I am so excited to be able to say this but I was actually able to see the limited release film; The Color Out of Space, in theatres!
It actually ran for about a week in my city in 2019, but I was unable to catch it in time. I lost hope. For one thing, it was never advertised so I caught it on the last two days, and was already booked up. It actually happened again, where I saw people mentioning it on Reddit as being in their cities so I Googled it and saw it was back in town for one more day at one time at one theatre. So, I immediately bought tickets.
Don’t worry – this is a spoiler-free review!
A secluded farm is struck by a strange meteorite which has apocalyptic consequences for the family living there and possibly the world. – IMDB
This movie runs at a hefty 111 minutes and is based on the story of the same name, but different spelling, by H.P. Lovecraft: The Colour Out of Space. It is, in fact, one of my favourite Lovecraft stories.
The film, Color Out of Space, was released in 2019 and is a cosmic-horror film directed by Richard Stanley. It stars national treasure Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Q’orianka Kilcher, and Tommy Chong.
Fun fact: This is Stanley’s first feature film directed, and it is the first film in a trilogy of planned Lovecraft adaptations, which he hopes to follow up with an adaptation of The Dunwich Horror.
Simply put, the film follows the Gardner family. They are living on an old family farm, having moved there after the mother’s mastectomy. A meteorite crashes into their front yard and then disappears after a few days. Though it is gone, its effects are felt thoroughly and unpleasantly by the Gardners and those close to them.
While The Colour Out of Space is one of my favourite Lovecraft stories, it wouldn’t be one I would have guessed that someone would choose to adapt to film.
Why? The original source material is extremely bare on action.
For one thing, the whole story is being told to the protagonist, a hydrologist surveying the land, by someone who was a third-party to the events.
In relation to that, I can only imagine what a difficult task it was to balance being loyal to the original and making it an effective film. Honestly, I think Stanley did a great job in that regard.
The first part of the film is dedicated to developing the characters, as well as setting the film up for its climax. All the characters are unique and the whole family seems realistic and quirky, you quickly grow to love them.
After the premise of the film is set up, it does a good job of introducing action and tension – again, off source material that lacked the same. The whole film’s aesthetic is brilliant, bizarre, and beautiful.
The beginning is light-hearted, even funny, then the film quickly twists down a dark path. At the end of the film, you’ll get vibes that will remind you of The Thing by John Carpenter.
One thing I also appreciated was the film’s easter eggs, such as the news channel logo looking similar to the Elder Sign and the Necronomicon having its own appearance.
The thing is, you shouldn’t go into this movie expecting anything more than B movie quality or else you’ll be disappointed. Go in to have fun, and you will.
Those of you familiar with the 2018 film: Annihilation, might get similar vibes, and I wouldn’t blame you. When I first watched it, I honestly thought it was loosely based on the themes in Lovecraft’s story (in actuality, it is based on the novel of the same name). You have a meteorite that strikes a lighthouse and a corruption that begins to spread over the land, changing everything it touches.
I have actually been meaning to do a review of that movie but keep forgetting (great movie, lame ending!) If asked which I believe to be the better movie: Annihilation.
If asked which is the better Lovecraft adaptation: that is a tougher answer. Color Out of Space is balls to the walls nuts and has various call-outs to the source material, but is 100% B movie material. Annihilation is not a true intentional adaptation, but has better pacing and action, and touches on a lot of themes that I think Lovecraft would approve of.
If you’ve seen both, I would love your opinion below! What did you think? Which one would you peg as the better adaptation of Colour Out of Space?
x P.L. McMillan