October is here, finally! My precious and precocious Blair and I have been waiting for years, it seems. The cooler air makes the scents of autumn waft ever so sweetly through the bunker – the dying leaves, the smoke from the fireplace, the rot of the forest as it turns. I don’t want to identify the scents from Richard’s room, or Crystal Dawn’s, for that matter. But, this is nice. Comforting. It puts me in the right mind frame for both communing with the spirits and watching movies designed to gross or creep their viewers out…and my mother’s hot chocolate recipe.
That said, everyone loves Nicholas Cage. Right? I’m sure I haven’t just been rewired to believe that, the ritualistic required family viewings of National Treasure once a month absolutely had no impact on my opinions. Okay, well. Space. Monsters. Weird colorful shit. THAT’S at least something everyone loves. Pick one. Now add Nicholas Cage. I’m absolutely not repeating that because it was the primary factor in me watching Color Out of Space, not in the slightest.
It’s based off of HP Lovecraft’s story of the same name, and all controversy aside, he writes some damn good creatures. Or in this case, colors. That’s right, while packed with plenty of wondrous body horror, the main ‘villain’ (if you can even call it one, but no spoilers here) is the color. From space. That’s the title, get it now?
The Gardner family, comprised of Nathan (Cage), Theresa (Joely Richardson), Levinia (Madeleine Arthur), Benny (Brendan Meyer), and Jack (Jullian Hilliard), live out on a fairly isolated farm. It’s clear from the get-go they have regular familial troubles, mom has cancer, dad drinks, daughter is witchy and rebellious, older son is always off smoking weed, and then little Jack is the baby. Ordinary stuff. But then everything ramps up when a meteor crashes into the Gardners’ front yard, in a sequence of colors mixed with every emotion coming from the various family members. This crash brings in the whole circus of cops, mayors, news stations, and a hydrologist studying water nearby- Ward Phillips (Elliot Knight). As the closest thing to a scientist they have on call, the family looks to him for advice on the space rock.
As the film rolls on, storms blow in, with lightning striking the meteor and causing more flashes of color. The color leaks out, and the sky turns beautiful shades as it pours rain, but everything else changes too. The farm begins to resemble what I’d call more akin to Dr Seuss illustrations, with unearthly neon pink flowers blooming and bright blue vines climbing trees. The fruit is mutated too, which leads to an incredible Nicholas Cage scene, might I add. Ward, however, notices the water’s been changed too- it has this oil slick sort of glow to it, glinting in rainbows occasionally in glasses or the well. And the well, Jack becomes fixated on. When a little kid becomes attached to an inanimate object in a movie, you know it’s never good news (hello, Poltergeist?).
Environments change, emotions come to boil, and then the Color starts to change the living beings as well – starting with the farm’s alpacas in something resembling Carpenter’s The Thing. The family is then assimilated of sorts by the Color, in ways I will leave up to you to view yourself. Eventually, the Color even starts to alter time. I feel like these kinds of movies with such a weird plot/villain/monster (all of the above?) are always hard to wrap up, at least without an open ending. However, Color Out of Space ends as it should. The viewer is still left with some interpretation to make, but the clear take away is Don’t Drink the Water.
It’s really a beautiful movie (am I allowed to call something with guts and gore pretty? Because it is so.), and while you do have to be patient for the real collapse of sanity, the anxious buildup isn’t dull – it plays as sort of a drama, and then BAM weird space shit. Honestly an ideal movie in my opinion. I’ve rewatched it since it’s release and would heavily recommend it to those who like things a little more sci-fi, but with a splash of horror. And there’s plenty of pretty colors and a phenomenal soundtrack.
So personally, I will continue to benefit from Cage’s curse he brought upon himself (he played with voodoo and lost his fortune, bought Marie Lavaeu’s home, lost his tombstone, yada yada. Google is free friends) as long as it continues to bring ME these amazing movies he is financially obligated to agree to. Anyways, I got lots of movies to watch, and Blair is going to eventually learn how to quantum tunnel with the speed runs she’s doing into walls so I gotta put a halt on that for now. I’m sure she’s just after whatever is making that squeaky noise in Richard’s room.