My concerns with the upcoming “Colour Out of Space” movie

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From Fangoria:

While attending the current Fantasia festival in Montreal to host the world premiere of his striking documentary L’AUTRE MONDE, filmmaker Richard Stanley also took part in the Frontières market, pitching his H.P. Lovecraft adaptation THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE. Fango got the chance to sit down with the man to get his thoughts and details on the project.

You can read the entire article here.  I will reserve judgement until I see the movie, but a couple of things already concern me:

“Out of the bunch, I like DIE FARBE the most. It’s set at the end of WWII, is in black and white and takes a very different approach to the material—thankfully, because for a while I was thinking, ‘OK, if this is good, I don’t need to do the story again.’ But it’s also not really a horror movie, which is the most unfortunate thing about DIE FARBE. I thought if it had some gore effects—if it had some latex in there and some kind of monster—it would’ve been worth it, I guess, for the audience to get through the German language and the subtitles and the black-and-white art-house approach.”

DIE FARBE isn’t a horror movie? COLOUR OUT OF SPACE needs a latex monster and gore?  That’s not what Lovecraft is about.

And:

“One of the things we’re going to do,” he continues, “is set the film in a universe where the characters are already aware of Lovecraft’s work. There are two teenage kids in the family, and one’s a WARHAMMER addict and the other’s got a copy of the paperback NECRONOMICON.”

So in the movie, can the characters pull out one of their Lovecraft books and re-read The Colour Out of Space so they know what’s going to happen next?

It all comes down to a good story, of course.  But in general, I have a problem with setting Lovecraft stories in a universe where the characters know who H.P. Lovecraft is.  In my opinion, it’s akin to characters in a Superman movie being aware that he’s Clark Kent.

With his COLOUR, Stanley wants to give Lovecraft the big-screen respect he feels has been lacking in the last several years. “Personally, I’ve been a little disappointed by the recent Lovecraft movies, and I want to do something that’s a return to the spirit of the original stories.”

I’d honestly like to know which movies he’s referring to.  I was very happy with Pickman’s Muse and The Thing on the Doorstep, for example.

I was also taken aback when I saw the “trailer” last week.  It’s not really a trailer — it’s a hodge-podge of scenes from other movies.

One more thing: Colour Out of Space has been done to death.  I for one am a huge fan of DIE FARBE, but that should be the final word on that story for awhile.  How about At the Mountains of Madness?  Or a Lovecraft-THEMED film not based on a Lovecraft story?  Or a movie based on an existing Lovecraftian short story — for example, a story from The Lovecraft eZine, Dead But Dreaming, or dozens of other anthologies with great stories?

Your thoughts?  Comment below.

Thanks to Kt Mehers of Eolith Designs for the link.

UPDATE: Someone over at the eZine Facebook page said I was “coming down hard” on this movie.  Here’s a copy of my response:

I’m not sure that saying I’m reserving judgement until I see the movie, but that I have certain concerns is “coming down hard”.  Mr. Stanley essentially dissed every recent Lovecraft film, and I’ve been a lot nicer than that.  I don’t usually even get this negative.  But in my opinion, which some people consider to be worth noting, gore and latex is not the way to go.  And what Mr. Stanley does is up to him, but some people consider him to be talented and if that’s the case, I’d love to see what he’d do with a Lovecraft film done right… and I’d love to see him or someone else tackle “Mountains of Madness” or something other than “Colour”, which has been done to death.

43 responses to “My concerns with the upcoming “Colour Out of Space” movie

  1. What?! Latex and gore?! Srsly?! What happened with good horror movies which scared almost to death WITHOUT monster exposition or huge amounts of blood?… „I have a bad feeling about this…”

  2. I share your concerns. Lovecraft isn’t really about monsters, it is most often about the absence of monsters. The “not seeing them”. The “not knowing”. I am not really into movies at all, but the description of DIE FARBE sounds definitely like I want to watch this. If I hear latex and gore, I am most likely not watching TCOOS. I never have seen latex and gore in my imaginations when I read Lovecraft. Come on, seriously. When I was 16 or so i wanted to watch Latex and Gore because it was new. But I never felt it was “horror”. It was nothing else than a perverted taste of humor for me. I got rid of this, because this Latex and gore thing killed what I call art. I leave it for the actual movie-watchers to decide if that is a good movie or not. For me this all sounds just strange and if the creator of the movie would not have really read Lovecraft. Well, or maybe I haven’t read Lovecraft very well. Anyway, no Latex and Gore for me please. I am out of that age.

