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If you want to see a Lovecraft adaptation done right, you have to look into small, independent films, done by talented enthusiasts, rather than fodder produced by the Hollywood machine. THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS was one such example, and now there's another, coming a bit surprisingly from Germany. DIE FARBE (The Color) is the first attempt to do something other than a cheap monster-fest out of Lovecraft's story "The Colour out of Space" (1927). The movies "inspired" by it so far have been largely nonsensical, conventional cheapies like DIE, MONSTER, DIE! (1965) and THE CURSE (1987). This new COLOR follows faithfully the words of the story, and makes a pretty good attempt at capturing its spirit, too.
The story is a first-rate SF-horror classic and therefore the following shouldn't be spoilers to anyone remotely interested in the genre(s): a meteor falls somewhere in the backwoods, near a remote farm; scientists seem unable to determin the out-of-this-world properties of the strange stone, unlike any meteor ever seen; it spreads its influence on the environment, gradually "poisoning" the ground, the trees, the water, the people on the farm, until all of them rot from inside, crumble to dust and the area is turned into a "blasted heath". The living color goes back to the skies - or does it, really? The mysterious heaven is reflected in the earth's dark waters, and man is left dumbfounded, beyond comprehension, in a universe suddenly strange, alien, inhuman. The end.
The changes to Lovecraft's story are rather minimal: it is effortlessly transferred from New England to rural Germany just before WW2, while the framing story, set in the 1950s, deals with an attempt of a young American to find his father, American soldier who disappeared in Germany right after the war. The bulk of the story is, therefore, narrated (i.e. presented in a flashback) by a local participant in the strange events surrounding the Gartner farm. Other than that, everything else sticks close to the events described in the original story.
With all that's said above, THE COLOR remains one of the best and most ambitious Lovecraft adaptations ever made; what it achieves is quite respectable and worthy of support; there are flashes of brilliance, occasionally inspired images and a memorable mood, so that this film is strongly recommended to all those who love H. P. Lovecraft's writings, because they are its prime audience. Those who yearn for unconventional, weird, spooky horror can also give it a try. It is a solid signpost in the right direction and I hope the director will continue following it and aiming for the skies.
Review by Dejan Ognjanovic