Based on the H.P. Lovecraft story “The Colour Out of Space”, this 2019 sci-fi horror marked the return of director Richard Stanley after a 23 year absence from the big chair.
It’s a weird movie, incorporating as much of Lovecraft’s twisted creation as possible without including his overripe, occasionally off-putting narrative style. In that sense, Color Out of Space is an outstanding success, bringing the classic sci-fi horror story to life in a refreshingly modern setting.
Colour Out of Space is almost neo-gothic in its presentation; with a small, tight cast of characters living isolated among the woods outside of the small town of Arkham, Massachusetts.
After establishing a uniquely interesting family of original characters, the action soon begins when a strange meteorite lands on the Gardner’s property. The problem lies in the story’s very nature; the narrative leaps from the page due to its incomprehensible nature, and committing the idea to film will never truly do the premise justice. The story calls for the titular “colour” to exist outside of humans’ visible spectrum, which – of course – the movie simply can’t ever have communicated to its audience. Instead, we see a phosphorescent magenta permeate nearly every scene of the movie from this point on, making for a trippy, fever-dream sort of experience.
Color Out of Space‘s cast deliver a round of great performances, with a special mention going to the perpetually erratic and creatively genius Nicolas Cage, whose performance perfectly melds nuance with screaming lunacy, giving the horror of the story an extra layer in the process.
While many of the visual effects are impressive, their extensive use is a little jarring on the senses – particularly when it comes to the movie’s climax, which seemed to be little more than several minutes of painfully bright flashing pink lights.
Color Out of Space also manages to incorporate an impressive amount of Cronenberg-esque body horror which is very much in line with Lovecraft’s original story, something that also sets the movie apart from your average spookfest. It’s not your traditional horror story, nor is it a traditional sci-fi tale, but it manages to retain elements of each in order to tell a unique, unforgettable story.
It might be a little heavy-handed in places, and a little confusing in others, but overall, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience that you’ll have a hard time forgetting.
Summary: A Lovecraftian sensory onslaught, Color Out of Space is every bit as insane as the performance of it’s star, yet somehow it all comes together in a bafflingly enjoyable manner.