    • Tell that to John Carpenter. He accomplished everything you described in “The Thing” with gore and latex and it worked perfect. There’s plenty of room for all of it in the hands of the right talent. LOL I don’t think this dude is it, though.

  3. After reading the entire piece, & especially the parts that concerned you, I have to say I have the utmost admiration for your ability to reserve judgement until you see the movie. My every instinct tells me this guy should never be allowed anywhere near an HPL story.

    • The problem with all these “Hollywood” types is they think they are above the source material. They have a wealth of work at the end of their fingers and eyes and they always know how to “make it better”.

      Look at the latest Conan abortion. Howard’s word’s are all that was needed but nah, that wasn’t good enough, just make a generic, clichéd sword flick that could’ve had any characters thrown in…and it would’ve been just as much of a joke. The whole Cimmerians as the guardians of the world thing was retarded.

      And yes Mike is being kind. I am much more pessimistic when it comes to “Hollywood” or the term “big budget” because these dudes aren’t much different than politicians…they speak out both sides of their pieholes.

      LOL. The guy shut my brain down at “Warhammer addict”. Stupid. Here’s a novel idea; how about set it when it was written with the characters it was written about.

      • Hm… well, Richard Stanley isn’t much of a “Hollywood type.” We’re talking about a reclusive, mystical, Lovecraft fan who lives in the remote region of France that brings us the mysteries of the Holy Grail. He has two narrative features (and a bunch of documentaries) and a short Clark Ashton-Smith adaptation to his credit that were all independently produced. The last time he touched Hollywood, it bit back (he was fired from The Island of Dr. Moreau with Marlon Brando… I think because he had “weird” ideas about how to make the film, and “Hollywood” – whoever that is – didn’t approve).

        As an interesting aside, Huan Vu – who directed the wonderful and excellent Die Farbe as an adaptation of Colour – first directed a Warhammer 40k-based film called Damnatus. Interesting connection or homage? I have no idea.

  4. It’s not really a horror movie? If it had gore the German wouldn’t have been worth it? I don’t even really understand what that means. I don’t get what he’s saying he’s going to do or why it needs to be done. And what does it even matter if it’s a horror movie or not? It was faithful to the story without being a direct version of it, and it was beautiful. And there were gross parts, and they were made even grosser by the fact that we weren’t looking at them every 2 seconds.

    And I completely agree with Mike. Unless you’re making a comedy, your characters should not be aware of the source material. Especially in the Lovecraftian universe. What is rule #1 of the Mythos? You have not idea what you’ve gotten into. It’s just too big for you to understand.

    On the one hand, I’m really curious about what he’s doing now. On the other, we just veered into “The Devil’s Backbone is not a horror film” territory and I need to go lay down before someone gets hit…

    • On the point of having characters aware of HPL… I think that was disproved by, at least, “Out of Mind”, which did a marvelous job of capturing that blurring of lines between “reality” and dream which is so much a part of HPL’s best work… while having him be both a major character and a writer other characters are aware of. So it CAN be done, if one has creativity and a genuine respect for the material. On the other hand, this doesn’t sound like such a case, and I, too, share the concern on this.

      On the point of gore and latex… while some Lovecraft stories would certainly accommodate such, “The Colour Out of Space” most certainly does NOT; and the fact that HPL himself liked this most among all his work BECAUSE it avoided the obvious and went with the subtle and understated, pretty much shoots this fellow’s idea down about as well as anything could.

      In other words… I, too, will reserve FINAL judgment… but from what I’m seeing here, I am definitely none too sanguine…..

  5. I thought Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods ended with a Lovecraftian bang (SPOILER ALERT). The Evil God, larger than life, exploding through the cabin roof, loosed upon an unexpecting world! Now, back to concerns about this movie. Well, I don’t like his statement about the need for gore and a latex monster, I find Lovecraft wrote for the atmosFEAR aspect. Just the settings and psychology alone of other movies based on Lovecraft’s stories have freaked me out, so to turn the “Colour” into a tangible latex beast will not be right, it will become loosely based on the story. The people become affected by the Colour and ultimately become the physical monster, just a change of eye color and behavior is enough for this effect.
    I guess we will have to wait and see, and hope some of the Producers involved are HPL fans and can sway Stanley into the right “Direction.”
    Oh, speaking of Stanley, wouldn’t Kubrick have made a great Lovecraft film? I believe so, he was amazing!

