Poisoned Earth pt 4 (The Color Out of Space, 2020)

Color_Out_0f_Space_2020_PosterRichard Stanley has returned after nearly a 20 year absence from theatrical filmmaking. And I must say, it is a welcome return.

Using a modern setting, Stanley and writer Scarlett Amaris stick closely to the source material.  The meteorite falls near their home and starts to infect the land around them.  The trees seem to have an unearthly sway and there is beautiful unearthly lights.

The family’s youngest son starts to hear a voice from the family well.  There are weird noises and the animals start to behave in an odd fashion.

I like that the family in the film is in less conflict with each other.  It really sells the terror that they seem to really love and care for each other. Cage gives a really good performance here, not as bombastic as Mandy, but very much a man trying to protect his family in the face of a pending implosion.

The effects are quite good, and Stanley shows a real understanding of how to use digital to enhance his practical effects.

The Color Out of Space is a strong return for Stanley and easily one of the best Lovecraft adaptions committed to film.

Poisoned Earth pt 3 (The Color Out of Space, 2010)

Color_Out_of_Space_2012_PosterA young man goes to a small town in Germany in a search for his father.  His search for the truth leads to the discovery of a meteorite that landed years before and corrupted the land.

This is mostly a german language film made on a small budget.  What really makes it stand out is the visual choices the filmmakers have chosen. It is primarily presented as a black and white film, giving a feeling of desolation to the film.

But when things start to fall apart, we are introduced to a neon violet color that pops beautifully against the stark black and white.

The visual spectacle is what really makes the film interesting, and it definitely is a visual treat.

Poisoned Earth pt 2 (the Curse, 1987)

The_Curse_PosterThis adaption of the Color of Space picks up at the time the meteorite crashes.  Going back to a small farm setting the focus is on the struggling Crane family.  The local realtor is working on a secretive deal to get people to sell their land to him cheap, but Nathan is holding out.

This film amps up Nathan as a religious man, making him a stern preacher.  His youngest son Zack feels out of place in his family.  There is the implication that his mother has a wandering eye and has been unfaithful.  The family is a bit stressed before the meteorite lands, but once it hits, the family starts to unravel.

This is closer to the original story, though as I recall, the religious emphasis  is more prominent in the movie.  The effects range from decent to blatantly obvious latex masks that do not blend very well at all. Claude Akins is very good at the role of deeply religious man teetering on the edge.

This is a decently fun adaption, clearly done on a restricted budget. One of only three films directed by actor David Keith, this showed some promise.  The Curse became an anthology series with three more direct to video films.  The Curse II: the Bite (which I have a soft spot for) and the Curse III: Blood Sacrifice and a film not actually made for the franchise call Catacombs (but titled as the Curse 4: the Ultimate Sacrifice) had no connection to the first film, and none were based on Lovecraft either.

Again, this is a decent adaption, it is definitely very much a product of the eighties, even in its reflection of the world encroaching on the struggling farmer. But it is a fun watch.

Poisoned Earth pt 1 (Die, Monster, Die!, 1965)

Die_Monster_Die_PosterLovecraft is a writer that, in spite of his personal failings (you know…racism), inspires creative people. His stories are creepy cosmic and occult based horror. Die, Monster, Die! adapts the memorable the Color Out of Space.

Stephen Reinhart has been requested by his girlfriend Susan to come to her parent’s remote home.  When he tries to find transportation from the nearby town, nobody will take him out there, refusing to explain why they seem so fearful of the Whitley Estate.

On his way he finds a decaying forest and when he arrives at the Whitley home, he finds that Susan’s mother has taken ill and her father is behaving very mysteriously.

What he discovers could doom the world and Susan’s mother begs Stephen to take Susan far from their estate before what has befallen her starts to consume Susan as well.

Die, Monster, Die follows the core idea of a meteorite that mutates the world around it…giant plants, mutant farm animals, people deteriorating monstrously. But it abandons the setting of a farm house for more of a gothic stately mansion.  The film is colorful, especially the greens.  The visuals still hold up and Karloff gives a nice menacing performance throughout the film, without being so far that he cannot also be sympathetic.

This is an entertaining adaption that is definitely a product of it’s time without not being to corny. Instead, it has a nice Hammer film feel to it.


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