Best Lovecraft Sci-Fi Adaptation of This Century Starring Nicolas Cage Is Available on Shudder

Best Lovecraft Sci-Fi Adaptation of This Century Starring Nicolas Cage Is Available on Shudder
Image credit: RLJE Films

We don’t often see worthy Lovecraft adaptations, but this one definitely deserves your attention.

There is perhaps no more difficult task than adapting the prose of Howard P. Lovecraft for the screen. This is due to the fact that Lovecraft's work itself has already been broken down into a whole constellation of techniques and stylistic instruments – thus, directors do not so much adapt his books as they are inspired by them.

Of the many attempts to adapt Lovecraft to the screen, perhaps the most successful was the project starring Nicolas Cage, Color Out of Space, released in 2019.

What is Color Out of Space About?

A young hydrologist explores the surroundings of the city of Arkham and stumbles upon the Gardner family, who live on a large old farm. Nathan, a failed artist, has taken an interest in gardening and raising alpacas. His wife, Teresa, is recovering from major surgery.

They have three children: a boy and two teenagers: Benny studies black holes and smokes marijuana, Lavinia is passionate about the occult. One night, the ground shakes, the air turns purple, and a small meteorite falls just outside the Gardner home.

Color Out of Space is Lovecraftian Madness at Its Best

Director Richard Stanley succeeds in the most important thing – to convey the effect of simmering madness by inviting the undoubted expert in this field, Nicolas Cage, to play the leading role. The fascinating strangeness definitely made the movie an important event in the genre of Lovecraft adaptations.

The Color Out of Space has been filmed more than once. The story is notable for the fact that it is not included in any of Lovecraft's known mythological cycles, and is more sci-fi than horror. In it, Lovecraft attempted to present a completely new image of extraterrestrial life.

He felt that in most science fiction works the aliens were too similar to humans, so the visitor from outer space that ruined the Gardners' lives had to be unlike anything humans had ever seen. And Stanley conveys this concept perfectly on screen.

Color Out of Space Shows Aliens As We’ve Never Seen Them Before

Best Lovecraft Sci-Fi Adaptation of This Century Starring Nicolas Cage Is Available on Shudder - image 1

The movie moves slowly at the beginning, but this slowness has its own logic: the meteorite gradually changes everything around it, and these transformations look harmless at first, or are not noticed at all.

Halfway through, the global implications for the local environment become apparent, and this is where Stanley begins to shift the family drama into a body horror full of mutants and acid colors.

The colors are worth mentioning separately: the film is designed in shades of pink and purple, and as events unfold, these shades become more prevalent on screen, and brighter. This seemingly simple technique in the adaptation of The Color Out of Space works exactly as it should.

Color Out of Space is an excellent adaptation of Lovecraft’s work, as far as fidelity to the original source is concerned. And it has everything it needs to become a cult classic: it is a bloody, sometimes surreal hybrid of horror and science fiction that deserves the attention of both fans of the genre and a wider audience.

Where to Stream Color Out of Space?

Color Out of Space is available to stream on Shudder.