Follow the tentacles: spooky films possess Bay Area screens
At the outset research assistant Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) has finally, semi-accidentally made Dr. Pretorius' "Resonator" machine work — but its stimulation of the pineal gland opens a portal between this world and the next that is addicting and dangerous, with results that see the doc dead and Tillinghast committed to a prison psych ward. The latter is sprung, however, by Dr. McMichaels (Barbara Crampton), who returns him to the scene of the crime (accompanied by Ken Foree's cynical cop) to find out what really happened. Unfortunately, the Resonator soon appears able to turn itself on, literally and figuratively — experiencing one endless "orgasm of the mind," pervy Pretorius re-materializes again in grotesque form, as eager to mingle pleasure and pain with his unwilling visitors as Hellraiser's (1987) considerably less horn dogging Pinhead.
Luridly lit in shades of hot pink and turquoise, From Beyond doubtless would have shocked Lovecraft himself (who was from all evidence vehemently disinterested in sexual matters) with its MPAA-challenging mix of icky lasciviousness and ickier mutational gore. It's one of those rare films that starts out near climax and just keeps building toward ever greater plateaus of tasteless glee. *
"WEIRD CINEMA: AN H.P. LOVECRAFT DOUBLE FEATURE"
From Beyond, Thu/2, 7pm; The Whisperer in Darkness, Thu/2, 9:15pm, $6.50-$10
3117 16th St, SF
"AN EVENING WITH H.P. LOVECRAFT"
The Call of Cthulhu and The Whisperer in Darkness
Fri/3, 7pm, $6.75-$10.25
Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center
1118 Fourth St, San Rafael