Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space crash landed at Fantastic Fest 2019 with the sole intention of blowing minds and scaring the tentacles off of everyone in attendance. Fantastic Fest is almost a full festival of Midnight Madness movies and even with that in mind, Color Out of Space feels very much something from another world. Rage-Cage fans will find no shortage of reasons to love this movie but the real reason you need to see this movie as soon as you possibly can is for its genius presentation of H.P. Lovecraft’s patented “so terrifying your brain can’t possibly under it” creatures from beyond.
The Gardners have been living in their secluded family home for about a year, running away from the troubles of the big city. Theresa (Joely Richardson) is recently cancer free, her daughter Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) is dabbling in Wicca, her sons Jack (Julian Hilliard) and Benny (Brendan Meyer) are smoking pot and playing with stuffed animals, respectively, and her husband Nathan (Nicolas Cage) is dedicated to raising “The Animal of The Future”- Alpacas. One quiet night, a mysterious meteorite crashes on their property and into their lives.
“Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space crash landed at Fantastic Fest […] blowing minds and scaring the tentacles off of everyone”
As time passes, the family begin to experience fugue states, warping of time, and creepy electrical interference- Not to mention witnessing creatures that couldn’t possibly be of this world. For reasons you will understand when you see Color Out of Space for yourself, it’s a movie that could just as easily been called Richard Stanley’s The Thing. Which is only to say that if you really like the concept and creatures of The Thing (1982) I think you’re really going to like Color Out of Space. For the majority of the movie, your monster is the titular Color. It stains the lives of the gardeners and surrounds each of our characters in a horrifying hue that would look incredibly beautiful if you weren’t certain that alluring purple haze was leading you into the jaws of a colossal monster that will swallow all that you are.
I cannot get over how gorgeous this movie was to just look at. Every nighttime sequence felt like a haunted attraction I wouldn’t step foot near. The Gardner’s property is choked by fog and flooded with a haunting neon purple that makes the entire homestead feel as though it has been abducted and launched 100 million light years into the terrifying recesses of outer space. I’m that brand of nerd of subscribes to “Space Porn” subreddits, but I’m also that brand of horror fan who is secretly terrified of the unknown that exists in those clusters, forever worried that something in those photographs regards our planet with envious eyes and is slowly, and surely, drawing plans against us.
Nicolas Cage is phenomenal in the film but the problem with casting Nicolas Cage is that he will consume your movie. The movie will become a part of him, and the movie will become his. It’s like making a pack with the devil and you better be sure you are always two steps ahead of those cloven hooves. It’s an incredible talent that Cage has to make himself the most interesting person onscreen and he’s fantastically odd in the film. If you’re coming to Color Out of Space looking for that unhinged Cage-Rage you won’t be disappointed! Highlights include (but are not limited to): Nicolas Cage yelling at his family. Nicolas Cage yelling at his car. And Nicolas Cage yelling at fruits and vegetables. His high strung insanity is matched only by the eternally laid back Tommy Chong who steals every scene he’s in, including what might be the creepiest moment of the entire movie.
Color Out of Space is a passion project that Richard Stanley has talked opening about, and its clearly evident that his love of Lovecraft was the guiding light in bringing the film to life. I was fortunate enough to see the film at an early morning screening and it was an experience that set a very strange tone for the rest of the day. I was barely awake when I made my way to theatre, only to have my brains sucked out through my eye holes from the vacuum of this film’s cosmic insanity. Not to mention a final sequence who’s design and visual effects would have impressed even Stephen Hawking! I do have questions about those closing moments that I don’t think the movie fully answers but I’m not sure answers are in high supply when dealing with the mysteries of the cosmos as they creep into our lives and feast on our minds.
“my brains [were] sucked out through my eye holes from the vacuum of this film’s cosmic insanity”
Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space celebrated its U.S. premiere at the 2019 Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. Read all of the coverage of our festival HERE, and join the conversation with the Nightmare on Film Street community over on Twitter, Reddit, and in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!