    • I’ve always thought the same thing: Kubrick would’ve made a great Lovecraft film. I think these days, Gulilermo del Toro, Xavier Gens (Frontier(s)), and possibly Ti West (House of the Devil) have the most promise, though they are all prone to overcook things with Hollywood Action.

  6. “One of the things we’re going to do,” he continues, “is set the film in a universe where the characters are already aware of Lovecraft’s work. There are two teenage kids in the family, and one’s a WARHAMMER addict and the other’s got a copy of the paperback NECRONOMICON.”

    The hells is that?

    Explain to me what’s wrong with having some hick farmer have a thing from beyond living in his well?

  7. I too will watch it and hope for the best, but I’m concerned with this idea that there needs to be a monster, and gore. The story is about slowly building dread, not jump-scares. It is seminal body-horror, but the disgust it generates is that which you feel upon biting into a slice of bread and discovering it’s moldy, or when you discover something that might just be a melanoma pustulating on your skin – not the disgust of spurting blood and loose entrails.

  8. Well, those comments are somewhat off-putting, but have y’all seen “Dust Devil”? It’s drenched in an atmosphere of isolation, desperation, and dread. The film is also based on an African folk myth. Needless to say, it was really impressive. Of course, that was made 20 years ago, so Stanley may be in a completely different place as a film-maker nowadays.

    The trailer kind of bothered me as well, with the mish-mash of clips from different flicks. I dunno–maybe Stanley is just broke and trying to revamp his career.

    • From what I understand, no filming has been done at all on this film. The trailer is in fact clips from other movies, put together in a trailer. I’m assuming he chose clips that evoked the kind of feeling he is going for, visually and atmospherically. I’m also guessing that the trailer is to drum up interest in the production and to promote that it’s out there. Personally, I’m interested to see what comes of it. I’ve almost never seen a movie that came out exactly the way I thought it would based on the trailer or interviews with the Director. Particularly not when production hasn’t even started.

      • It might turn out great, hence my comment about reserving judgement until I see the film. But I’m not reserving judgement on his comment that DIE FARBE would have been better with a latex monster or gore; I don’t agree. Richard Stanley made the statement that recent Lovecraft films have been disappointing; I don’t agree with that, either. Didn’t THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP win “Best Feature” at the HPL Film Festival this year?

  9. Wow. Good post. Lovecraft world where the characters know of his stories? Yikes. Count me out. I’m very open-minded and have liked a lot of the Lovecraft adaptations inc. Lovecraftian tales and totally disagree with the whole “…lacking in the last several years” statement is a complete snub on the films and hard work many directors have done with minimal budgets and esoteric storylines usually. I’ve never liked when a director attempts to work in a field where their awareness of previous artists work is “lacking” and then make belligerant off-handed remarks to put them down. And what’s wrong with the story that’s already there? Granted, copycatting any book to the word is unecessary, as long as the central theme is there and their vision as a director comes through sucessfully, but why re-invent the wheel when it’s not going to benefit the project and will most likely only result in pissing the fans off? Weird. This is why I need to be a director since I studied film my whole life but am too broke as a joke to put together any kind of budget. I wouldn’t make the mistakes directors like this ALWAYS seem to do when tackling such sensitive material. I’ll try to stay positive and hope this YA sounding movie works somehow though! :)

  10. Mike,
    Get Richard to appear on your weekend chat. He is a great guy and trust me on this. His film will deliver. And I am a fan of “The Curse”.

  11. I’m kind of sad that the Facebook community took so well to the trailer when like you said Mike…..takes footage from other movies! I hope they got a release from Universal to use footage from The Thing……..

  12. Why is Lovecraft cursed with an overwhelmingly teeming mass of repulsive ideas when it comes to adapting his movies to screen? It seems the joke in all this is the truly horrified reaction an admirer of H.P. Lovecraft’s work upon hearing and seeing this outlandish interpretations. I don;t even know if the Great Old Ones themselves can pull off something so hideous Granted there are some worthy movies out there – such as the ones recommended on this site’s movies list – this latest attempt seems to fall short of anything worthy. Truth be told, I’ve often thought about how a good adaptation could be made of this particular title. Personally, you can make this movie on almost ZERO budget and still stay true to Lovecraft. You don’t need latex and Simon copies of the Necronomicon and all this other campy self referential junk. That’s the type of story it is. The trickiest bit would be the meteor crashing and the colour escaping but you’re good after that. The rest is the “fear of the unknown” which was Lovecraft’s dictum in crafting horror and is, in my opinion what ultimately makes a work Lovecraftian.

