I have now seen “The Color Out Of Space” (without the extra “u”), and I can dutifully report that it is every bit as amazing as you might imagine a Richard Stanley directed movie based on an HP Lovecraft story starring Nicolas Cage distributed in the January release calendar might be.
It is…something. Definitely something. Words like “good” and “terrible” seem insufficient to the task of describing it.
Here is how I can best describe it: imagine if Ken Russell re-made a Cronenberg body horror movie. And now imagine someone remaking THAT movie because they decided the Ken Russell version wasn’t excessive and over the top enough.
I like how the color out of space is basically purple. Or maybe it’s indigo. But yeah, I get it, it’s not easy to visually represent a color that’s never been seen before, kind of like it’s hard to visually represent an elder god the sight of which drives people insane.
Not only did it survive its collision with Nicholas Cage, but I think it plowed right through him! Actually, I do wish someone else had been cast, because he lapses into his weird Cage-isms a few times, and the rest of the cast is so strong, and I didn’t recognize a one of them*, so he kind of stood out more than I would have liked. But the movie handily survived its collision with Cage.
Also, this is the movie I wish Annihilation had been. I don’t mean to compare them too much, but one of them was bona fide cosmic horror and the other one felt a bit too…indulgent? Conventional? Self-consciously arty? This was also the movie I wished Mandy had been. Again, the comparisons are limited, but as far as trippy visits back to the color and tone of the 80s, Mandy sometimes felt like it was taking the piss and self-aware, whereas Color Out of Space felt like it was made by the same guy who made Hardware and Dust Devil, and probably even around the same time he made them. I mean, Jesus, the lighting and fog alone made me feel like a teenager again.
Anyway, who wants to join me and @triggercut in the Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space fan club? There’s plenty of room. Come on in. Can we get you a glass of water?
* Tommy Chong excepted, and Q’orianka Kilcher, who was unrecognizeable here, which is good, because I find her distractingly hot
I’m sorry… A Lovecraft adaptation is coming to theaters??
Those of you who’ve seen it: Is it 20% faithful to Lovecraft, or does it reach the lofty heights of 30% faithful? (I’m not saying a faithful adaptation would be a good film… but I think Colour is the best of all Lovecraft stories, so I would love to see someone try.)
It depends on what you mean by faithful. It’s not a period piece, which I think some people would include as a prerequisite for faithful. But it has none of modern horror’s reliance on jump scares or people wandering around in the woods or millennial slasher fodder. It’s also not that John Carpenter take on Lovecraftian, which you see in Mouth of Madness and the recent The Void, neither of which felt very Lovecraft to me. It’s certainly not Stuart Gordon’s sexually charged appropriation of Lovecraft’s name.
But given how it’s pure cosmic horror, and given the resolution and framing device, it feels to me very faithful to Lovecraft. Not as literally faithful as Andrew Leman’s excellent Call of Cthulhu, but to my mind, easily up there as one of the rare movies that understands Lovecraft.
One thing about Nicolas Cage, by the way: pay attention to when and why he does his first weird Cage-ism vocal bit. He’s imitating his father. It’s why the later Cage-ism moments aren’t just Nicolas Cage going off the rails.
Sounds pretty good. As much as I would love to see a wholly faithful adaptation as an aesthetic exercise (the HPL Historical Society folks basically do this, as with Leman’s CoC), I don’t actually think that would make the best and most watchable film version. So updating the time period makes sense. Unfortunately, as with a lot of the examples you cite, horror directors historically have gone way off the tracks with Lovecraft adaptations. Anyway, you’ve made me want to seek this out.
I am 100% automatically interested any sort of attempt at a quality Lovecraft adaptation, or adjacent. At least in terms of never ever revealing too much of the “unknown” because that will destroy everything.
I saw it last October at the HPL film festival in Portland. Tom’s take upthread is very spot on. It is faithful in its own way, and trigger’s comment about the combination Cronenberg/Russell homage hadn’t occurred to me, but is very apt. I liked it. But I also liked the German Die Farbe more, even though it
Wasn’t as ‘faithful’.
You didn’t recognize Joely Richardson from timeless classic Event Horizon? For shame, sir. (Okay, neither did I. I recognized her from Starz’ subpar adaptation of The Rook.) Or Julian Lillard from like five things this year (but mainly Haunting of Hill House)?
I appreciated that they used the actually published edition of the Necronomicon. And Ward was reading Algernon Blackwood’s classic (seriously, go read it) horror story The Willows.