Welcome to week two of our Covid Closedown film programme. We had finalised our April to June season of films just before we had to announce that it was cancelled, so instead each week we’re sharing with you the film we had planned to screen (and where you can find it now), and recommending another film connected in some way.
This week we were going to bring you COLOR OUT OF SPACE, based on the 1927 science fiction short story of (nearly) the same name by H. P. Lovecraft.
The quiet rural life of Nathan and Theresa Gardner (Nicolas Cage and Joely Richardson) and their young family is rocked when a meteorite crashes into their front yard. The mysterious object seems to melt into the earth, infecting both the land and the properties of space-time. Mutant forms of technicolour flora start sprouting, while local animals begin to display bizarre deformities. Soon, the Gardners realize that they too are susceptible to the extraterrestrial pathogen, and must escape the contagious cloud that has consumed their farm.
The film won the Best Feature and Audience Choice awards at the 2019 H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival and was nominated for Best Picture at the Sitges Catalonian International Film Festival. Critics describe it as “an audacious and admirably out there cosmic horror” (Empire) with “the makings of a cult classic” (The Guardian).
For our recommended film this week, it’s another hyperstylised slice of quiet rural life turned violently upside down in Panos Cosmastos’s MANDY, also starring Nic Cage.
In the Pacific Northwest of 1983, Red (Cage) and Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) live a loving and peaceful life, until their haven is destroyed by a violent cult set on making Mandy their latest recruit. When she is kidnapped, Red arms himself with the tools of his lumberjack trade and stops at nothing to rescue her and seek his bloody vengeance.
MANDY won awards at festivals around the world, including several for its incredible original music by Jóhann Jóhannsson. Some critics hated it; the rest loved this “no-holds-barred ride into madness destined for a thousand midnight screenings” (Empire Magazine), an “amped-up trip into pulp’s purest quintessence” (Sight and Sound).
We screened MANDY in 2018 as part of that year’s Dead of Night: Hull Horror Film Festival. If you missed it then, or fancy immersing yourself in its psychadelic charms once again, you can rent or buy on a range of digital platforms, or get the DVD or Bluray from the usual retailers.