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Review – Color Out Of Space film @colorspacemovie – it is very good and now in my top Lovecraft media list!

March 22, 2020

I’ve had a chance to see the new Color of Space film by film directed and co-written by Richard Stanley. I’m going attempt to give a no spoilers review. The film is an adaptation of Lovecraft’s The Color Out of Space story. The TL;DR review is – it’s really good, go see it! Here’s the trailer:

The film updates the setting to modern day and also changes the narrative to focus more on the interactions of the family at the center of events. What director Richard Stanley has done really well imho is show how a family of people respond to the unfathomable events around them in a range of ways, as humans tend to. As events get odder and odder, so too thier reactions become more and more incongruous. Lovecraft’s work is well known for its focus on the encroaching madness of his characters as the crushing nature of the universe is revealed to them, and what this film does so well is a very human and character-based study of how that might actually look.

The events of the film swing between horror and farce – which I think is its great power – that in the midst of the most terrifying events or in the face of death we can act with the laughter of resilience, defiance or denial.

In addition the portrayal of being itself, the color out of space, is odd in the sense that it is hard to understand how it is functioning and what is it and what is its impact on the ecosystem around it. That odd-ness is good, great even as that was at the heart of what Lovecraft portrayed in the story, a being working on a plane of reality that is utterly alien to us (and I’ve written about this before).

So the film is really good, I enjoyed it a lot and it is clearly one of the best Lovecraft adaptations out there and I’d love to see more by Richard Stanley in this setting. As such I’m now adding it to my ‘Top 5 best of Mythos, Cthulhu and Lovecraft Film, TV, Games, Stories and more… (A Work in Progress)‘ list.

With that all said a few easter eggs from the film:

One of the characters (Ward Phillips, the hydrologist) is reading ‘The Willows’ by Algernon Blackwood, which Lovecraft thought the finest supernatural tale in English literature.

Indeed the name ‘Ward Phillips’ is an easter egg, being a reference to Lovecraft himself, also a character in ‘Through the Gates of the Silver Key’ and also a character in Derleth’s The Lurker at the Threshold. He is also wearing a Miskatonic University sweater.

We also see the character Lavinia Gardner reading a number of books including The Necronomicon….

As you can see she is reading the ‘Simon’ Necronomicon, published in 1977. You can also see there The Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley. Crowley and Lovecraft are often connected in theme or fiction;

Kenneth Grant, the British occultist, disciple of Aleister Crowley … suggested in his book The Magical Revival (1972) that there was an unconscious connection between Crowley and Lovecraft. He thought they both drew on the same occult forces; Crowley via his magic and Lovecraft through the dreams which inspired his stories and the Necronomicon. Grant claimed that the Necronomicon existed as an astral book as part of the Akashic records and could be accessed through ritual magic or in dreams. Grant’s ideas on Lovecraft were featured heavily in the introduction to the Simon Necronomicon

Before I go … important announcement! Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is now out on Steam and console!… plus if you wanted our ‘Vote Cthulhu’ card game (aka Elections), it’s available now 🙂

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