If you saw Nicolas Cage in the movie Mandy from last year, you’re aware of just how much rage and desperation the often ineffable actor can put into an intense role. Now imagine that same ferocity coupled with the godfather of cosmic horror and you have an idea of what we might be getting in the new film Color out of Space. The news was announced via press release on Wednesday and what’s even more interesting is the movie will be produced by Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision, which also made Mandy, and will be directed and co-written by infamous filmmaker Richard Stanley.
Color out of Space is an adaptation of the 1927 H.P. Lovecraft short story “The Colour Out of Space” about a meteorite crashing on a farm in rural New England and the strange, unknowable, shapeless thing that comes out of it, slowly mutating and killing all life around it while manipulating space-time in the process. It’s one of Lovecraft’s best loved stories, and certainly one of his most beloved science fiction stories, though of course there’s a hefty helping of existential dread. The short story has been adapted a few times over the years, first as the Boris Karloff film Die, Monster, Die! in 1965, then as a Wil Wheaton movie called The Curse in 1987. Several low-budget projects have been made of the story, including the 2010 German film Die Farbe.
It’ll be interesting to have a movie based on the story come out so soon after Annihilation. Though that film is based on the novel by Jeff VanDerMeer, it strays considerably in execution and writer-director Alex Garland incorporates several plot elements from “Colour,” making it, in our opinion, one of the best Lovecraftian movies ever made.
Stanley, for his part, is one of the more notorious filmmakers of the past 30 years. After getting much acclaim for his indie sci-fi/horror films Hardware (1990) and Dust Devil (1992), he was the original director for the 1996 movie The Island of Dr. Moreau, though he was replaced by veteran John Frankenheimer after several weeks. The strange and complicated story of that movie’s plagued production is the subject of the excellent 2014 documentary Lost Soul.
SpectreVision partner Daniel Noah commented “Lovecraft is the dark father of modern horror, and we have been searching for an adaptation that captures the true scope of his cosmic dread for years. Richard Stanley – a wizard in his own right – will at long last bring Lovecraft’s humbling power to the screen unfiltered.”
Major films directly based on Lovecraft stories have been few and far between in recent years, though several filmmakers (like John Carpenter and Guillermo del Toro) have cited the writer as a major influence and used his themes in their films. Del Toro also, infamously, nearly got a big-budget adaptation of Lovecraft’s novella At The Mountains of Madness off the ground but stopped after Ridley Scott’s Prometheus touched on similar themes. Maybe, if Stanley’s film coming on the heels of Annihilation does well, we might finally see higher profile Lovecraft movies.
Images: SpectreVision, Paramount, H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society
Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Twitter!