When I found Joshua Graham’s novella The Accidental Exorcist (2013, Joshua Graham) on Amazon.com I felt compelled to read it. The subject of possession has intrigued me since high school when I read William Peter Blatty’s novel The Exorcist (1971, William Peter Blatty) for the first time. (I slept with the lights and the closet doors open for a week—my parents were so ticked off.) [Read more…]
As Above, So Below (2014) is a found-footage film by brothers John and Drew Dowdle who are no strangers to the horror genre. It follows three previous horror films—Devil (2010), Quarantine (2008), and The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007). The film is set in modern-day Paris, mostly in the Parisian catacombs, with opening and closing found footage clips. [Read more…]
I picked up Interlands: A Tale of the Supernatural, by Vincent O’Neil (2013, Vincent O-Neil), while searching on Amazon.com through its abundant selection of Kindle eBooks. When I learned that Interlands takes place in Providence, Rhode Island, I had to read the book for two purely selfish reasons. For one, a large part of my family lives in the state (I feel the connection to place), and two, the synopsis screams of Lovecraft.
Angie Morse, a graduate student of history at a Providence college, is trying to make a name for herself. She’s finished her coursework, but she’s looking for that one special find that will get the attention of billionaire historian Oliver Price, who funds experts like her to explore the world in search of the existence of lost places and forgotten lore. For such a treasured position, Angie will risk anything. Using an old photograph, historic documentation, and local folklore, Angie explores the area around Providence in search of an ancient obelisk once worshiped by early settlers, feared by Native Americans, and ultimately destroyed by the authorities. The folklore about the obelisk is unsettling, perhaps even satanic, but it’s the find she needs to get Price’s attention. Along the way, Angie discovers the obelisk may have modern worshipers—friends and acquaintances whose motives are deceitful. As she slowly unravels the mystery surrounding the obelisk, we learn the truth—all that we can know—about its history and its worshipers.
The book has multiple strengths, but O’Neil’s ability to develop credible characters is the best. I found myself emotionally connected with Angie; In her quest for the obelisk, she is often alone in the woods, at home, at the library, or in public. The descriptions of Providence and the surrounding woods and in Angie’s movements are so superb that I feel her fear, her dread, her sorrow, her confusion, and her anger as she desperately searches for the obelisk. I want her to succeed on many levels. O’Neil’s other characters are just as strong—the neighbor, who looks out for Angie, and who once experienced something strange in the woods, too; The former roommate who we learn about through Angie’s thoughts and memories, and later, in a phone call; The research assistant, who appears to want more than just a work relationship with Angie, but who also seems like he might be working against her; Her therapist, who went mad while looking out his window, and who might have been her lover; and her many encounters with local folks and somewhat creepy acquaintances in her search for the obelisk.
The story starts out a little slow, but it’s engaging from the start—another plus for O’Neil. Angie is on her way to the woods in search of the obelisk, thinking about finishing her master’s degree and the possibility of working for Oliver Price,while she considers the evidence she’s collected. Strong Lovecraftian themes are present throughout the story, most notably cosmicism, and in the end, a few unanswered questions. Lovecraft fans won’t be disappointed. I found the book to be so engaging that I stopped everything and read it from start to finish in one day. I really enjoyed it. Lovecraftians, fans of the supernatural, and readers who like solving puzzles should read Interlands: A Tale of the Supernatural. You won’t be disappointed.
INTERLANDS: A TALE OF THE SUPERNATURAL
By Vincent O’Neil
CreateSpace, 226 pp., $8.99
Colour From the Dark (2008) is director Ivan Zuccon’s artistic interpretation of H. P. Lovecraft’s short story “The Colour Out of Space” (1927). It follows two previously released films also based on the short story—Die, Monster, Die! (1965) starring Boris Karloff, and The Curse / Curse 2: The Bite (Double Feature) (1987), starring Wil Wheaton. Colour From the Dark is a horror film set in the Italian country side in 1943. The main character, Lucia, is played by horror great Debbie Rochon; talented Michael Segal as Pietro; and, Marysia Kay, who plays an awesome Alice.
It sucks your life out.
