The question any H.P. Lovecraft fan will have going into Color Out of Space will be how does someone, anyone, make a movie about a color that's never been seen? At the film's U.S. premiere this weekend at Fantastic Fest, director Richard Stanley proved to the crowd that it was possible.
Like Lovecraft's 1927 short, which relied heavily on analogy to describe the indescribable, Stanley often places the true horror just out of frame, letting his characters' trickling into madness tell the story. And, true to a classic horror archetype, those characters consist of a run-of-the-mill nuclear family, led by Fantastic Fest favorite Nicolas Cage as Nathan Gardner, a requisite, flannel-clad family man who’s recently moved his family out to rural Arkham, Mass., to get away from the stresses of life in the city and raise alpacas. His idyllic vision for a serene, rural life goes awry when a meteorite crash-lands on his property.
Like the best of Lovecraft’s stories, the true horror of Color Out of Space lies outside of humanity’s understanding -- and underscores the futility of our very existence when staring it down. And, while the film is littered with a few well-placed references to his larger work scattered throughout, Stanley didn't shy away from the author's less favorable qualities. The director told the crowd he used the film to acknowledge Lovecraft's well-known racism, misanthropy, and misogyny, using Color Out of Space as a way to address them.
By the time the credits rolled, it was clear that the film made quite an impression.
Color Out of Space marks Stanley's first feature since being fired from another adaptation of an iconic writer, the 1996 adaptation of H.G. Well's The Island of Dr. Moreau, as well as reunites Cage with Spectrevision, which also produced the Cage-centric Mandy. Earlier this month, Variety reported that the film was acquired by RLJE Films ahead of its premiere at TIFF. However, no theatrical release has been announced.
If you happen to be at Fantastic Fest, you can check out an encore screening of Color Out of Space Monday, Sept. 23.