Nic Cage, Lovecraft Make ‘Color Out Of Space’ Perfect B-Movie Combo

Well, it had to happen at some time in his career. Nicolas Cage would sooner or later appear in an adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story. To add some extra flavor to this match-up is that it’s co-written and directed by that crazy son of a bitch Richard Stanley. While some may not know who that name is, he was the original director on the 1996 clusterfuck The Island of Dr. Moreau before he was fired and replaced by John Frankenheimer. It’s been reported Stanley was so pissed about being booted from the director’s chair, he got the special effects team to make him up as one of the animal-human hybrids so he could remain in the background.

Now, I don’t know if this is true. I hardly think someone could’ve have remained in make-up for many days if not weeks on a set without it wearing down. And surely, someone must have thought to say something to Stanley. How did he play it off he was someone else. I mean, the make-up helps, but to go through that much of a length is something that Cage would’ve done.

That makes the two the perfect pairing. This is Stanley’s first time at directing in more than 20 years. It is not the first adaptation of Lovecraft’s “The Colour Out of Space.” There was Die! Monster Die! in 1965 and then there was The Curse in 19897 starring Claude Akins, Wil Wheaton and John Schneider. I didn’t know that after the latter ging in. But halfways through watching this movie, I began to notice similarities and did a quick Google search and I was right. I didn’t care for The Curse and reportedly neither did Wheaton who has said he was forced to make it by overbearing parents.

Lovecraft’s story has had other adaptations from European filmmakers and even some have said the movie Annihilation had similar elements even though it was based on a separate novel. Filming took place in 2019 in Portugal and this movie was released prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in January 2020 which must have attributed to its failure at the box office despite getting some good reviews, which was a rarity for Cage as he was mostly doing direct-to-video work throughout most of the 2010s.

Set in rural Massachusetts, the movie centers around Nathan Gardner (Cage) and his family. Nathan has returned to his father’s farm to raise alpacas, which he thinks will be the future of livestock. His wife, Theresa (Joely Richardson) is a businesswoman who is recovering from a double masectomy but working remotely. His daughter, Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) is a Wiccan. Nathan and Theresa have a teenage son, Benny (Brendan Meyer), and a younger son, Jack (Julian Hilliard).

One night, a metoerite lands outside the house and gives off a magenta light. They contact the authorities. Also arriving at the farm is Ward Phillips (Elliot Knight), a hydrologist and surveyor for a dam company which is looking to dam up a nearby river and use the dam for hydroelectricity. Ward and Lavinia had briefly met earlier when she was doing a Wiccan ritual. And the next day, the meteorite just disappears.

Eventually, Ward notices the groundwater has an oily sheen and tests it. He later warns Lavinia and her family not to drink the water as well as bringing this to the attention of a squatter, Ezra (Tommy Chong), who lives on the property. Why he is squatting and why they still allow him is never really addressed. Soon afterweird things start happening. Nathan begins to get more agitated and angry resulting in a true Nic Cage overacting moment. Theresa zones out while cutting carrots and accidentally slices parts of her fingers off. Lavinia starts feeling sick to her stomach. Jack begins to weird himself.

Of course this all leads to some crazy stuff happening in the final act that I won’t reveal here. There are hints of John Carpenter’s The Thing but done in a different style along with Cage resulting in his manic crazy freakouts. The movie begins with him playing a simple square family man and ends with him going off the deep end the only way Cage can and get away with.

Cage’s career has had some rebounds in recent years with the brilliant Pig and the latest self-parody The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. It’s been reported he had to make all those direct-to-video movies to pay off some of his massive debts and monies owed to the IRS. His own style of acting has birth countless memes and online videos. He seems just at home in a movie like this.

What’s surprising about it is how well Stanley does it and how Cage slowly goes from Ward Cleaver to Jack Torrance as the movie progresses. Audiences may not like it because sci-fi/horror is always hit or miss with the general public. If you can find this movie, I’d advise checking it out. It’s currently streaming on Shudder.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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