Directed by Huan Vu
Starring Ingo Heise, Michael Kausch and Erik Rastetter
“The Colour Out of Space” is widely regarded as one of Lovecraft’s best stories, and despite its tricky content it’s been filmed several times. Check out our reviews of Colour from the Dark and Die, Monster, Die!
Huan Vu’s adaptation follows the basic structure of Lovecraft’s story, except that instead of a researcher on an unrelated mission, Jonathan Davis (Heise) is looking for his missing father, who he believes is in a small town in Germany he visited at the end of the Second World War. When he gets there, he slowly begins to uncover the tale of the meteorite and its effects.
What’s wrong with it?
Nothing, really — or, rather, if there’s anything wrong with the film it actually comes from the story, which is an atmosphere-heavy slow-build. Fortunately, it’s well-executed here, although it’s not something you want to put on when you want some light entertainment.
What’s right with it?
“The Colour Out of Space” is all atmosphere, and here is where it really succeeds. Even the final appearance of the colour is creepy rather than ridiculous; the black-and-white film really makes the appearance of this lurid violet seem strange and outlandish.
How bad is it really?
It’s good! It’s definitely the best adaptation of “Colour” and one of the best Lovecraft films overall.
We never have much to say in these reviews of good films, do we? Our critical apparatus isn’t quite set up for it. I will say that the opening sections are the weakest; once they get back to Germany and the film drops into German it’s much improved.
Best bit (if such there is)?
The structure of the story means that there isn’t really any one jaw-dropping moment, but I think my favourite part is the way the people who’ve been touched by the colour stare and spin, and the way the camera lingers on them. It’s just … unwholesome.
What’s up with…?
Keeping the name Nahum? It’s such a weird, New-England-y name that it’s hard to image anywhere else (although I’m sure it does exist in other parts of the world; maybe it’s just me).
Production values Still clearly a low-budget effort, but looks good overall – 8
Dialogue and performances Nothing bad, although of course it’s hard to tell in a foreign language – 4
Plot and execution Well-plotted and well-executed – 3
Randomness Other than what the story itself contains, not a lot – 3
Waste of potential A strong adaptation of quite a difficult story – 3