At this year’s Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival, the final screening of the night was Stuart Gordon’s 1986 take on H.P. Lovecraft, FROM BEYOND, and the film’s star, Barbara Crampton, was there to introduce the film and take some questions from the audience.
Empire Pictures (and eventually Full Moon) and Stuart Gordon put out several loose H.P. Lovecraft adaptations that lined video store shelves throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. FROM BEYOND is a wonderfully gooey and gory body-horror flick, featuring horror royalty in DAWN OF THE DEAD’s Ken Foree, and reuniting RE-ANIMATOR’s Jeffery Combs and Barbara Crampton.
Crampton is terrific as Dr. Katherine McMichaels, playing an overly ambitious scientist who, despite pure intentions, her ego gets in the way and things end up getting gross. Crampton takes on a role — one that usually would be played by a man — with a commanding presence, and the filmmakers acknowledge early on the adversity McMichaels has faced when Foree’s character assumes Combs is the good doctor.
FROM BEYOND is a perfectly-paced midnight movie, one that was supposed to be a part of a series of Lovecraft adaptations featuring the same cast and crew, similar to Roger Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe films in the ‘60s. That didn’t happen, and if this writer were to venture a guess, Empire Pictures probably ran out of money.
At the screening, Crampton was charming and affable, and it was noticeable that the former soap opera star is loving the VHS horror renaissance that’s breathing a second life into her already impressive career.