World War II is in full-swing. Pietro, his wife Lucia, and his mentally challenged sister in-law, Alice, live in humble dwellings in the Italian countryside. Pietro, who has a bum knee, works the fields with Lucia and Alice while his three brothers are away at war. Although the small family is clearly poor, they seem happy and content with life. All is well until Monday. Alice struggles while retrieving the bucket from the well. Pietro eventually helps her, and the two unleash a foul-smelling vapor that leaves an underlying colorful glow in the water. Soon the small farm is in full bloom. The plants are growing at an uncanny rate, the vegetables are super size, and the earth is fertile. Alice, who is mute, begins to talk. At first, Lucia and Pietro believe they are blessed, but things deteriorate rapidly. Over the next seven days, the color from the well, the glow, spreads throughout the farm, all over the house, and all through them. Eventually, everything becomes dry and dead. Over the next seven days their lives deteriorate as demonic and evil events terrorize the small family.
Most of the action takes place in the dark: the bedrooms, an unlit house, the barn, the well, and in the dark fields. The darkness sets the mood for the decline of Lucia and eventually all of the others. Some of the action happens while the characters are dreaming, which helps fill in some of the blanks in the story. There are key scenes in the daylight. These are mostly at the beginning of the film, before the color is unleashed, and the characters are happy and normal. Once the color is unearthed, the landscape becomes vibrant for just a short period. It rapidly decays and the earth becomes gray, ashen, and colorless. In a short time, the colorlessness spreads across the garden, the yard, and on everything in the house and barn. Eventually, it sucks the life out of everything it touches.
The acting is great. The characters are well-done and believable (if you believe in demonic possession). Rochon’s performance as Lucia, a devout woman who, in seven days, transforms into an evil incarnate, is superb. She effortlessly transforms from the caring and selfless Lucia to the demoniac held captive in the barn by Pietro. Michael Segal is convincing as Pietro, a poor farmer who tries to do the right thing and keep the family together while fighting off the colorful glow. His character is hard-working, sincere, and honest. He, too, eventually succumbs to despair and ultimately the “color”. Maryisa Kay’s portrayal as Alice, Lucia’s mute sister who has mental challenges, is not only believable but also critical to the plot.
The special effects are low-budget and support the decline of the vibrant countryside and on the downfall of the characters. Once the color takes over, it spreads rapidly and covers everything in a blanket of decay and ruin. More than one crucifix melts away, and the physical appearance of the characters grow demoniac. While the special effects are not on the cutting edge, they work well in the film. The main props are the isolated farmhouse, the well, and the fields of decay. Nothing more is needed.
Lovecraft is one of my favorite authors, and I make it a point to watch film adaptations of his works. Many elements in Lovecraft’s story are true in the film: the well, the grayness, the decay, the wind, the madness, the bitter vegetables, the colorful glow, and the deaths of all who come in contact with the color. There are significant differences between the short story and Zuccon’s Colour. If you haven’t read Lovecraft’s short story, I won’t spoil it for you completely. Lovecraft’s story takes place in the late 1800’s in America while Zuccon sets the action in the Italian countryside during World War II. That’s about all I’m going to say about the short story. My only criticism is about short scenes that seem to go no where. This was probably noticeable because I’m familiar with the short story. One example is the story of Teresa. I gather that she was a Jew in hiding, and I assume the Nazis kill her. I’m not sure what purpose she served in the film, and if Zuccon told us, I missed it. We were shown her rotting corpse on occasion for reasons unknown to me. This entire storyline could have been deleted, and it wouldn’t hurt the story. Lovecraft’s short story is more science fiction than horror. A meteorite falls from the sky and poisons the water. While the events that happen after are close to what Pietro, Lucia, and Alice encounter, Lovecraft’s story is more focused on the science of the thing, an alien phenomenon that destroys life. Zuccon’s color was unearthed from the well, suggesting an ancient demon caused the possession and death of the farm’s inhabitants.
Director: Ivan Zuccon
Writer: Ivo Gazzarrini, H.P. Lovecraft (story)
Stars: Debbie Rochon, Michael Segal, Marysia Kay, Gerry Shanahan
Runtime: 92 min
Released: 09 Mar 2012
Colour from the Dark Official Website
Watch Colour From the Dark now on Amazon Instant Video.