Friday, October 31, 2014

The Color Out of Space (2010)

As most of you know, I’m a fan of H.P. Lovecraft and his style of horror fiction. His works get adapted into films pretty regularly these days, but it is rare that you get a film that sticks to close the source material. There are plenty of reasons for this (and I could spend a whole blog babbling about it), but most of the time us Lovecraft fans have to settle for something “inspired” by the writer instead of getting an actual adaptation. That is why I was pretty excited to see this film; one that I heard was very close to the original tale of terror.

In the year 1975 Jonathan Davis (Ingo Heise) leaves his home in Arkham to seek out his father who was last seen somewhere in Germany. Jonathan meets up with Armin Pierske (Michael Kausch) who tells him a tale about the little village where his father was last seen. During World War II a meteorite fell into one of the fields owned by a farmer named Nahum Gartener (Erik Rasetter). Gartener calls the university and they send some professors over to study the meteorite. It exhibits some very odd properties. It seems to remain hot even as the metallic object evaporates over time. Most bizarre are the globules of color that appear in the center of the meteor – a color no one has ever seen before or can even describe.

Eventually the meteor dissolves into nothingness, but the Gartener’s farm begins a strange metamorphosis. Crops grow to enormous size, but taste horrible. Animals begin to mutate or shun the area. The family notices the trees appear to move without any wind. Pierske maintains contact with the family but fears they are losing their minds. Eventually the war brings soldiers. One of them is Dr. Davis (Ralf Lichtenberg) an American medic who becomes tied to the final revelation of The Color Out of Space.

Good Points:
  • A very faithful adaptation of the Lovecraft story
  • Minor changes to setting and characters help enhance the film
  • Moody and effective black and white cinematography

Bad Points:
  • The low budget hinders a few of the larger scale concepts
  • Moves at a slow measured pace to build up terror
  • Looking for a traditional horror film – look elsewhere

It takes an independent German film to finally do justice to one of Lovecraft’s most interesting mixes of horror and science fiction. The result is a movie that takes time building up the dread until you can almost taste it. While some of the more horrifying visuals are compromised by a low budget, the film makes up for it with some lovely and disturbing cinematography. The cast does a fine job (although I had to judge based on a subtitled performance). All in all, this is a great find for Lovecraft fans and will work for anyone looking for something a little different for their Halloween Horror fest.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 4
Sound: 4
Acting: 4
Script: 5
Music: 3
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. “The Colour Out of Space” (HP, for whatever reason, preferred British spelling) is one of the author’s essentials. Any anthology of SF/Fantasy that includes one short story by Lovecraft is likely to contain this one. It’s been adapted to film a couple times in disguised form and not altogether successfully, but I wasn’t aware of this version. Thanks for the heads-up.

    1. You are correct on that one. "The Colour Out of Space" was the first H.P. Lovecraft story I ever heard of. I had a book about movie monsters that referenced it near the end (the author just started talking about his favorite monsters in general). He said it was one of the scariest things he'd ever read. Now, i was a kid when I got this book so it really fired my imagination.

      But I didn't read any Lovecraft until years later. That particular story was't in the first compilation of his work that I picked up. But I did get around to reading it, and yeah, it is one of his best stories. This film version stays very true to the story but keeps everything very cinematic too. That is usually the trickiest part with Lovecraft.

  2. I haven't heard of this film either. I'll have to see if Netflix has it available, as I'm a fan of Lovecraft too. Of the adaptations I've seen of his, I've enjoyed Re-Animator, From Beyond, Dagon, and The Dunwich Horror. Necronomicon caught some of his atmosphere too, but lower in budget.

    1. They definitely have it on Amazon Prime, which is how I saw it. Nice to see you liked "Dagon". that one really splits the Lovecraft fans for some reason, but I thought it was a really good adaptation and had some creepy and disgusting moments. I need to see "From Beyond", I've only seen clips from it an it looks like a blast.

      If you get a chance seek out "Call of Cthulhu" from 2005. I really like that one. They did it in the style of a silent film from the 1920s and it works wonderfully.

  3. I have seen Call of Cthulhu, and yeah, it's done well for being so low budget, but works on a lot of levels.