Post Comment 37 comments on “Episode 60 – The Colour Out of Space – Part 2

  • Brown Jenkin on

    Happy Thanksgiving, HPLLP!

  • Unstrung on

    Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for the new episode!

  • Reber Clark on

    Same here. Happy Thanksgiving HPLLP!!!!! I am thankful for this excellently wonderful idea of a podcast. You guys make my week every week. Andrew too!

  • Keith McCaffety on

    Excellent! I’m surprised, though, that nobody made mention of ‘The Blob.’ It was on my mind all through this story.

  • Chris Lackey on

    Right! The Blob! I never made the connection! Foolish me!

  • Tulse on

    Another outstanding effort by our plucky crew. I give thanks for HPLLP.

    This is one of my favourite stories, precisely because of the truly alien nature of the phenomena, and the non-moral aspects of the events. Weird inexplicable bad things happen to our characters for no comprehensible reason, apparently caused by things/entities/phenomena that are completely uncategorizable. There is no clear implication of malevolence, or even intent — the events just happen. In this respect, I think this story may be the best realization of Lovecraft’s notion of cosmic horror, even though it doesn’t have the all the strange beings we have come to love, like Cthulhu and Azathoth and Yog-Sothoth, because those beings always have a sense of malign intent, of a psychology (however radicallly different from our own). By contrast, it’s not even clear what the phenomena ARE in this story, much less if they have any sort of intent of any kind. It is truly alien.

    And one aspect that didn’t get mentioned much in the podcast is the wider implications, namely that Nahum’s well will soon be part of a vast reservoir for Arkham’s drinking water. I always found this point incredibly disturbing, that whatever caused the events will now be connected to the taps of the homes of upright Arkham citizens, and that its unseen presence may manifest in ways similar to the farm, but right in the heart of the larger city.

    Lovecraft’s stories often involve fairly isolated horrors, happening to a few people, and while the implications of cosmic understanding are often terrifying, they are rather abstract, and to the extent that they involve actual future physical threats (like Cthulhu rising again), those threats are very distant. But here is a story where the horror may yet have real and concrete consequences to others at some point in the reasonably short-term future. The horror going forward is not just that the universe is radically different than we imagined, but that whatever wiped out the Gardner farm may be unleashed in some fashion on the wider world. I suppose that ending a horror tale with the implication that the events are only the beginning has become a bit cliched, it is not a trope that Lovecraft tended to use, and so is interesting to see here.

    (And what kind of immoral coward is our unnamed narrator? He thinks that some horrific phenomena has killed this family in a most terrible fashion, and that it may still lurk in the area where the reservoir will go. But instead of attempting to stop the construction, or inform the authorities of the threat, he just quits his job, moves back to Boston, and swears never to drink Arkham’s potentially toxic water. Thanks, dude! Couldn’t you have at least let Erin Brockovich know about the situation before you hoofed it out of town?)

  • Hanna on

    First of all thank you for the excellent podcast! I hadn’t read this story before but now that I have, it has become my favourite by Lovecraft. Quite emotionally touching and crept the hell out of me but then unlike Ammi I seem to have imagination bit too much.

    In the end I must mention that I agree with Tulsa about the narrator being immoral coward. He could have done bit more than just ask his former colleagues to check that Ammi is ok.

  • Eduardo on

    Another “adaptation” is the episode Day One from the BCC series Torchwood. From Wikipedia:

