October Countdown: Color Out of Space (2019)

October has developed the name “Spooky Season” this year, but this movie, from a story who created an entire genre of horror goes beyond Spooky to horrifying.

A podcast was describing the acting of Nicholas Cage, and had mentioned this film.  During a discussion with some friends, it was mentioned that Color Out of Space was a Lovecraft story, and that was enough to peak my interest, as Lovecraft is a well respected figure in the horror genre, and I enjoy Nicholas Cage’s antics.  While I am not typically a horror movie fan, I wanted to give this one a shot, and as October is a month for it, we get a Bureau 42 review from it as well!

 

Color Out of Space

Directed by Richard Stanley
Written by Richard Stanley and Scarlett Amaris
Based on the short story “The Colour out of Space” by H.P. Lovecraft

Cast:

Nicolas Cage as Nathan
Joely Richardson as Theresa
Madeleine Arthur as Lavinia Gardner
Elliot Knight as Ward Phillips
Tommy Chong as Ezra
Brendan Meyer as Benny Gardner
Julian Hilliard as Jack Gardner
Josh C. Waller as Sheriff Pierce
Q’orianka Kilcher as Mayor Tooma
Melissa Nearman as Reporter
Amanda Booth as Secretary
Keith Harle as Hunter Jake

Premise:

The Gardner family moves to a remote farmstead in rural New England to escape the hustle of the 21st century. They are busy adapting to their new life when a meteorite crashes into their front yard, melts into the earth, and infects both the land and the properties of space-time with a strange, otherworldly colour. To their horror, the family discovers this alien force is gradually mutating every life form that it touches—including them.   (From Trakt.)

High Point:

The story is disturbing, which is the idea, so it deserves credit for that.  It builds to its creepy moments and delivers on them.  Outside of that, Ezra is delightful.

Low Point:

Same as the high point.  Additionally, that indescribably Color Out of Space is purple.  It’s called “purple”.  A story like this would be better as a written story, because it forces the reader to imagine a color they hadn’t seen or conceptualized before, but when presenting this in a visual medium, you have to show something, and we end up dealing a color we already know.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 This is based on a book, and though many of these horror cliches may have originated with the book, by the time we get to this movie they are no longer unique.

Effects: 5/6 It feels like a lot of practical effects for the body mutations with CGI for the spread of the “Color.”  It is difficult to claim it looks good, being a horrific otherworldly monstrosity, but saying the effects can’t be enjoyed

Acting: 5/6 Is Nicholas Cage weird because the character is weird or is Nicholas Cage just weird?  He seems to be more weird when he is under the influence, so it is likely intentional, but he is at his Cage-iest at times.  It works with this story, and the rest of the cast to a good job.

Production: 5/6 The production is high quality, it feels like a big screen movie.

Story: 2/6  This score is pretty bare.  Alien lands in a rural farm and causes horror.  There are hints of more interesting elements, but nothing develops from them.

Emotional Response: 5/6 The movie overwhelms you with an emotion, though the emotion was terror.

Overall: 5/6  The movie does what it sets out to do, and does it well.  Before viewing, be sure that graphic horror is what is desired.

In total, “Color Out of Space” receives 29/42

`Lex’s Personal Notes:

  • I have not read the original story, so this review does not reflect any thing that actually comes from Lovecraft’s original story.
  • I haven’t ready any Lovecraft except the original Call of Cthulhu, but I recognize enough of the names and references that the opening monologue sounds like someone bragging abut how much Lovecraft they know.

October 3/4: Mandy (2018)

October 10/11: Cry of the Werewolf (1944) and Silver Bullet (1985)

October17/18: Color out of Space (2019)

October 24/25: Rosemary’s Baby (1968): Novel and Movie

Halloween: The Magicians (2015-2020) … or is it?

3 replies on “October Countdown: Color Out of Space (2019)”

  1. “How did this get here?” he asked, suspiciously.

  2. Damien says:

    This was one of the few Nicholas Cage movies where I felt he *over* did the hamminess, IMHO it would have worked better if he *wasn’t* hamming it up during the latter parts and instead played it more normal. That said, it was good to see this level of a horror flick being made again instead of just the typical gore fests / torture porn junk that has been way over done for the past two decades..

  3. EmptyJay says:

    I first read this story in my teens in a collection of short stories and novellas. I freaked me out something fierce. Years later when I knew who Lovecraft was and that he had written it, it all finally made sense. I just came across that book in my boxes lately, I should read this (and all the others) again.

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