Films That Deserve a Remake: 'From Beyond'
Stuart Gordon’s 1986 offering, From Beyond was a fantastic film. It’s the kind of picture that – while dated – still holds up for an entertaining viewing today, nearly 30 years after release. The script was handled with care, Jeffrey Combs juggles reason and random maniacal behavior wonderfully, Ken Foree turns in one of his warmest and most appealing performances and Ted Sorel is flat out disconcerting as the vile Dr. Edward Pretorius.
As much as she should be appreciated for her genre contributions, Barbara Crampton is noticeably outshined in this effort. But, to be fair, she’s toeing the line with some special talent, and falling short in the company of Combs and Foree isn’t detrimental to a career.
Remarkably, From Beyond’s makeup effects still impress. Could they be tightened up with a clean but subtle touch of digital work and a quality practical effects technician on hand? Yes, they absolutely could. The beauty there however is the fact that practical work will still get the job done, digital would not be a mandatory addition, so much as a small supportive angle.
So, for a quick recap, we can comfortably say that From Beyond is still an engaging film that looks good, is for the most part well-acted, and summons a few genuine scares thanks to fine execution and a well-written story, based loosely on the work of H.P. Lovecraft. If this film is never remade, we as horror fans won’t lose anything.
However, there is indeed good reason to shoot a contemporary take on this fan favorite.
The lone area of weakness affixed to From Beyond is its inability to remain at the forefront of fan’s minds. Ask a 40 year old dedicated genre fan about the picture and they’ll likely have plenty of compelling thoughts to share. Ask a 20 year old dedicated follower of dark cinema and you may get little more than a puzzled look in response. The film hasn’t caught on with younger generations.
Part of the issue may stem from the footage cut from the original film. For years certain sequences were omitted from the film in order to appease the MPAA and garner an R-rating. In fact, the spliced footage wasn’t reinserted until the film had been on the market for approximately 20 years. The director’s cut didn’t even make it to disc until 2007. Unfortunately, by 2007, many who once cherished From Beyond had seemingly all but forgotten it.
The lengthy delay to the Blu-ray medium likely hasn’t helped the flick’s cause either. This one wasn’t available in restored format for the Blu-ray until March of this year. The prolific team over at Scream Factory finally ushered out an unrated rendition of the film in a BD/DVD combo pack, but was it too late to seize the attention of younger generations?
Furthermore, one must wonder: had the film hit Blu-ray a few years back when the upgraded platform was initially introduced, might it have drawn more eyes? Let’s face it, while Blu-ray certainly offers a crisper picture, improved sound and often extra disc supplements, there’s also a bit of status to BD. The cool kids have monster DVD collection, the cooler kids have monster Blu-ray collections. That’s just the nature of technological advancements.
The truth is we’ll never know if From Beyond would have earned a more prominent place in history had it not been chopped to bits, or had it hit discs in uncut format years earlier than it did. This may simply be one of those rare gems that finds itself less appreciated with time.
And that’s exactly why a new demographic deserves to see this one remade. I’m not a big proponent of remakes, as a vast majority seem completely uncalled for. But this is one of those really rare instances in which a film should be remade. Not because it was a miserable production the first time around, but on the contrary, because it was fantastic. And still, hordes of followers have allowed one of Gordon’s finest offerings to slip quietly into the cracks.
Sometimes, whether we purists like it or not, films require a reboot. More often than not most prefer to see a mediocre film improved upon, but from time to time, a movie like From Beyond comes along; excellent in its original format, but missed by far too many.
It’s time to see From Beyond rehashed by another capable director and a top shelf cast. Let’s inform these youngsters that there’s a stellar picture out there in waiting. If it takes a modern spin to compel audiences to revisit an aged masterpiece, so be it.
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