  13. Die Farbe is as close to the mark as anyone’s going to hit for that particular story.

    The problem with much hollywood/filmmakers in general is they find an excellent story as their foundation and then the have the audacity to think they can make it better, and in doing so they butcher it mercilessly, beyond recongition. It becomes a blasphemy, a heresy, of the original tale.

  14. I read the interview with Stanley and was more concerned about his wanting to produce a trippy psychedelic film.

    His knowledge of Lovecraft and culture is severely limited. His appraisal of To Quebec and the Stars was simply a travelogue without reference to the fact that it was part of a long letter. There were a number of travelogue letter that Lovecraft wrote. This being the best of them.

    I take exception to the implication that Lovecraft is an obscure literary figure. This might have been true when I was a kid, but with Lovecraft showing up in board games, video games, plush toys, bumper stickers, cartoons and all manner of media, I think not. My neighbors 10 year old granddaughter patiently explained to my the correct pronunciation of Cthulhu. As for a paperback copy of the Necronomicon – there has been Simon pitiful paperback in continuous publication since the 1970’s.

    For what it’s worth – this guy has no business directing a Lovecraft feature.

  15. Just to chime in a bit on this, since we had Richard out as a guest in May at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland…

    For what it’s worth, Richard impressed many people at our fest with his knowledge of all things Lovecraftian, including the fiction of the Lovecraft circle in general, as well as his unique perspectives on the occult and the supernatural (he lives in the Witch-haunted area of Montségur, France). He recently directed a very interesting version of Clark Ashton-Smith’s story “Mother of Toads” that we showed at the fest, to much enjoyment of the audience. If you haven’t seen that, it’s a segment of The Theatre Bizarre film from 2011 and available on DVD. It’s a loose adaptation, but it does some stuff really well, and weaves in some really great location work. In the past, his name has been attached to a possible treatment of Machen’s “Great God Pan” – one of his favorite stories. This is a filmmaker who dwells in our space. He loves the fiction of Lovecraft, R. E. Howard, Smith, but also loves the films of Argento and Fulci. For those who are familiar with his work, you’ll note that he’s a filmmaker with a particularly stylish, symbolic bent. Hardware and Dust Devil were all about atmosphere and dread, key elements of Lovecraft’s fiction, and Dust Devil specifically tackled a seemingly mundane serial killer story with amazing atmosphere, a mythology of deep time, and a hidden world beneath our own, that made it quite compatible with Lovecraftian tastes.

    I’m sure that he will do a fine job with The Colour Out of Space. Having said that, I doubt that he is very interested in making a shot-by-shot adapt of the story, and that will probably displease some HPL fans. He’s an eccentric dude with eccentric ideas and a desire to bring something fresh to the story. His script will almost certainly stray far, while adhering to the spirit of Lovecraft. I welcome that kind of filmmaking. Slavish reproduction of HPL stories have almost always ended up with films that are difficult to watch and enjoy, with a couple of notable recent exceptions (HPLHS’s Call of Cthulhu is one). Die Farbe is the best Colour Out of Space thus far (and one of my favorite films), and while I don’t fully agree, I can understand why it might be considered more of a psychological horror story (with aliens) than a “horror movie” – among other things, there is its cunning use of false memory syndrome – but that’s probably a discussion for a later time. It tells a very modified version of the story, but the filmmakers clearly “get” Lovecraft, and ultimately that’s what makes it work. The truest Lovecraftian films are often those that stray far from the text, or which tell their own story with a Cosmic Horror taint. This is what I expect from Stanley. He knows and loves the material, but he’s out to tell a new story… one that will hopefully live up to the spirit of HPL, while also being a trippy thrill ride out of (and back into) outer space. He spoke to me of the “world of the Colour…” but I didn’t press him for details.

    It’s perfectly reasonable to have reservations, as Mike does, based on the Fango interview, but keep in mind that Mr. Stanley is also looking for funding and talking to a magazine whose stock-in-trade is how bloody the cover is. He spoke with me at the fest about his Colour treatment, and it sounds neat, but he was very discouraged by the fact that there is never any money for indy auteurs to make the kind of films they want (he’s not a committee filmmaker… which is one reason why he has so few narrative features). I think – I hope – that seeing the awesome audience at our fest helped encourage and motivate him to get out there and get the funding and make the movie, so we can have another look inside the mind of the guy who brought us Hardware and Dust Devil. I’m not sure what the film will be like, but (for better or worse) it probably won’t be what any of us are expecting.

    cheers – Brian

    • Brian — good comments, and I certainly bear Richard Stanley no ill will. I’m sure he’s a nice guy. But yes, I do have some reservations based on his comments. And I can’t do anything but take his remarks to Fangoria at face value.

