Fresh off his rave reviews in Mandy, Nicolas Cage is joining forces with frequently foiled filmmaker Richard Stanley for an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space. One of Lovecraft’s most terrifying stories, The Colour Out of Space follows a surveyor trying to uncover the cause of mysterious events terrorizing a patch of land in the wilds of Massachusetts.
We covered this at the end of last year, but the news was apparently premature at the time. Now it’s official: Mandy production company SpectreVision is re-teaming with Nicolas Cage for The Colour Out of Space, based on the short story by H.P. Lovecraft.
Nicolas Cage starring in an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation is exciting enough on its own – but there’s more. The film will be helmed by none other than Richard Stanley, marking his return to feature filmmaking after a 20 year absence. Stanley was, at one point, a hot up-and-coming genre filmmaker, catching attention with his 1990 British sci-fi film Hardwire. Stanley was set to break into Hollywood with the 1996 adaptation of The Island of Dr. Moreau – but things went horribly wrong. The producers lost faith in Stanley’s vision, and also felt the filmmaker had lost control of the set. As a result, they fired Stanley, replacing him with John Frankenheimer.
This event (which is chronicled in the documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau) effectively sabotaged Stanley’s career, and while he’s directed several shorts and documentaries, he hasn’t helmed a feature film since. But now that’s apparently about to change with The Colour Out of Space. And that’s pretty damn exciting.
In addition to Cage, the film will feature Joely Richardson, Tommy Chong, Elliot Knight, Julian Hilliard and Q’Orianka Kilcher. Here’s the current synopsis for the feature adaptation:
COLOR OUT OF SPACE is a story of cosmic terror about The Gardners, a family who moves to a remote farmstead in rural New England to escape the hustle of the 21st century. They are busy adapting to their new life when a meteorite crashes into their front yard. The mysterious aerolite seems to melt into the earth, infecting both the land and the properties of space-time with a strange, otherworldly color. To their horror, the Gardner family discover that this alien force is gradually mutating every life form that it touches…including them.
Written in 1927, Lovecraft’s Colour has gone on to influence writers and filmmakers for years to come. You can see traces of Colour Out of Space in everything from Creepshow to the 2018 film Annihilation. In the story, an unnamed surveyor “attempts to uncover the secrets behind a shunned place referred to by the locals of Arkham as the ‘blasted heath.’” The narrator eventually learns that the region’s problems began when a meteorite crashed in the area, poisoning the land, deforming animals, and driving human beings insane.
Like most Lovecraft stories, Colour deals with forces beyond human understanding or comprehension. The author wanted to create something truly alien – the type of alien life that the human mind can’t even begin to process. It’ll be interesting to see how such a story gets adapted to the screen by Stanley, a highly inventive filmmaker. Throwing Cage into the mix certainly makes this whole thing extra enticing.
“Lovecraft is the dark father of modern horror, and we have been searching for an adaptation that captures the true scope of his cosmic dread for years,” said SpectreVision’s Daniel Noah. “Richard Stanley — a wizard in his own right — will at long last bring Lovecraft’s humbling power to the screen unfiltered.”
The Colour Out of Space can be read in full here.
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