Though COLOUR FROM THE DARK is already Ivan Zuccon’s third H.P. Lovecraft adaptation, it’s the first one that I actually got along to see. And what shall I say, I found myself liking this flick a lot, cause apparently the Italian director managed to do the famous writer’s twisted tale of unseen terror a really fair share of justice by capturing the bleak, grotesque and utterly frightening atmosphere of the source material very, very well.
Writer Ivo Gazzarrini relocated the action of the original short story The Colour Out Of Space from the dry countryside of Arkham/Massachusetts to a small and almost completely abandoned farming community in WWII-Italy and director Zuccon turned Lovecraft’s work into a dark, slow-paced and spine-chilling ensemble piece which pleases the viewer not only with beautiful locations and impressive sets, but also with strong acting, striking camera work, accomplished editing and a stirring creepiness, that makes you feel pretty strained and uneasy throughout every second of the film’s 92 minutes running-time.
The terror that befalls the simple home of the righteous farmer Pietro (Michael Segal), his wife Lucia (Debbie Rochon) and her slow little sister Alice (Marysia Kay) is all the more frightening, as it’s not some kinda physical monster that can be beaten if you only fight back hard enough, but an an-amorphous, strangely glowing entity, that slowly but surely drives everyone near it into incurable madness. One after one, the farmers, as well as their neighbors and close friends Giovanni (Gerry Shanahan) and Anna (Eleanor James), get haunted by terrible nightmares, wicked daydreams and evil visions that slowly suck them dry of all humanity and ultimately transform them into crazy madmen and mindless killers.
Ably, Zuccon illustrates the taking-over of the “color” and, along with this, the aforementioned mental decline of the characters not only by showing their physical decay, but also by placing all different kinds of striking metaphoric images in the movie, each of which stands for the slow and inexorable downfall of the protagonists’ minds and bodies. The more the corpse of the Jewish refugee, who got shot by her Nazi persecutors, rots in the woods, the more the fruits in the garden go to seed and the more the copper cross on the farmers’ living room gathers rust, the more do also Pietro, Lucia and their loved ones dive into insanity. And no matter what they do to save their skin, in the end the whole village falls prey to the strange, life-consuming entity from down below and as that happens, the movie itself also loses his formerly vivid color and turns more and more pale as well… creepy!
In conjunction with that, Zuccon also decided to tell this fiendish tale of terror at a rather slow pace (which you don’t find that often anymore in modern horror films) and at least in my opinion, that was definitely not a bad decision at all, cause the steady creepiness of COLOUR FROM THE DARK only adds to the film’s haunting and horrifying atmosphere. This, however, does not mean that Zuccon’s movie gets any lengthy or so at any point, cause apparently, whenever you expect it the least, the flick’s uncanny calmness does all of a sudden get shattered by a well-placed shock moment or an unforeseen gore effect.
Aside from all the praise, the only minor complaint I have about COLOUR FROM THE DARK is that I personally found it a bit confusing and hard to follow at parts and, to be honest, I’m still not 100% sure if I got every aspect of the film correctly… but then again, who cares? Cause that doesn’t change the fact at all that Ivan Zuccon and his cast ‘n crew still did a mighty fine job on this flick and delivered a very well-directed and well-acted supernatural horror movie which will definitely send shivers of terror down its viewers’ spines and sure-as-hell make ‘em think twice the next time they’re about to accidentally unleash an alien entity that will suck the life right out of them!
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