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Let’s Talk Lovecraft & Color Out of Space

Color Out of Space 2019 Directed by Richard Stanley

As a life-long horror fan, I only recently realized that many of my favorite films have been heavily influenced by H.P Lovecraft. Movies like The Thing, The Void, In the Mouth of Madness, Event Horizon, and Prince of Darkness always stuck with me and remain some of my favorites to this day.

I love the concept of how minute and insignificant we are as humans in the vast expanse of the unknown. Where do we really fit in? I love movies that showcase the frailties and imperfections of people. Lovecraftian horror is sometimes referred to as Cosmic horror because there’s often an element of what would happen if we were to encounter alien life? How would it affect us? Would it be horrific? Gory? Would it cause madness?

For this one, I decided to read the original short story, The Colour Out Of Space (1927) and then watch the film, for comparison. The film is loosely narrated seemingly by Lovecraft himself. I have to say the film stayed fairly close the source material which was impressive. With the exception that in the short story, Nathan, or (Nahum) has three sons, no daughter. Of course reading the story and watching a modern film based on that story are two entirely different experiences. The story was dark, eerie, with un unnamed narrator explaining what happened in the small fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts when a meteor crashes and essentially poisons ALL life. Vegetation becomes inedible, animals are basically driven mad as they undergo horrific physical changes, and the people go insane and die.

It’s important to note that this was one of Lovecraft’s most popular short stories and one of his personal favorites. The story has been adapted into several movies over the years; Die, Monster Die! (1965) The Curse (1987), Color From the Dark (2008), The Colour Out of Space (Die Farbe) (2010) and then this most recent adaption starring Nick Cage with a modest twelve million dollar budget.

Now for the review:

When the meteorite first hits the Gardner farm

Rotten Tomatoes gives this film a score of 86% on the TomatoMeter and an audience score of 82%. Not bad. This was the first time in a while that I didn’t pause the movie to go get snacks or go to the bathroom. Visually, this movie was STUNNING. The use of the magenta-like color was not only gorgeous but eerie as fuck. As the Gardner’s land becomes increasingly contaminated with this bizarre color it mirrors the level of madness in the characters. Nathan (Cage) becomes increasingly crazier (Cagier) throughout the film. I have to say, Nick Cage was PERFECT for this role, and I’m not usually a fan of his work but he did a superb job in this movie. There’s also a memorable performance by Madeleine Arthur who plays daughter, Lavinia. I found her character the most intriguing as she struggles between her teenage life as a young quick-witted Wiccan and what’s happening around her. Part of her feels responsible for what’s happening to her family after performing a well intended ritual for her mother’s cancer. She seems to be the only one in the family, besides her stoner brother, Benny (Brendan Meyer) that knows they have to get away from this farm. You really root for her but then…

Poor Lavinia

There’s some pretty great shocking scenes in this film. A staple for Lovecraftian horror. The more shocking and unsettling, the better! But let’s just say there’s a scene involving Mom/Theresa (Joely Richardson) and young son Jack that will haunt your nightmares for years to come. It’s gruesome, it’s shocking, it’s spectacular! Totally Lovecraft.

And if this hasn’t made you want to watch just yet, I should mention that Tommy Chong has an unexpected yet welcome appearance in this film. Reading the character of Ezra, (Ammi) in the short story, I don’t think anyone could have played that part better than Tommy Chong who absolutely nailed it.

Tommy being… well… Tommy

I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this movie AND short story. I wasn’t this happy with a film since The Void. I keep thinking about it. That’s how you know you’ve watched a good movie, you’ll replay it for days in your head. I would definitely watch this again. Since, I have picked up the book, The Complete Fiction by H.P Lovecraft. I am currently devouring it.

5 knives out 5.

If you’d like to read the original short story, here’s a link where you can find it.

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Let’s Talk About The Void

(2016) Directed/written by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski. Produced by Jonathan Bronfman and Casey Walker (The Witch 2015)

Last week I asked for some movie recommendations, an Instagram friend suggested this. He told me if I liked 80s horror movies like John Carpenter’s The Thing and Hellraiser – with a Lovecraftian element – that I should give this a try. The Thing? Hellraiser? Lovecraft? SOLD! I love my horror with a touch of science fiction that explores how frail we truly are as human beings. I researched it immediately. I learned it was Canadian- bonus. I wondered how this title slipped by me as a Canadian, and as a horror lover. I learned it had only a budget of $82,000 – crowdfunded on Indigogo. This movie has so many fantastic and impressive special effects that I’m floored they were able to pull it all off on such a tight budget.

I don’t want to run a play by play and spoil this experience for others but I will give you the jist.

The movie starts off with a guy, James (Evan Stern) fleeing a house and escaping into the woods. His female companion isn’t so lucky. She’s gunned down by “the father and son” and then set on fire. Deputy Sherrif Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) stumbles across the guy, who appears to be pretty shaken and beaten up. Carter takes him to a nearby hospital. The building is on the verge of closing due to fire damage. It’s narrowly staffed.

Also in the hospital are:

A woman on the verge of giving birth.

Maggie and her grandfather: Ben.

An intern named Kim (Ellen Wong).

Cliff : Some random bloke who’s just there.

Nurse Beverly, head doctor (Kenneth Welsh)

…and of course the Deputy Sheriff’s wife? Ex- wife? Estranged? We don’t know yet. We know her name is Allison. (Kathleen Munroe)

The film goes for it and we’re suddenly confronted by a bloody scene involving Nurse Beverly and Cliff. Poor, innocent Cliff. (spoilers)

As Deputy Sherrif Carter tries to radio for help, he is confronted and surrounded by a bunch of hooded cultists forcing him back inside the near abandoned hospital. That’s never good. Next thing Nurse Beverly has “re-emerged” as some sort of tentacled creature. Enter “The Thing” vibes. The Father and Son arrive and they seem to know what they’re doing.

This movie really has it all. There’s blood, there’s gore, there’s creature effects, a cult, a man who thinks he has the power of God, a gory birthing scene, love, and another dimension. What else can you ask for?

I was thoroughly pleased with this movie, it was exciting from start to finish. I give it 5 knives out 5.

Images from IMDB Photo Gallery
Images from the IMDB Photo Gallery

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