Color Out of Space

There are two types of adaptations.  Well, three if you count "bad".  But just dealing with the good ones, there's two types.  There's the ones that are extremely faithful and are basically the source on the screen.  For instance, the HPL Society's version of The Call of Cthulhu is not only extremely faithful to the source material, but is even faithful to the time period, as it was filmed as a black and white silent movie.

And then there's Richard Stanley's Color Out of Space, which is the second type.  It's faithful to the core of the story while changing things as needed, either to improve for the new medium or to flesh out the story.  The original story certainly didn't have The Thing-style body horror, for instance.  However, it fits in the story.

So, for those unfamiliar, The Colour Out of Space was a short story written by HP Lovecraft about a secluded farmer and his family.  A meteor crashes into the farm and Weird Stuff starts happening.  Crops grow massive while being rotten inside, people get sick, people die, etc.  And then, as inexplicably as it arrives, it goes back into space.  It was described as a color that couldn't be quantified, a color nobody had ever seen before.  It was, very clearly, an allegory for radiation.

Color Out of Space hits all the major beats of the story while updating it for modern times and changing things as needed to be a film.  The film itself is gorgeous, keeping the indescribable beauty of the Color and the changes to the landscape.  While it obviously couldn't actually show colors that aren't real, the mixes of pinks and blues and purples keep the otherworldly feel of the entity.

This adaptation also delves into the madness caused by the Color.  It seems to take the failings of the family members and augments them, from the mother's attachment to her youngest son to the father's anger issues.  It doesn't have too long, though, as the movie steams ahead into the body horror and the climax of the film.  But it's still pervasive throughout.

Of course, no review of this film is complete without a discussion of Nicolas Cage.  Cage has become something of a meme with his over the top acting in some films (see: Wicker Man remake).  Here, he turns in a fantastic performance, whipsawing back and forth between Crazy Nic Cage and Dramatic Nic Cage.  It's almost like flipping a lightswitch at times.  So while many people were cheering him being crazy and over the top, I thought it was very good.  He's not just an unhinged lunatic, he's a man trying desperately to do the right thing while losing his mind and having his body falling apart.

The rest of the cast works quite well, too.  I quite enjoyed the film, and not just because I'm a huge nerd for Lovecraft. Earlier, I mentioned the movie uses body horror for some of its scares and the creepy factor.  While that's true, it's less horrifying than the term "body horror" usually implies.  Yes, there's separate beings being melded together in kinda gross ways, but it's still not as gut-churning as, say, The Thing.  It's not goopy or slimey, for one.  Which seems a minor thing, but certainly makes a difference.

In conclusion, I think this is an extremely good adaptation, and it's great to see Richard Stanley charging back with a really solid film.  And even those who really don't like gore or grossness can enjoy it.



Well. This was a movie.

I watched Joker earlier today and I'm still kind of processing what I saw. It's something of a difficult thing to work through. Because of that, and because of the structure, it's almost impossible to review this movie without spoilers. But, briefly, a spoiler-free review first:

This is a heartbreaking character study of a man on the edge falling over. Much has been written about how it's drawing from King of Comedy or Taxi Driver, but the movie I kept thinking of was Falling Down. However you slice it though, this is a very uncomfortable movie to watch, but it's just breathtaking and amazing. The other movie I kept thinking of was Requiem For a Dream. Yeah, this movie is a bit of a gut-punch. It's very, very good, but it's a tough sit at times. You've been warned. This also isn't so much a comic book movie as a psychological horror movie.

Now for more depth. Spoilers ahead and sprinkled throughout.


Thirty Years On

Back in the hoary days of 1985, a game was released that was, originally, designed to be a Wizardry-killer, it quickly turned into a mammoth beast in its own right, even if it didn't have nearly as many sequels.  This game is, of course, Tales of the Unknown: The Bard's Tale.  Over the years, it spawned two sequels, a spin-off, and recently, a successfully crowd-funded fourth entry.

But we're not here to talk about that.

We're here to talk... Remaster!


Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Yeah, I decided to skip the cute title.

So, I saw the new Star Wars movie, and like everyone else on the internet, I happen to Have Opinions about it.  I'll keep things spoiler-free up front and then move on to specific spoiler stuff later.  The very brief review is: I liked it.  I'm not entirely sure where it fits on the list of movies, it'll probably land squarely at 4th.  It's not as good as original trilogy, but it's better than the prequels, better than Force Awakens, and certainly better than Rogue One.  So... yeah, I guess it's fourth.

No, I'm being serious here.  I think much of the hate is more fan anger than anything.  It did things differently, so it's bad.  I think it's fair to remember that not all reviews of Empire Strikes Back were especially glowing at the time.  I think time will tell here and it'll settle into its place.  The zeitgeist for Force Awakens seems to have downgraded its quality and appeal, and I think time will elevate Last Jedi.


Five Sides of the Same Coin

Some random shower thoughts about the current situation that we're... enjoying.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are both symptoms of the same problem going on the country.  I mean, seriously, the 2016 election was nearly a contest between an orange-faced blowhard and an 800 year old socialist muppet.  In fact, the only reason that wasn't the case was because of side three of our coin: Jimmy Carter.


Rolling With the Tides

So, I've logged about three or so hours in Torment: Tides of Numenera, so I figured that's enough to present a review.  That's how this works, right?

More seriously, this is the kind of thing you don't want to spoil, so reviewing early seems reasonable.  I can't really spoil anything because I don't know much of anything yet anyway.

The fact that I'm caring about spoilers should say something.  Normally, I don't care, but this is one of those times where it feels like it matters.  Not necessarily for the plot, but because of the setting.

Yes, the setting.  Numenera is a weird place.  It's a bajillion years in the future, in the so-called "Ninth World".  Each "world" is like an era of mankind.  Mankind rises and then falls and then a new "world" happens.  From our 21st century perspective, we might be on the second or third world now, right?  Fall of Rome, World Wars one and two?  Something like that?  Nope.  We may not even be the first world yet. 

Yeah, we're talking huge gulfs of time here.


Please Don't Tell...

I'm a sucker for superhero books.  Not, like, DC or Marvel, mind, but the kind of weird superhero book of oddball characters.  Like, say, girls who animate plushies, or a supervillain who can't get it right, or even the considerably darker Soon I Will Be Invincible.  Hell, the pulp noir of Larry Correia's Grimnoir Chronicles scratches the same itch.

I've found that books like these are wellsprings of creativity.  In Velveteen, McGuire was able to explore the idea of what would happen to society if super powers existed (and the political ramifications thereof) while having fun creating ridiculous power sets.  Bernheimer's D-List series is a little less serious and has more fun with power sets, but it still deals with how the government would react, especially in the third book.  Grossman's Invincible was far more cynical in its dissection of the superheroing world.  Regardless, I love all these books for different reasons and in different ways.  Needless to say, when Curiosity Quills sent me a notification that Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Super Villain was available for free on Kindle, I all but tripped over myself making sure I snagged a copy.

And then I bought and read Please Don't Tell My Parents I Blew Up The Moon and Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have Henchmen.  Yes, I can be a little obsessed with this weird little genre.