      In particular, his comment that he is disappointed in the recent Lovecraft films is the one that is hardest for me to take. I can understand what you are saying about selling the gore aspect in order to get funding. I don’t agree with it, but I understand it. What I DON’T understand is why it is necessary to belittle other recent Lovecraftian films. There have been some damn good movies lately — WHISPERER IN DARKNESS, PICKMAN’S MUSE, THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP, just to name three.

      Perhaps I’m an idealist — I’ve certainly been accused of it. But I don’t agree with stepping on someone else to become successful. Richard’s comment seems to me to be akin to a writer announcing his new Lovecraft book, and in the same breath talking about how disappointed he is with recent Lovecraftian books. Or perhaps akin to someone like Niels Hobbs talking about how great NecronomiCon is going to be, and in the same interview saying “I’ve been disappointed in recent Lovecraft conventions.” It’s a hurtful thing to say.

      And no, I’m not trying to be unkind to Richard Stanley. I’m simply calling him out on that statement, and I’m hoping for the best with this movie, while at the same time expressing my concerns — concerns, you’ll note, that many other Lovecraftians seem to share.

      If Richard has the right to be “disappointed” in recent Lovecraft films — which he does — then Lovecraftians have the right to be disappointed with his focus on gore and latex instead of the true themes of Lovecraft.

      Frankly, if he’s interested in latex, AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS would be a better choice. Shoggoth, anyone? I’d love to see Richard do that movie… I’m sick to death of COLOUR OUT OF SPACE.

      SOMEONE needs to do a Mountains of Madness movie…! You’ve got a huge promoter right here, if you do.

      • Yeah, I undertand what you mean, Mike, and I don’t necessarily disagree. He, at least, doesn’t name names (though he could be talking of Call of Cthulhu and Whisperer, since he mentions 20s and 30s) and he doesn’t say he hates any of the films. His disappointment seems to stem from his belief that Lovecraft deserves a more modern approach, and I can’t help but like his statement that “Lovecraft should still be more dangerous than ever, in a way, rather than something that’s quaint and part of the past.” It’s easy to fall into the trap that Lovecraft only works in an old-timey way. He does seem to be a little disparaging of Die Farbe (which rankles a little, since it’s seriously my fave HPL)… but it seems like he does like it, but it just doesn’t match his vision (which is clearly not an art house adapt… which Die Farbe certainly is).

        I’m up and interested in any filmmaker who wants to tackle the subject of Lovecraft (and I know you are too, Mike). If Stanley gets to make Colour… awesome. If Del Toro makes Mountains… great. That’s one that many Lovecraftians have concerns about too, and for what seem like sound reasons (the script, the potential casting, etc.). When it comes to track record, for what it’s worth, I think Stanley is probably better to trust with Lovecraftian material than Del Toro, but I’d love to see both. I’m definitely of the mind that I’d rather have more adaptations of Lovecraft… good, bad, whatever… and be generally encouraging of that, rather than wish people would stop screwing up Lovecraft. Even the worst Lovecraft films usually have a little spark in there that gets at the essence of what makes the genre so special.

        Cheers

    • Brian, I think you made some fine points though you sound like Richard’s agent to me in some ways. I agree with you on the Dust Devil thing and though it was cool and, personally, can’t wait to see his Clark Ashton-Smith adaptation of “Mother of Toads”. Machen’s “Great God Pan” is one of my fave short stories too so it would be interesting to see a director try to recapture the feel of the original novella. However, I think that would maybe be even more difficult than recapturing the spirit of “Colour Out of Space”. Regardless(!), no matter how you look at it , highlighting modern day cultural trends like Warhammer and worse, having a paperback edition of Necronomicon conveniently on display. like it’s some common fare coffee-table book, and handled by some kids even, is an outright buzz killer, rubs me in all the wrong ways, and more importantly, is comletely unnecessary. This isn’ty Goonies or Jumanji! It’s H.P. Lovecraft’s “Colour Out of Space” for God’s sake! Sensitive shi† for the true fans who are going to be the sole core audience wathcing it, hanging on every word of it, and who want to like it enought to buy it on DVD and hopefully on Blu-ray for that matter. Meaning, the audience who are going to put $$$ in the product, enabling the producers and director to finance future film projects. WE’RE THE ONES WHO MATTER MOST TO PLEASE.

