‘Color Out of Space’ brings a new color to horror

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Miles Beckston Kiernan, Section Editor of Arts and Entertainment

H.P. Lovecraft is arguably one of the most iconic horror writers of all time. The timeless mythos that he built has haunted generations of readers. With the staggering success of his writing, some people wonder what his work would look like on the big screen. 

 

Recently, fans of Lovecraft received an answer to that question from horror director Richard Stanley. Color Out of Space, an adaptation of Lovecraft’s short story The Colour Out of Space, is a psychoactive, trippy mix of science fiction and horror. 

 

The film stars Nicolas Cage as Nathan Gardner, Madeleine Arthur as Lavinia, and Elliot Knight as Ward. The overall cast is small but stellar, including an appearance from comedy legend, Tommy Chong. 

 

The film follows the life of Nathan Gardner and his family as they live out their lives in secluded farmland in the town of Arkham. Life gets upturned when a meteor falls in the middle of their yard, and then promptly disappears.

 

Unbeknownst to them, it was a vessel for a life form from another world. The being is beyond the comprehension of the human eye, and can only be seen as a new spectrum of color. As the life form infects them, the Gardner family’s minds slowly deteriorate and plunge into a colorful nightmare. 

 

Being a fan of Lovecraft, I went into this movie skeptical of the justice it would do for the story. The director himself, Richard Stanley, stated “Color Out of Space was actually Lovecraft’s favorite work of his own material,” so there were naturally going to be high standards held for the film.

 

However, I am happy to say I was pleasantly surprised by the direction Richard Stanley took the film. 

 

As the farm changes, plant and animal life that doesn’t seem earthly starts to flourish and spread. The visuals in this part of the movie were absolutely spectacular. Seeing the beauty of the Color’s world before witnessing the horror that followed was very refreshing. “The way all the flora and fauna begins to transmogrify, I think, is relevant and I think it continues to be relevant to what’s happening now with various effects on nature,” said the star of the film, Nicolas Cage. 

 

As the movie continued, I started to realize that my favorite part of the whole thing was how strange Nicolas Cage can be, and how unhinged he becomes. It may not come as a surprise, since Cage is known for taking on rather bizarre roles.

 

His role as Nathan Gardner, however, is a delicate tightrope act between a man trying to raise his kids and alpacas, while also dealing with some issues with his father from the past, making it all the more heartbreaking to see him go off on his family as he descends into madness. 

 

Overall, Color Out of Space was an emotionally riveting, yet vibrantly disturbing film. I felt like I had been whisked away as I watched an observed what can only be described as a technicolor nightmare.