Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Resonator: Miskatonic U (Episode 1)

There is no better fictional school to study mad science than H.P. Lovecraft’s Miskatonic University. It also boasts an amazing occult archive, including a copy of the Necronomicon. It is the perfect place for the son of From Beyond anti-hero Crawford Tillinghast to study. Naturally, the son wants to complete his late father’s extra-dimensional work in William Butler’s The Resonator: Miskatonic U, a loose but still fairly faithful sequel to Stuart Gordon’s From Beyond, which debuts its first installment this Friday on Full Moon Features.

When Tillinghast fils discovered Pere’s notes, he just couldn’t resist constructing his own resonator. Of course, it worked only too well, leaving him with a friend’s body to dispose of. As a result, he had been keeping his bizarrely patient girlfriend Mara Esteban at arm’s length. However, he eventually relents and gives a demonstration of the Resonator to her and their friends, perhaps because of the aphrodisiac effects. Regardless, the entities it reveals from other dimensions remain just as evil and dangerous as they were in Gordon’s film.

Meanwhile, the Dean Wormer-like Prof. Wallace is snooping around Tillinghast’s internet activity, which is pretty damning. The first episode definitely leans into the mad science aspect of Miskatonic, enduringly represented by Dr. Herbert West, whose presence in promised in the later episode. However, the dark spirituality professed by Prof. McMichaels suggests there could very well be some metaphysical elder god business waiting in the wings too.

Either way,
Resonator is as Lovecraftian as it gets. Dane Oliver has the appropriate Westian arrogance as young Tillinghast, while Michael Pare entertainingly chews the scenery and projects withering contempt for the Gen-Z students as Wallace (his B-movie experience definitely stands him in good stead here). Plus, Alex Keener helps liven-up the mood nicely as Tillinghast’s meathead pal, Bear Johnson.

Hopefully, Gordon (to whom
Resonator is dedicated) would have been pretty much okay with it. It clearly knows its Lovecraft and checks most of the boxes. It is eccentric and amusing, in a macabre way. Recommended for fans, the (38 minute) first part of The Resonator: Miskatonic U starts streaming Friday (2/26) on Full Moon Features.