      • Haha… well, to be clear, I’m not Richard’s agent. I am, however, a fan of his work (so, biased) and, as I mentioned, we brought him out for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival in May, because it was clear that to me that he is a fellow Lovecraftian with a particularly unique viewpoint on the subject. As a touchstone… much like most of us, he’s the kind of guy who hated the latest Conan movie, and didn’t care for the Solomon Kane film, because he felt neither captured Howard’s vision.

        I wouldn’t say I’m a slavish fan, though… I was pretty lukewarm on Mother of Toads the first time I saw it, but it grows on you after a few watchings, when you start to see the nice touches he added to it. In a way, it’s not just an adaptation but a love letter to a region (Montségur) and to a genre (the Mother of Toads is played by Catriona MacColl, the actress from Fulci’s The Beyond and City of The Living Dead, and this film is very much an homage to the films of Argento and Fulci), which works nicely.

        Nonetheless, since I do have these points of contact with Mr. Stanley, I felt it was important to pipe up, since the comments here so aggressively pre-judge a film that isn’t even scripted… and all from a few off-hand remarks in a short interview (and if you don’t have more to go on, that’s all you can do). I’m surprised everyone is ignoring the fairly awesome stuff he said about Lovecraft’s ongoing relevance, to focus on his mention of latex and gore. If you’d read the interview with Michael J. Bassett about his goals for the second Silent Hill movie, you would have thought it was going to really be something awesome. You would have been wrong… as I was. That was a wholesale disappointment.

        Two things I meant to mention… I think we can all agree that Latex and Gore is never really necessary for Lovecraft. Well, that’s not true in some cases, right? I mean, even if you made a quite faithful version of Herbert West: Re-Animator, you couldn’t do it without a little gore (but that’s not a fair example, is it)… ATMOM is fairly gore-free, apart from some alien autopsies and dead dogs. The Hound, of course, is a bit more gruesome. But, most of Lovecraft’s “trademark” fiction is more cerebral, we think. However, “The Colour Out of Space” does seem to require a certain amount of body horror… the idea that your flesh and your soul has been tainted by this thing from beyond understanding. You could certainly adapt this story without much gore (but even Die Farbe has a couple gross outs… and it’s really “not that kind of movie”), but I think this story, more than many of Lovecraft’s, benefits from a treatment where the infected body (and mind) becomes abject and apart through the use of these sort of makeup effects. I don’t know if it’s necessary, but taken in the right context, I don’t know if it would be gratuitous.

        The other thing is the idea that Lovecraft wouldn’t work with awareness of his fiction in the film’s world. I can understand the thinking here, for sure. But reading his fiction, while it can evoke feelings of smallness and awed horror, is not the same as experiencing it. In the same way, as a convention in the vampire film, the idea that vampires exist in fiction is a useful device to create a frisson in the characters and the audience that the mythology is a reality, and often worse than they ever imagined. You may make fun of the plush Cthulhus at the game store, but you won’t make fun any longer when the vistas of screaming reality are opened in front of your face. Stanley, in the same interview, goes on to say, “referring to the NECRONOMICON or even carving the sigils into your flesh, as one character does trying to protect themselves, doesn’t make any difference. The thing from outer space doesn’t have a name and doesn’t conform to any of the rules.” That last line really gets at the heart of the thing, right?

        Is it necessary that the fictional world of the movie has Lovecraft in it? I don’t think so, but it also doesn’t necessarily “break” it… especially if the point is that no knowledge of the arcane or alien (especially that gleened from an Avon paperback Necronomicon) can make a difference in the face of the true horror from beyond our stars.

        Eventually, as the Lovecraft Mythos becomes more prevalent in film, it may even be necessary that characters in these worlds have a knowledge of HPL’s fictional works… or, at some point, our kids will be watching a movie and stand up to yell at the screen: “What are you, idiots?! Can’t you see that’s a Deep One!?” or “Why are you reading out loud from the Necronomicon?!” Just as people do now when film characters don’t know what zombies and vampires are all about.

        Right, so here we are. I’m afraid I’m continually at the mercy of being the Devil’s advocate, no matter what the subject. Pardon me for that. In this case, yes, my personal enjoyment of the works of Mr. Stanley definitely colors my perception (but is it colored red-green or yellow-blue?). When it all shakes out (if it all shakes out), I’m sure the final film will succeed at some things and fail at others. They all do. However, and I’m probably in the minority here, I definitely do not care to see a direct adaptation of the story, set in the story’s time period, with the same (horrible) dialogue and third-party action. I have the book for that, and no film which adapts the book so directly could ever live up to the movie in my head. I definitely want to see the outrageous and the unexpected. If movies were all faithful adaptations, we wouldn’t have wonderful texts like Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner in our collections.

