Color Out of Space

*** Richard Stanley helmed no features after getting fired as director of The Island of Dr. Moreau more than two decades ago, but that's really more of a footnote to this H.P. Lovecraft adaptation. He returns right where he left off: working with famously unpredictable stars, sickeningly practical body horror, and classic sci-fi literature. In Color Out of Space, Nicolas Cage plays the patriarch of the Gardner clan, secluded Massachusetts woods folk who see their water contaminated and livestock terrorized by a meteorite. The space rock's electromagnetic power—expressed in an unknowable color that looks a lot like purple—only grows from there. Matching and then topping Stanley's weirdness, Cage continues his late-career momentum in hyper-violent indie horror (see: Mandy) by monologuing about alpaca lactation, dusting off his Vampire's Kiss whine and brawling with heirloom tomatoes. That manic intensity and its preceding disquiet form the story's essence. Meanwhile, major plot details, like the Gardner daughter's dabblings in witchcraft, don't even try to coalesce. The movie almost mandatorily departs from logic to present Lovecraft's overwhelming, gravitational horror. Helplessness pervades all attempts to understand "the color," and the subtextual terror of dying hideous and alone burns into the brain as deeply as any alien depravity. NR. CHANCE SOLEM-PFEIFER. Cinema 21, Hollywood.