To say Nicolas Cage is on a bonkers career trajectory right now would be the epitome of an understatement. And in the same week that he’s been announced to play the infamous Tiger King in a new TV series – as well as coming off the trip that was Mandy – it seems to only make sense that something like Color Out Of Space would be released, a science-fiction-cum-body-horror flick bathed in a retro-cosmic sheen that sprays Cage’s unmistakable profile with alpaca blood.
Before we get to that burning image, this adaption of legendary horror fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft’s short story of the same name follows the not-so-average lives of the Gardner family as they prepare for a quieter life on a farm, a hopeful change of pace following matriarch Teresa’s (Joely Richardson) mastectomy; oh, and Cage’s Nathan wants to raise alpacas. Tensions already run high between Teresa and Nathan, and the strange behaviour of their three children only signal the extraterrestrial nonsense that befalls them; daughter Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) practices Wicca, eldest son Benny (Brendan Meyer) smokes pot with the local hermit (Tommy Chong), and youngest Jack (Julian Hilliard) only wants to interact with the family dog.
Once a meteor hits their farmland, gory, freaky shit hits the fan, and it isn’t long before their behaviour starts to manifest in tune with the growing volatility of the meteor’s supposed power. Writer/director Richard Stanley (who was quite famously fired from helming 1996’s The Island of Dr. Moreau, and hasn’t directed a feature film since) implements a slow-burn mentality for much of Color‘s running time, dropping nuggets of weird intrigue along the way, before exploding in a grotesque, almost comical fashion for the film’s final unhinged moments.
Just what exactly happens to the family is best left discovered for your own eyes – your ears may not thank you though – but, what I will divulge is that Cage is once-again at his Cagiest when his character succumbs to whatever influence the strange meteor appears to have over him. He plays it straight, which in turn makes it more hilariously unsettling, letting rip as he adopts a near-Trumpish inflection in his voice that he only sporadically commits to. It’s absolutely wild, but in the hands of an actor such as Cage in the wilderness of this bizarre movie, it makes perfect sense.
Color Out Of Space is not going to be a movie for everyone – it’s very much a love it or loathe it type deal – but after years of stepping away from feature filmmaking, you have to at least admire Stanley for creating something that’s distinctly his own. After Dr. Moreau earned cult status for all the wrong reasons, at least he can be content that this cult-classic-in-waiting will earn its status as organically intended.
Color Out Of Space is available digitally On Demand via Telstra, Google Play, iTunes, Fetch TV, Foxtel and Umbrella Entertainment, as well as to rent and/or buy on DVD and Blu-Ray now.