        Overall, though, I also agree with Mr. Davis… Colour Out of Space has been done to death. Tackling one of the other great stories, like The Dunwich Horror (which Stanley claims to be eyeing) would fill me with more glee. However, all the good directors are visionaries, so I’m intrigued to see Stanley’s vision brought to life… it sounds like his ideas are quite different than most of ours. Only time will tell what that brings to the table of Cosmic Horror.

        cheers

        Brian

      • Ah… my response was already too long, but I wanted to add that I think Stanley isn’t imagining the “actual Necronomicon” but the hoaxy Simonomicon, which is a bit of a fixture in our real world (and I handled it first, when I was 14). For better or worse…

        Also, and I mentioned this somewhere else here, Huan Vu (the visionary director of Die Farbe) had made a Warhammer 40k film, titled Damnatus (well-received also), before his venture into Lovecraft. I’m curious if Stanley’s mentioning of Warhammer has anything to do with this… weird coincidence, or maybe homage? While he doesn’t seem to think Die Farbe goes all the way, he does say that he likes the film “best” of the Colour adaptations… so, maybe it’s his way of nodding to Mr. Vu. Or, maybe not. Interesting, though.

  16. It sounds like Richard Stanley was picked from a list of ” who can screw this up the worst” , Clearly he has no idea of what a Lovecraft movie should be. Hopefully , he will not do what the interview said he wanted, and then maybe he will prove me wrong, not holding my breath…….

  17. First off, HPL is for EVERYONE!!! There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Techniques for adapting Lovecraftian horror are as various as the artists attempting the feat. Gore and latex is just as valid as shadowy suspense. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from putting an HPL story on the silver screen.

    Every once in awhile, I see some DVD box with an HPL title or reference. I assume these are terrible, so I don’t watch them. Without the filmmaker elaborating, I’m not going to condemn his condemnation.

    Maybe I’m alone, but other than a few great scenes / set pieces, I don’t think At the Mountains of Madness lends itself to film (unless used as a jumping off point). I’ve only seen a couple movies tackle The Color Out of Space. I’d love to see more! Personally, I believe turning Color into a movie (again) is more fruitful than Mountains.

    VS

      • Yes, he is. Read my final comment and the one from bwatkins75. Even things that are universally loved (like pizza) aren’t literally for everyone. But everyone gets a chance, and no one should feel like an outsider when it comes to appreciating H.P. Lovecraft.

      • i think Lovecraft can be interpreted a lot of ways too. Just not ATMOM. That story needs to have the time period setting, look, and feel of the original, but, like my comment above, it obviously needs a regular amount of dialogue, creatures seen more as the story progresses, anda little more adrenaline pumped into its’ veins.

  18. I’m going to have to disagree with….Venger. Sorry, I’d like to think HPL is for everyone but clearly not. Most people prefer BIG visible monsters with tons of explosions and Pacific Rim all the way. Why do you think movies like that get BIG budgets and directors like Guillermo del Toro have to default to making movies like those instead? – though, I’m sure, he loves the typical Hollywood superhero thing going on even more than the rest of the lot. I like a good amount of that myself, to a certain extent, though there’s no comparison to them vs. a film with real atmosphere, mystery, and suspense that thrills the soul more than than the eyes. So, like MIke said, HPL is not for everyone. However, I disagree with ATMOM not “lending itself to film”. Think John Carpenter’s “The Thing” in a period setting a little more like the mountain ranges of Shangri-La, as seen in James Hilton/Frank Capra’s “Lost Horizon”, with a majesty in scope more akin to PJ’s LOTR scenes of Cirith Ungol and Cirith Gorgor, and with actors on the level with Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins, and Liam Neeson. THAT would make for one helluva moving picture, especially if the script were written by someone of high-calibre and abiity, like maybe the controversial Tony Kushner – scriptwriter of Spielberg’s “Lincoln”. In a scenario like that, if handled without an excess of over-abused modernisms, it would make not only a great film but, one nearly guaranteeing it as a HUGE Hollywood Blockbuster sucess ~ fans and casual moviegoers would have to own on DVD/Blu-ray.

