The Color Out of Space

The Color Out of Space is an okay remake of the Lovecraft novelette of the same name. Apparently it is the third such remake. I saw one of them (The Curse) in the movies back in 1987 and recall that it starred Wil Wheaton and nothing else. Since this is a German remake, it takes place in Germany.

The framing story concerns John Davis, an American trying to find his missing father, who has vanished in Germany. He meets a man who knew his dad during the Second World War, and that man tells him a crazy story. I’m assuming the only reason John sticks around to the end is because he doesn’t know much German, although his knowledge of the language seems to fluctuate throughout the movie.

The man tells of a meteor crashing in a valley. Months later the crops are enormous, but bad; the trees seem to move, even though there’s no wind; and the family of farmers who live there succumb to an unknown illness. Something’s wrong with the water, and that something lives in the well.

The Color out of Space is filmed in black-and-white. The titular color of the title is violet. The filmmakers make a number of changes to the original story, which is fine since there’s no way the novelette can sustain a ninety minute movie. Whether those changes work is another matter. Lovecraft’s story is about ecological havoc, and the movie works best when it sticks to that theme.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the new ending of The Color Out of Space at all. I can’t say why, because spoilers. I’m not sure why I didn’t like this movie. It’s a serviceable remake, and maybe that’s the problem. When Lovecraft published his story in 1927, the concept of ecological devastation was groundbreaking, but there’s been about a million stories on the subject since then.

If you’re a Lovecraft fan, The Color Out of Space is worth a look; if not, I’d skip it.

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