes tend to. They did an excellent job with the restoration of said scenes, and they explain the process in the "THE EDITING ROOM: LOST AND FOUND" mini-doc, which just makes it all the more fascinating.

FROM BEYOND Collector’s Edition – Unrated Director’s Cut bonus content:
  • Audio Commentary with writer Denis Paoli
  • MULTIPLE DIMENSIONS – A look at the film’s extensive Make-Up & Creature Effects with Special Effects Creators John Buechler, Anthony Doublin, John Naulin, and Mark Shostrom (20 mins)
  • PAGING DR. MCMICHAELS – An interview with Actress Barbara Crampton (15 mins)
  • A TORTURED SOUL – An interview with Actor Jeffrey Combs (15 mins)
  • AN EMPIRE PRODUCTION – An interview with Executive Producer Charles Band (5 mins)
  • Audio Commentary with director Stuart Gordon and the cast
  • THE DIRECTOR’S PERSPECTIVE – interview with Stuart Gordon
  • THE EDITING ROOM: LOST AND FOUND – Gordon Stuart and MGM restoration team interview
  • Interview with composer Richard Band
  • Storyboard to Film Comparisions with Introduction
  • Two photo galleries
Suck that eyeball, boy... the good stuff's behind it!
As a movie, From Beyond is an A as far as we're concerned; it hits just about every note that a good movie needs to, and despite one or two minor flaws, is an exceptionally fun movie to kick back and spend 90 minutes with.

As a Blu-ray disc, there's really nothing here to complain about. We're not going to call it a perfect release, but we can easily say that it is perfectly awesome on just about every front. Shout! Factory has taken another beloved genre favorite of old, given it a beautiful Blu-ray transfer, loaded the disc with entertaining extras, and made us happy. They are the go-to company for Blu-ray horror releases right now, period.

It's a must own for us, and should be for you too.

4 out of 5 Blu Masters
Barbara Crampton didn't only bring the sexy to her role in From Beyond, she actually gave one hell of a performance, so don't just look at her like she's a piece of meat!

We offer you now some sexy pictures of Ms. Crampton, because how do you take pictures of acting talent?

1 comment :

  1. jervaise brooke hamsterMarch 30, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    I want to bugger Barbara Crampton (as the bird was in 1976 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).