Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Colour Out of Cage

Longtime readers of mine will know that one of my all-time favorite horror stories is H.P. Lovecraft's The Colour Out of Space. Unlike most of HPL's stories, it's a subtle slow-burn of a tale about a family in rural New England which is plagued by an unknown force or entity brought to their farm by a meteorite. It's a perfect example of 'cosmic horror'- the threat posed to the family is incomprehensible, indescribable (unlike most of Lovecraft's lovingly described indescribable horrors). It's also the one Lovecraft tale which is genuinely unsettling- the hints of the fauna and flora being altered and 'not quite right' are more effective than explicit descriptions would be.

This year, the story is getting the Hollywood treatment, with a film starring Nicholas Cage:

It looks to be a lot flashier than the subtle, creeping story which inspired it, but then again, it would be a hard sell to modern audiences to have a 'monster' which can only be described by allusion: The colour, which resembled some of the bands in the meteor’s strange spectrum, was almost impossible to describe; and it was only by analogy that they called it colour at all.

Given the fact that Nicholas Cage will be heading the cast, I imagine that all subtlety will go out the window. With Tommy Chong playing what appears to be a New Age loon/shaman, it's pretty much a given. I might have to go see the film, though, even though I will probably find it funnier than scary, even though the source material is the one Lovecraft story which I can't find anything to chuckle about.


Marc McKenzie said...

THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE is also one of my favorites by Lovecraft--just re-read it a few days ago. I've heard about this upcoming film version, which makes it the third or possibly fourth film adaptation of the story.

BTW, there's a Japanese heavy metal band named Ningen Isu (Human Chair) that did a song based on the story--the link to it is here:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Thanks for the link! With a name like Human Chair (a story by Edogawa Rampo), this band has got to have serious Pulp credentials.