The career of Nicholas Cage is one that could be studied for years. Starting out as a comedic actor in the 80’s in such films as Moonstruck and Raising Arizona, Cage went on to become one of Hollywood’s great leading men in the 90’s, leading anything from action films to Oscar heavyweights. Cage even won an Oscar for 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas and was nominated again in 2002 for Spike Jonez’s Adaptation.
Cage has always been a bit over-the-top as an actor, but one could argue that in 2006, everything changed for him and his career. Cage starred in a remake of the 70’s cult classic, The Wicker Man, and it is one of the great debacles in recent cinema history. The meme-worthy shots and the hilarious, absurd line readings changed the way people viewed the Cage and his acting and he was never the same again.
After The Wicker Man, Cage became a man who seems to do any movie that crosses his way. Since 2010, Cage has starred in 40(!) films, most of them being films that nobody has heard of. Yet in midst of all these no-name movies, Cage has turned in some pretty decent performances, most notably in Kick-Ass, Joe, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. But Cage’s best performances have come over the last couple years and all have come from a surprising, yet perfect genre that fit who Cage is as an actor: Midnight Madness horror movies. With films like Mom and Dad and Mandy, two wild, violent films that are just as over-the-top as Cage, they harnessed Cage’s madness and utilized it to match the tone of the film. The results were truly stellar and both the films and the performances by Cage are great.
Cage’s latest performance in Color Out of Space, another movie primed to become a Midnight Movie classic, is yet another captivating, insane performance, which fits perfectly in this haunting, chilling, delirious, wildly original horror film.
Color Out of Space is unlike any sci-fi horror movie I’ve ever seen. A meteorite lands on the Gardner family’s front yard and causes mayhem amongst them and anyone else around their home. It is best to know as little as possible when going into the film as the film unfolds in ways you would never expect. There were scenes of genuine shock and horror and the film took turns I did not think it would take. Some scenes are gross and some scenes will make you jump, but that’s what makes a great horror movie isn’t it? The film also features a finale I won’t be forgetting any time soon.
Based on the short story by H.P. Lovecraft, director Richard Stanley doesn’t just focus on the horror aspects. Color Out of Space is really a look at the breaking apart of the family dynamic. The Gardner’s go from a seemingly normal, middle-class family and we see them slowly break apart as the effect of the meteor takes hold of them. Though each person in their family has their quirks, like the daughter who is into dark spirts, the son who smokes too much and has no ambition, and the father with a drinking problem, they are all a family until they are torn apart. This adds layers to a film and makes it more than a one-note horror film,
Cage gives an incredibly wild performance, though the brilliance in the performance lies in the slow-burn of it. Color Out of Space is a slow-burning film that lets loose in the last third and so does Cage. The slow-burning Cage says some ridiculous things, like how to milk an alpaca, and slowly gets weirder and weirder as the movie goes on until the breaking point. Cage’s voice switches accents every now and then, which makes no sense but only adds to his character and his performance. You can’t take your eyes off Cage and his performance here solidifies him as one of the great modern Midnight Movie actors.
Color Out of Space is a treat for all horror fans. A movie that will have you feeling a number of different emotions. It will gross you out, shock you, scare you, and make you laugh occasionally. It’s ambiguous ending is chilling and we get a bananas, off-the-wall performance from Nicholas Cage. Find a theater that is playing Color Out of Space, buy a ticket, grab a few beers, and enjoy some midnight madness.
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