I worship at the altar of the Gordon/Yuzna Lovecraft cycle, but back in November I saw the Lovecraft film I’ve been waiting for my whole life (and literally since 2015 when it was first announced!). Richard Stanley’s COLOR OUT OF SPACE is the first direct adaptation of HPL’s work to truly capture the scale, terror and awe of his cosmic horror.
I've had an odd history with Richard Stanley. When I saw HARDWARE, during it's initial theatrical run back in '91, I had a viscerally negative reaction to it. I clearly wasn't ready for Stanley's brand of gonzo genre cinema. Jump forward almost three decades and I guess I'm at just the right place to appreciate his aesthetic now, because last year I rediscovered, reappraised and completely fell for his style. In the case of HARDWARE it wasn't until my third viewing (the excellent remastered blu-ray from Ronin) that I finally "got it". After that I sprung for the beautiful German boxset of DUST DEVIL (Koch Media) and was completely blown away by that too. A viewing of Severin's LOST SOUL: THE DOOMED JOURNEY OF RICHARD STANLEY'S THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU sealed the deal. I had discovered a visionary auteur... three decades too late!
Or was it? Because the whole reason I dove into his filmography last year was in anticipation of his adaptation of COLOR OUT OF SPACE, a film that marks his comeback after a couple of decades in seclusion and semi-retirement (if you don't count his documentary work). As a Lovecraft fan, I had to see what all the fuss was about with this eccentric artist who was bringing one of the master's finest stories to life on the big screen.
COLOR has certainly polarised fans of Lovecraft's writing, but this particular one falls very solidly in the "love it" camp. I'm not going to get into a detailed review here. Suffice it to say that this film is beautiful, terrifying, nightmarish, unhinged and fucking gnarly.
And it might just be a stealthy, brilliant parable about humanity's utter disregard for (and abuse of) our planet, and the mortal peril that has placed us in.
Take my word for it, this film is probably far more satisfying than del Toro's AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS would have been, and on a tiny fraction of that failed behemoth's proposed budget. SpectreVision and Stanley have recently made public a plan to expand this project to a trilogy of Lovecraft adaptations, the next of which could very well be THE DUNWICH HORROR. This will only likely happen if people get out and support COLOR.
It's out next month, so please go see it. With a group of friends. Twice. The alpacas will thank you.