Crash Analysis: COLOUR FROM THE DARK (Italy, 2008)

Italian interpretation of HP Lovecraft

An Italian family in WWII has good things come their way – with a price

Yes, it’s a low budget horror, but it has some solid acting, especially in the riveting Debbie Rochon (as Lucia), some wonderful make-up effects, thanks to Mauro Fabriczky and some great atmosphere because of Zuccon’s sense of color and shadow.

It’s 1943, and in the Italian countryside, a poor family is trying to live a better life. Pietro (Michael Segal) is the good man working diligently to keep his wife, Lucia and her mute sister, Alice (Marysia Kay) happy. And things do get better once a power is unleashed from the bottom of their well. But all good things come with a price, don’t they?

In this tale of possession and demise, Lovecraft’s dystopian and hopeless tale is brought to life, complete with a blue tint at night time for extra gloominess. And even though the story is fairly solid, thanks to Ivo Gazzarrini’s adaptation, director Ivan Zuccon drags out one scene too many. Furthermore, he was also the cinematographer, and he left us with a bunch of stale, often straight on shots that did nothing to shake up the screen. And the latter led to one slow and dull looking feature, which is extremely sad since he had manipulated color so well.

But Rochon, Kay and Segal carried the movie and salvaged it from an even lower rating. At times, however, Segal seemed off his game, which can only be due to lack of direction. He didn’t seem comfortable having to carry a scene on his own, unlike Rochon and Kay.

And for those of you that are subtitle-phobic, never fear, all the actors spoke English. However, even though Lovecraft fans may think the filmmakers did the author proud, it doesn’t change the fact that this movie fell short and often appeared to be a stage play – or even a soap opera. But if you can get by this, you might just enjoy Zuccon’s work. As far as Lovecraftian adaptations go, I’ll take Combs and Crampton in 1986’s FROM BEYOND any day.

Even with its shortcomings, Zuccon and company won the Brown Jenkin Award for Best Feature at the 2009 HP Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon.

2.5 out of 5 stars

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