From Beyond Reviews
Stuart Gordon made yet another Lovecraft inspired horror movie, between "Re-Animator" and "Dagon" and here he really nails it.
Two sceintists create a machine that enlarges the penial gland(the supposed location of the third or "mind's eye" which Descartes called "the seat of the soul" and Bataille called "the blind spot of western rationality") and are able to glimpse into an alternate dimension, laying parallell to ours, full of glowing jellyfish creatures, slugs, giant worms, swarms of buzzing things, and eels floating the air, in a diffuse purple light and pink mist. As soon as the scientists see the creatures, the creatures can see them, and before any rational discussion can be made about the breakthrough, one of their heads is bitten off. Yes, the abyss also gazes, and is hungry for brains!
Jeffery Combs has to re-create the night for the police, turning on the machine yet again, to find that the headless Dr., he was assisting, has re-constituted himself on the other side into a "new body". A sadomashocist in life, he's now a shapeshifting and extradimensional psychic, consumed with showing the world the other side of life, and extending his new pleasures to everyone he can get a tentical around. The machine causes a mix of euphoria, terror, and sexual arrousal, in those who stand within its field, which begins to overwhelm the resolve and sanity of the group to keep it turned off. "For some people 5 senses just isn't enough, I guess?", Comb's notes casually, as Barbara Crampton (another Gordon regular, isn't it nice when casts stay together?), slips into hypnosis and then into a leather bondage outfit, unable to disentangle the Dr's. Faustian desires from her own.
The special effects are awesome the slimy 80's creature shop in full effect, more for monsters though than a human body count. Though it does rack one of those up too, this is a very, very gory film. The missing link between Lovecraft and the films of John Carpenter like "The Thing"and those of David Cronenberg, like every-thing( this film owes as much to him as HP rightly, and is the conceptual bridge that allows us to see where one ended and the other left off).
The whirlwind pace of the film is all Gordon's own though, recalling the best and silliest moments of "Re-Animator", but with strange modulating fleshy monsters who never stay in one form too long. Combs puts on a noteworthy performance, with a quiet and odd intensity few actors in b-horror can manage, but which he is magnetically drawn. He looks so genuinely sad when he's finds himself eating organs in the hospital, it's an oddly emotional scene(for a few seconds anyway) another actor might not have pulled off. The final fight between the two Dr.'s from within the same body mass, also nods to "Tetsuo: Iron Man" and the living Blob in "Akira", soon to come.
Like "Dead Alive" and "NightBreed" this has become one of my favorite 80's horror and films in general. It's "The Thing" with all of the supsense and paranoia gutted, while their entrails slither away into a corner screeching. "Altered States" if the monkey version of William Hurt had climbed the empire state building, after declaring himself a newly enlightened God. It's a film that's so excessive, propulsive, andd freakishly explosive it demands attention, beyond the level of mere story, and holds it at level of macabre and slime streaked craft. I watched this again after I finished it (this was my first time, and the directors cut seems the way to go. Gordon had to make many a cut to get it down to an R for theaters). They don't make em like this no more.
The choice of colors in this film was bizarre, who uses bright pink lighting through out the near entire duration of a film?
Stuart Gordon that's who!
The acting was pretty solid in the film since there was quite a bit of dialogue, there were some corny parts like Jeffrey Combs in the mental hospital.
"it bit his head off like a ginger bread man." that was just... weird and I was not sure if it was supposed to fill me with the dread of creatures from beyond because it just gave me a weird mental image.
Seeing Barbara Crampton in leather and dominatrix gear was interesting, she went from being molested by a severed head to molesting Jeffrey Combs in his sleep.
Ken Foree has some very interesting scenes.. in his underwear.. where we the audience get to see his massive package.
That'll be ingrained in my mind for way too long.
Other than a few weird things that kind of took away from the horror of the film it was really quite scary and gross in some parts.
Gross in a good way mind you, its always nice to see Carolyn Purdy-Gordon get killed in a film, since she plays the bitchy type really well.
The special effects were really interesting and unique and I love the ending, can't think of a better or more bizarre way to end a film.
Very cool and very Stuart Gordon.