Summer of Lovecraft: Colour from the Dark (2008)

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“It sucks the life out of you.”

Directed by Ivan Zuccon
Starring Debbie Rochon, Michael Segal and Marysia Kay

The Story

In ‘The Colour Out of Space’, a surveyor visits a blasted farm near Arkham. Unable to learn much… Wait, we covered this for Die, Monster, Die!

The Film

Rural Italy, 1943. Pietro (Segal) works his farm with the help of his wife Lucia (Rochon) and her mute, childlike sister Alice (Kay), while his brothers are at war.

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When an accident releases a mysterious glowing light from the well, it at first creates a surge of vitality. Pietro’s lame leg recovers, Alice begins to speak and Lucia gets superfreaky. Soon, however, the crops begin to wither and Lucia goes crazy, murdering a priest, then Alice, then Pietro’s brother. With Lucia pretty much withered to nothing, Pietro murders their nice neighbour and zombie Alice stalks towards the neighbour’s granddaughter.

The neighbours are briefly harbouring a Jewish woman, but she gets killed pretty early and Alice just visits her corpse every now and again.

What’s wrong with it?

The horror of ‘The Colour Out of Space’ is that of creeping decay, while Colour From the Dark is more about possessed hotties and gory, slasher killings.

A whole bunch of stuff happens and then turns out to have been a dream or a vision or who knows what.

The priest is like the worst exorcist ever, first getting put on the back step by the old sexy sexy possessed farmer’s wife ploy and then walking right up to get crucifixed in the cornea.

The exorcism is symptomatic of the film’s treatment of the ‘Colour’ as an infernal force, rocking the whole Pazazu vibe and melting Christian iconography, which puts it in a comfortable good vs evil vein that Lovecraftian horror, even ‘The Dunwich Horror’, tends to avoid.

The accents are all over the place. It might not notice if Seagal wasn’t actually Italian, but as he is it’s really weird that everyone else is English or Irish.

What’s right with it?

The credits feature three ‘Making of Guys’; I don’t know what that is, but it sounds cool. It also has an HP Lovecraft consultant/webmaster, which is less promising.

A lot of the more low key stuff is legitimately pretty creepy, especially Alice’s clown doll.

So scary even the actors don't dare to look!
So scary even the actors don’t dare to look!

How bad is it really?

I guess it’s a pretty good gory Italian slasher-horror, although that isn’t really my scene, but as often happens it’s altered enough in adaptation to be not very Lovecraftian.

Best bit (if such there is)?

In the opening segment, Alice negotiates a house where the corridors appear to be distending into the distance by holding out her doll as if to see for her.

What’s up with…?

  • The poor exorcistic protocols?
  • The sub-plot with the Jewish woman?
  • In general the neighbours, who just seem to be there to add a couple of extra victims at the end?
  • The brother, who is there for all of five minutes?

Ratings

Production values – It’s not high end, but it’s pretty decent for the kind of budget involved. 7
Dialogue and performances – The performances are actually pretty good, although the sound quality is variable so some of the dialogue is lost. There’s nothing superb in the material, but no real groaners either. 6
Plot and execution – There’s more shagging than we… I would say than we expect in a Lovecraft adaptation, but that would be disingenuous. The plot is a little bit murder by numbers, and loses tension for that, but again, isn’t terrible. 7
Randomness – The film kind of throws extra victims in, and the Jewish refugee is out of and back out to left field rather. There are also a couple of weird ‘oh, that was a dream’ bits which don’t add much. 12
Waste of potential – This is both a better film in its own lights than Die, Monster, Die!, and a better adaptation of the nigh-unfilmable ‘The Color Out of Space’, so props for that. 10

Overall 42%

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