  19. As for Venger’s comment…..”First off, HPL is for EVERYONE!!!” I, for one, didn’t take this literally. I read that, in the context of the rest of the comment, as meaning Lovecraft’s work belongs to the world. Everyone is free to take what enjoyment they can from it and to create whatever versions of films they want. Personally, I look forward to any and all adaptations of Lovecraft’s works. There’s been a glut of poorly produced films like The Thing at the Doorstep. Sure it may have won an award at HPLFF earlier this year but I think that speaks more to the quality of submissions this year than the quality of that film. But for every ten of those we’ll hopefully get one The Call of Cthulhu (HPLFF), The Last Lovecraft, or Dagon. This entire post/discussion lambasting a filmmaker’s off-handed comments before he’s even begun filming is fruitless and has more than a little bit of an elitist tone. I will keep an open mind and reserve any comments about Stanley’s film until after I’ve seen it.

    • My thoughts on the last couple of comments:
      Brian, I don’t disagree with some of what you said. I entirely agree that a film adaptation copying the book verbatim would be a monstrously bad idea. Books to film never cross over completely if done to the T. “Blade Runner”, like you said, is a perfect example. “The Shining” is also a great example imo. I liked the book and the movie version. “The Walkind Dead” from comic to tv series is a perfect one for today. But, with that said, as different as the film should be, there are elements that I wouldn’t mess with. I disagree with changing the time period. I prefer films to at least capture that as it helps retain the overall atmosphere. Although it didn’t suceed like it should have (though the Fan Edits are at least better) PJ’s “King Kong’ at least attempted to set it in the original time period but failied by changing the positioning of too many characters and giving too much screen-time to characters I could give a shi† about and then ruined a great bit of it with redon kulous Flinstone Dinorama, like the running through the legs of the brontosaurus like it was an SNL parody of Jurassic Park 2 . But, in trying to set in the early 30’s, it at least had the right look. So with this in mind, I will say I have liked many of the Lovecraft/Lovecraftian films but I PREFER them to be in the rt time period. Taking luxuries like in the case of ATMOM by adding dialogue, showing the creatures (hopefully mostly out of view of the characters) is almost a necessity and one I’d applause. I just think the look & feel is more attractive when in the original time period. I mean, would you rather see a modern plane zooming in and letting off a bunch of dumbasses with their rainbow colored backpacks on, texting their Baby Mama’s and ordering pizzas on their cell phones and later, using modern slang, like, “Yo, didja all see the way that carcass looked broski? That shit was hella fucked up playa! The only way you’re gettin my ass onto that helicopter is to get me the F outta here! And you can tweet that and post it on my my muther_____ Facebook too. Signed, Judont want nun a me!” I mean, some things transfer over pretty well, and I like a Cthulhu comedy as much as the next guy, but I don’t want to see any modern shite whatsoever if it’s going to have me wanting to burn down Hollywood once it’s over. Warhammer, Necronomicon comic books and HP Lovecraft toothpaste left on the bathroom toilet isn’t going to make me like the movie more. Guaranteed. Don’t re-invent the wheel. And as far as bwatkins75’s comment? The Call of Cthulhu, definitely! (though they should’ve used a different light filter overall), and Dagon, yes, but it should’ve steered away from the more parody-like elements it meandered into once it got closer to the end imo. However! I don’t know bwat the F you’re talking bout RE: The Last Lovecraft. That was BARELY one empty McDonalds container short of being pure utter garbage!

  20. Lovecraft should be interpreted in a variety of ways – not just by those with a certain aesthetic.

    I’m not going to personally stand in front of the library doors, barring those individuals from entering who might view the Mythos differently. Are you?

    VS

  21. Venger: I can to some degree agree with what you’re saying; and I thoroughly agree that Lovecraft SHOULD be interpreted in a variety of ways. My concern is that (given the description in the article) this sort of “self-reflexive” preciosity and the like runs the serious risk of DILUTING, rather than enhancing, the atmosphere of what is, essentially, very much a mood piece. Now, a looser hand in adapting, say, “The Hound”, wouldn’t be at all a bad idea, as that one can be interpreted seriously, serio-comically, or as outright farce without doing any harm. But “Colour” is one of the most elegant and atmospheric of all Lovecraft’s works, and to include things which yank a viewer out of that into the “cool in-joke” sort of thing… well, that smacks of completely missing the boat to me.

    Again, I could be wrong, and I’d love to have to eat crow on this one. But from my experience, I am extremely dubious here.

    Oh, and on a somewhat different note: I think perhaps my favorite bit of PJ’s adaptation of LotR was the bit with Frodo and Sam when they see the elves leaving Middle-earth, and Sam remarks “I don’t know why, but it makes me sad.” Now, THAT scene, to me, captured perhaps better than anything else, the “heart” of what Tolkien was doing….

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