Title: Color out of Space
Director: Richard Stanley
Writers: Scarlett Amaris, Richard Stanley, HP Lovecraft
Distributed by: RLJE Films
American Release Date: 1/24/2020
Category: Lovecraftian movies
I’m a little skeptical about Lovecraftian movie adaptations. I think weird fiction is challenging to bring to the screen, although it has been done satisfactorily on a few occasions. I’m not a huge movie buff and I never watched anything directed by Richard Stanley before. So, I went into the movie with low expectations. I read a few fan reviews that were generally positive: its campy, Nicholas Cage yells about Alpacas, it doesn’t have mainstream appeal. That gave me some hope that it was going to be good. I don’t care if something doesn’t have mainstream appeal! Hollywood churns out hundreds of boring “mainstream” movies every year, there is certainly room for a few weird movies for the rest of us.
All of the characters in the movie are very memorable and over the top. Nicholas Cage’s acting is very dramatic, but in a good way. He plays up the dad trying to deal with an out of control situation by acting like everything is under control while slowly losing his sh*t. Tommy Chong’s weird hippie character, Ezra, was probably my favorite, but I really liked the goth teenage daughter, Lavinia, as well. Also, the animal actors: The alpacas, the horse,the dog, and the cat really added to the movie! Lets not forget about the color! It was bright, beautiful and weird!
There was a good mix of silliness and horror, which nicely balanced each other out. There was a lot of nods to Lovecraft fans, from the characters names to the reading material the characters were holding. I could tell that the writers and directors knew and loved the source material. I saw a pre-release version which included a Q&A with the director and the actors after the movie. When asked about reading the source material Stanley replies without hesitation, “All my life.” He also discussed working on his next movie, an adaptation of The Dunwich Horror.
The movie does a great job of bringing The Colour Out of Space to the modern day. There were parts that reminded me of Annihilation, which is to be expected as there are many similarities between the two movies. In fact, there was a scene in Color that I felt portrayed a scene in the book Annihilation better than the Annihilation movie. I also felt the certain scenes reminded me of the Mothman Prophecies, which also details an alien species interacting with people in a small town.
Overall, I really liked it. It has a cult classic B-movie feel but doesn’t ever feel like it’s trying too hard. Stanley does a great job of conveying a sense of cosmic dread while at the same time having an enjoyable movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Its a movie made by a true HP Lovecraft fan and it shows.