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Review From Beyond (1986): Definitely more going on than sticky tentacles.

genre: lovecraftian, horror, science fiction

Dr. Edward Pretorius and his assistant, the physician Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) have been experimenting with the pineal gland in order to stimulate the sixth sense. One of their experiments doesn't go exactly as planned and has devastating consequences for both Pretorius and Crawford.

Pretorius ends up dead and Crawford gets locked up in a mental asylum because the authorities believe he is responsible. Then Dr. Katherine McMichaels (played by Barbara Crampton) takes him in her custody to give him a chance of proving he is innocent. Secretly though she is more interested in the experiment than curing Crawford. Even Crawford himself doesn't want to participate because of the dangers he could unleash. But Katherine is adamant and insisting that nothing will happen. Bubba Brownlee (Ken Foree) is the cop tasked by keeping an eye on the two. The poor guy of course has no idea what he gotten himself into. Because from the moment they set in the house things go crazy real fast. 

This craziness could be interpreted as laughable or comedic. However one could also take it seriously and embrace the dread this cosmic horror is confronting you with. The practical special effects might look weird and cheap at first they are hugely effective. It doesn't take much imagination to believe all of the events could be real. Think about it. A special machine or device makes you see things you normally wouldn't see. Actually more than that. Suddenly these hideous creatures from another dimension are able to come at you and hurt you or worse. The idea of these creatures being out there and only needing a machine to get exposed should terrify you. Especially since they also have the power to manipulate your essence. I am aware that Lovecraft purists have problems with the light approach in this adaptation. But with all respect I think they are missing the fact that a lot is packed in the film. It's far more mature than given credit for. And it benefits from not explaining of what is going on and who these creatures are. But anyone who has dabbled in Lovecraftian horror will know. 

Overall From Beyond is a blast from beginning to end. It manages to do so much in little time. For example it celebrates the wonders of science while at the same time the humans are criticized for exploiting it. It also exposes you to some social commentary concerning mental health. So yes, there is definitely more going on than sticky tentacles.

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