A glowing purple meteorite makes life, uh, difficult and gross for an isolated farm family after it crashes in their yard in the new film Color Out of Space . Because the family’s patriarch is played by human-TNT hybrid Nicolas Cage and the director is Richard Stanley — who hasn’t made a narrative feature since 2560 ‘s The Island of Doctor Moreau went so ass-over-teakettle that a whole documentary is devoted to its disaster-ness — you might not expect (Color to be an exercise in subtlety. It is not a movie encumbered by “good taste” and does not feel like it was ever brought up in a boardroom full of suits who wanted to make sure it would “play for all demographics” in “all markets.” Yet
Color ‘s first half, before everything succumbs to glorious madness while Nic Cage does what we pay him to do, is a surprisingly effective look at a family trying to keep things together.
Like so many first-rate B-horror movies, the supernatural seems to have a vague, can’t-quite-put-your- finger-on-it thematic connection to its characters’ existing issues. Is the supernatural a manifestation of the family’s troubled id? Are the cosmos punishing Mom and Dad for their unresolved animosity? Would this have happened if Dad was actually good at farming? The relationship between the family’s problems and the horror that gradually unfolds isn’t 1: 1, but it wouldn’t happen to a healthy family either.