October 21, 2009

A Little Elaboration

Just a quick follow up that last movie post. Partly because I didn't know how to fit this awesome poster into it.

Also, seeing this film prompted me to re-read the short story that (loosely) inspired it, H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out Of Space." To those unfamiliar with his work, Lovecraft's stories mostly have to do with people glimpsing indescribable horrors from other dimensions that end up robbing them of their sanity. Well, while "indescribable" is great for sparking the imagination of the reader, it's never been much help to filmmakers. In the book, a meteor crashes on a small New England farm and a malignant, vaporous force torments the family while radiating a color "without a place among the known tints of Earth."

Good luck to the poor DP (director of photography) trying to pull that out his box of lens filters. "Die Monster Die!" keeps the meteor angle, but resorts to plain ol' radiation that causes plants to grow huge and animals to mutate into cheap puppets. Don't get me wrong, it's still a lot of fun but you get the idea, it wasn't just budget limitations that caused the story alteration. Even today, where directors are able to indulge themselves by coating the screen with ones and zeros, Lovecraft remains, for the most part, unsuccessfully adapted (Stuart Gordon's "Re-animator" and "From Beyond" being two noticeable exceptions.) That's a good thing. There are some things that exist only on the printed page, and to depict them at all on celluloid would rob them of their power to shock and fascinate us. Told ya, I'd rant occasionally.

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