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Arkham, 1975: Jonathan Davis' father has disappeared. His tracks lead to Germany, to the Swabian-Franconian Forest where he was stationed after the Second World War. Jonathan sets out to find him and bring him home, but deep in the woods he discovers a dark mystery from the past. Based on H.P. Lovecraft's short novel ""The Color Out of Space"".
I've recently found myself re-reading Lovecraft's works and found that new productions, bringing his stories to film, were available. This story was one of my favorites. Whatever you may think of his writing, Lovecraft set a standard that was, and still is, employed by authors of gothic and horror fiction. Most attempts at translating his works to film have been dismal abominations. Although there are major changes and important elements left out, overall this German production worked for me as a small budget homage to the original story. The first few minutes are the only real detraction due to some dreadful acting by a character who, fortunately, has no re-occurring appearances. Afterwards, the acting is in keeping with any larger budget flick. The effects are minimal but several are quite creepy and work very well in the black and white format. The horror could have been intensified and extended if certain elements of the original story had been included but thank goodness we have this much. I find it laughable whenever I hear about the considerable inability to translate Lovecraft to film when it's been done in so many movies with obvious 'borrowings' from his descriptives yet with rare acknowledgement. This is worthy of any Lovecraft fan. Give us more!
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The Color Out of Space is considered to be H.P. Lovecraft's most unfilmable work largely because Lovecraft often wrote of things "beyond description" or that human language lacked the ability to convey. So when I heard that an independent filmmaker in Germany had tackled the work, my expectations weren't very high. After watching The Color Out of Space (originally titled Die Farbe which is German for The Color) I came away extremely impressed. The filmmaker managed to capture the eerie feeling of Lovecraft's story which is something that is very hard to do, only a couple of films out there have managed to pull that off.
Purist and hardcore fans of H.P. Lovecraft's work will complain about some changes that were made to the story, including one at the end. I loved the twist that's included near the conclusion. It both surprised and shocked me, which doesn't happen very often. Fans of Lovecraft and independent horror should find The Color Out of Space well worth seeking out.
I also liked that it included a Limited Edition Exclusive Newspaper Cover from the film. One side in German(where the film takes place), and translated in English on the other side.
If you are enjoying the 'Mythoscope' retro-styled films of the HPLHS you will want to see DIE FARBE, a German adaption of THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE (as of course the gentleman from Providence would have insisted it spelt!).
Shot in sumptious B&W with a very competent cast and clever effects, Huan Vin shows that he is a talented director and writer that clearly understands HPL's vision of otherwordly horror that relies largely on suspense and concept rather than outright violence. In relocating the story to rural Germany the story loses very little from the original, and the inclusion of WW2 takes it into another direction entirely.
The first five minutes are a little poorly realized with some very noticeable green-screen that took me back to the Color Seperation Overlay technique of the 70s, but once the filming shifts to almost entirely location-work in the German countryside the production does not make a wrong step. It looks terrific with atmospheric locations and period design.
In all it has impressive acting, music and visuals and is a superb compliment to Whisperer in Darkness if you want to run your own HP Lovecraft Festival at home!
Hopefully Huan will be making more adaptions in the future because it is clear from the extras that he is a huge fan of HPL.
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I'm not a huge Lovecraft fan but this is probably among the more faithful and restrained movies based on his stories - most of which have proven notoriously difficult to adapt well. It's nothing like the over-the-top Jeffrey Combs movies (although "Re-Animator" is a fun campy cult classic horror flick, and Combs is to Lovecraft as Vincent Price was to Poe). The story is based on Lovecraft's notion that a "real" extraterrestrial visitor would be unlike anything we can conceive of and certainly wouldn't be in humanoid form. A very difficult concept to tackle but handled well here. (Stephen King basically swiped Lovecraft's concept for "The Tommyknockers", one of the few King novels I really liked.)
The intro seems awkward due to some stilted acting by one character, but about 5-10 minutes into the movie it settles into a disquieting groove. No gore, no screaming, no cussing - just a grinding sense of unease and tension. The main actors are quite good and you'll quickly forget you're watching a very low budget movie - assuming you're not expecting a slam-bang gorefest.
If you're into indie and oddball stuff and have the patience for the pacing it's quite good for a low budget, b&w digital video movie. Give it a chance, especially if you just enjoy studying how low budget movies are made, and the techniques used to overcome the usual audience expectation of a "film-like" look.
The monochrome conversion wasn't entirely satisfactory. Apparently in order to insert color later Vu desaturated most of the movie, and at least on streaming video the monochrome shifts between slightly magenta and greenish. It doesn't appear to be a deliberate choice to reflect Lovecraft's description of the "blasted heath" and affected area as appearing in other-worldly but faded colors.Read more ›