I saw “Color Out of Space” last night, and here are my brief NO SPOILERS thoughts on it.
“Dagon” has some competition, finally. Until now Stuart Gordon’s “Dagon” had been, to my mind, the best movie based on a story by H. P. Lovecraft that was truly Lovecraftian (unlike Re-Animator, which is fun but it’s really just HPL doing a riff on Mary Shelley and isn’t particularly Lovecraftian, despite being written by Lovecraft). “Dagon” is fun, gory and has a great atmosphere that is able to maintain a sustained Lovecraftian mood through much of the movie. It is very low-budget and rough around the edges, though.
Enter “Color Out of Space”. I wasn’t really expecting much from a a movie directed by an essentially retired B-movie director and starring Nicholas Cage, with an appearance by Tommy Chong, of all people (not the first name you think of when you think of Lovecraft).
But it works. “Color Out of Space” is a well-done, tense, atmospheric piece of filmmaking that takes great liberties with the source material but also largely stays true to it. The acting is good, even Cage’s, and he never goes Full Cage until the end, when it calls for it.
The movie never really reaches that Lovecraftian feeling of utter cosmic horror and dread until the climax, and in this I feel that “Dagon” may still be superior (if a much less polished movie). “Dagon” maintains that Lovecraftian vibe through a lot of its running time, only losing it during a torture scene that probably didn’t need to be there.
I’ll have to do some thinking on it in the days to come as to which is the better Lovecraftian experience. “Color Out of Space” is certainly the more “professional” of the two–the A-movie to “Dagon”‘s B-movie. But I’m not sure if it’s the better Lovecraftian experience, since it only reaches that point near the end.
Either way, I recommend the movie to fans of horror and certainly to Lovecraftians.