Colour from the Dark
colour from the dark | ivan zuccon | ivo gazzarrini | debbie rochon | michael segal | marysia kay | based on | short story | h.p. lovecraft | lovecraftian | italy | possessed | possession | demon | demons | gerry shanahan | eleanor james | matteo tosi | alessandra guerzoni
Film: Colour from the Dark
Director: Ivan Zuccon
Writer: Ivo Gazzarrini
Starring: Debbie Rochon, Michael Segal and Marysia Kay
This was a film that I learned about from the horror film encyclopedia that I’m working through. I didn’t know much about it aside from the name and year. Something interesting is that I thought the title was similar to a film that is rumored to be made and it wasn’t until after that I realized both are based on the same H.P. Lovecraft story. The synopsis is a married couple and her mentally handicapped sister unleashes something from their well that makes life better, but then also destroys them.
We kick this off with Alice (Marysia Kay) as she wakes up in the night. She is the mentally handicapped sister. We learn from dialogue later that she doesn’t talk and she has a toy that she carries everywhere. She gets out of bed and goes down to the well. She thinks that she drops her doll when she is trying to put a bucket down there. She’s then back in her room and is bleeding. She is panicking when her sister, Lucia (Debbie Rochon) and her husband, Pietro (Michael Segal) come into the room. They think she is sleeping and having a night terror. Lucia says to not wake her and let it play out.
We then learn that this is taking place in Italy back in 1942. Pietro has an issue with his knee and it is hard work on their small farm. Lucia takes care of Alice as well as the house. Pietro’s brother Luigi is off in World War II and he misses him severely. With his knee how it is, he needs his help. Living nearby is Giovanni (Gerry Shanahan) and his granddaughter Anna (Eleanor James). I believe that Anna is either married to or just in love with Luigi. That night we see Anna is helping a local Jewish woman escape, Teresa (Alessandra Guerzoni). She is murdered by someone in the woods though.
Alice is told to fetch water from the well, but she drops the bucket without securing it first. It sinks into the water. She tries to get it out with a long hook they have, but its catching. She finds Pietro and signals she needs his help. He tries to free it, but it seems like something else is freed from beneath it. Smoke is released, but he does get he bucket back. He tries the water and it seems fine.
Things start to change though in their lives after what is released. Pietro’s knee is healed, Alice can talk and Lucia seems to be abandoning her Catholic faith to pursue more carnal desires. There is an odd light coming from the well and it is almost like electricity jumping from things. Their crops have more yields and everything seems to be getting better. That’s until we see that this force is actually sinister and tears them apart.
As I started this off, I stated I didn’t know anything about the story. I will admit that as the film really kind of starts to play out, I thought it felt very Lovecraftian and I found it interesting this is based off his story ‘The Colour Out of Space’. I love his concepts of there being things much older than humans and that they can tempt us with their power. We definitely get that here, my problem though is I would have liked a little bit of that explored.
This film does do a great job of establishing the character’s lives and what is normal for them. All of these events take place over a week and we see how drastically things changes in that time. I did catch a title of another review how this is a metaphor for fascism in Italy during the war. I actually can see that. Early on it is showing how great things are. It also shows how quickly things fall apart as well and how those in charge take what they want.
To get back to what I disliked, I just felt like it moves too fast through things. We never really get a resolution. A local priest, Father Mario (Matteo Tosi), comes to help and there’s nothing he can do. I did like this aspect, as I love this entity being older than Christianity and it is powerless. Luigi (Emmett J Scanlan) also comes home and I can see how this is showing that WWII was a pointless war from the view of Italians. My problem is that I wish they could have explored what came from the well and learn something about it, because we get none of that.
I do have to give the film credit on its editing. The film runs 92 minutes and it really does move through things. I actually think it might move a bit too fast for my liking to be honest. The changes that happen are done at perfect intervals though, so I did enjoy that. This film is actually pretty bleak, which is something I do tend to enjoy in my films. I also like the implications that it expanding out and there’s nothing that can stop it. This can also harkens back to the allegory of fascism as well.
Acting for this film I thought was also fine. Rochon was interesting as Lucia. She doesn’t have any ailments, but we see that she’s been motherly to take care of his sister who can’t for herself. I did like that when things change, she becomes sexualized. It is great because of her religion and I’m a sucker for films that use the perversion of things that are supposed to be absolutely good. Segal I thought was solid as well. He is a rock that continues to be broken down. Kay was solid as well. I like how child-like she pretends and as things change, she sees the dangers of what is happening. The rest of the cast rounded out the film for what it needed as well.
Something I had a lot of issues with was the effects. There are some practical effects in the film and they are actually really good. There was one scene that even made me cringe, which is what I like to see. Blood for the film was a solid color and consistency. The problem though was in the CGI. There was very little that was good from it. The rest was just cheap looking. They also did a lot with a green screen that just was bad. That really took me out of it, because I could tell.
Now with that said, this film has some really solid aspects and some that aren’t so much. I’m a sucker for films that adapt the works of Lovecraft. I do just wish this would have explored more of what it is and kind of establish a bit there. I do like the concept of this being a possible metaphor for fascism as well as the perversion of religion. I thought the pacing was good. The acting was solid. The practical effects were good, but most of the CGI was just bad. Score for the film really didn’t stand out to me, but it also didn’t hurt the film. I did think that this film does do some good things and it also did some not so good things. I think I have to give this one an average score for that reason.
My Rating: 5 out of 10