COLOR OUT OF SPACE – Review by Susan Granger

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Inspired by a 1927 H.P. Lovecraft short story, this sci-fi terror tale revolves around former city dwellers – Nathan (Nicolas Cage) and Theresa (Joely Richardson) Gardner – who have moved to the country with their three children: Lavinia (Madeline Arthur), Benny (Brendan Meyer) and Jack (Jullian Hilliard).

Having renovated Nathan’s father’s old farmhouse in (fictional) Arkham, Massachusetts, they’re now raising a herd of alpacas (“the animal of the future”) and indulging volatile Lavinia as she consults a paperback copy of “The Necronomicon” to practice a riverside Wiccan pagan ritual, hoping to hasten her mother’s recovery from a recent mastectomy.

One day, Ward Phillips (Elliott Knight) appears; he serves as the narrator, a hydrologist sent to test local water levels for a future dam project. Ward is attracted to teenage Lavinia, while adolescent, oft-stoned Benny confers with their hermetic, tech-savvy neighbor Ezra (Tommy Chong).

That night, there’s an ominous crash as a mysteriously glowing purple/pink meteor fragment lands in their front yard, releasing a magenta-colored extraterrestrial organism that not only infects their family but turns the countryside into a horrifying, shape-shifting, cotton candy-colored nightmare.

As Ward says, “What touched this place cannot be quantified or understood by human science. It was just a color out of space – a messenger from realms whose existence stuns the brain and numbs us with the gulfs that it throws before our frenzied eyes.”

FYI: Ward Phillips’ name stems from that of author (Ho)ward Phillips Lovecraft.

South African-born director Richard Stanley (The Island of Dr. Moreau, Hardware) co-wrote the adapted screenplay with Scarlett Amaris (Replace, The Theatre Bizarre), which indulges in far too much weirdly incoherent, B-movie violence and gore, punctuated by Colin Stetson’s synth-based score.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Color Out of Space is a sinister 6, available on Apple TV, Vudu and Fandango Now.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You may also be interested in reading Liz Whittemore’s review of Color Out of Space

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.