    Gwen Cooper’s date with her boyfriend Rhys Williams on the eve of her new job at Torchwood is interrupted when a meteor streaks over Cardiff and lands outside the city, and she is called into action. As the Army keeps the area secure, Gwen meets up with the rest of the Torchwood team and investigates the meteor. Owen taunts Gwen, calling her the “New Girl”, which causes her to throw a chisel at him, missing him but striking the meteor and cracking its surface. A purple gas escapes into the night sky. In Cardiff, the gas cloud finds the young woman Carys and enters her body, taking control of her. Entering a club, the possessed Carys seduces a man at the bar and takes him into the restrooms to have sex; at the moment of climax, the man dissolves into a pile of dust, while Carys absorbs the energy that remains.
    The team learns of the club incident, and uses CCTV to discover that the gas cloud had taken Carys and is feeding off sexual energy. They reach her home just in time to prevent her from harming her local postman, Owen uses a portable prison cell to contain her. Jack then yells at Owen for taking torchwood equipment without permission and takes the prison cell. Carys is taken back to Torchwood’s holding cells, where they learn, through both testing and uncontrollable urges that Gwen has to kiss her, that Carys is emitting high levels of pheromones around her, turning her into a walking aphrodisiac. They also learn that the gas inside her is destroying her body, and they must get it out of Carys before its too late; the gas itself needs a host as it is poisoned by Earth’s atmosphere. However, before the team realizes it, Owen has succumbed to Carys’ scent, ending up naked and alone in the cell she was in, and that she has escaped. They track her down to the entrance of Torchwood, but Jack is distracted when Carys smashes a vessel containing a severed hand, allowing her to escape into Cardiff.
    Torchwood hits the road and first tries Carys’ boyfriend’s home but finds that they are too late. The team discovers that she works as a temp at a fertility clinic and race there. While they are unable to save some of the clients, they eventually corner Carys. Gwen offers the gas presence her own body as a host, and the gas leaves Carys. Before the gas can take Gwen, Jack throws the portable prison at the gas, causing it to fall to the ground as dust since it cannot live for long in Earth’s air. Carys is then reunited with her father. Once back at Torchwood, Harkness advises Gwen to not let the job consume her because her perspective is important to the team. He also encourages Gwen to go home, eat lasagna, and kiss her boyfriend.

  • Hitmen on

    The effect of this thing reminds me a bit of the effects of nuclear radiation. Stuff that glows, mutations, disease and death.

  • Mike J. on

    There’s another adaptation that I had a hard time hunting down. I thought I might be confusing it with The Devil’s Backbone, but I wasn’t. It’s Colour from the Dark (2008). Available to rent from iTunes, which is how I stumbled across it. I can’t remember it too specifically, though.

    Anyway, love this story. It’s a good one. Disturbing, too. I think that’s because of the emotional investment Lovecraft makes us develop in the Gardner family. Usually, if someone’s being killed, they’re just nameless bystanders or evil people who’ve ‘crossed the line.’ In this, though, it’s a perfectly innocent country family, slowly going insane and disintegrating alive. It tugs at the heartstrings. Relatively speaking. Certainly more so than most Lovecraft stories.

    Anyway, thanks for the podcast, guys. Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  • Keith McCaffety on

    Yeah, ‘The Blob!’
    Look for your “nervous little pop” at about 5:10

  • Shawn on

    Hey guys,

    Never heard what the next story is going to be? Did I miss something?

  • Brown Jenkin on

    The alien entity from this story reminded me of the smoke monster from Lost.

  • Andy Hendrix on

    Great episode for a great story, this is my second favorite HPL story beside Dexter Ward.

    BTW, what story are you guys covering next week?

  • hppodcraft on

    The Very Old Folk and The Thing in the Moonlight are our next stories. Forgot to mention! Added these to the show notes:)

  • boysmithers on

    Didn’t warm to this story when I first read it but it has definitely grown on me over the years. Looking forward to hearing about The Thing in the Moonlight, that one’s HORRIBLE…

  • Steve on

    Thaddeus stumbling around and the abnormally fat hogs reminded me of mad cow/Creutzfeld-Jakob disease. Inexplicable horrors, probably close to the syphilis and dementia suffered by HPL’s parents. I agree with HPL & the posters here that this is his most successful story; the most redolent of cosmic horror. Also the living, brittle humans, grey and crumbling, remind me of so many CGI effects in modern horror films. HPL’s writing anticipated these effects so many times.

    Finally, the stereoscopic/binaural podcast sounds amazing-‘From Beyond’ is a great choice for this experiment.

  • JBL on

    The eye can only see certain wavelengths of light, so a thing like the colour out of space is an absolute impossibility… unless, as I believe, it is acting directly on the human brain, particularly the visual centre. (Back to “From Beyond” and the unseen world made visible by mental stimulation.) After all, we definitely know that it destroys the minds of its victims before going on to more physical attacks… This was Lovecraft’s own favorite of his works, and with good reason; it is one of the most terrifying, most tragic, and most influential “Gothic SF” tales of the last century.

    And let me add my vote for the arrest and incarceration of the narrator, who is more evil than the colour itself; IT may not have any moral sense, but HE does, and he’s gonna let them build that reservoir anyway.

  • Erik Anderson on

    I agree with Tulse, the thing that scares me the most about this story is the long term implication. Here we have something that destroys (feeds on?) all living things around it, at least continued exposure would call attention sooner or later and demand action. Of course dealing with something like this would be a different story all together.

    What i do know is that covering it up with water and forgetting about it never really works out that well.

    The narrator is in a tough position, after all what is he working with here? He got a story from a crazy old man, saw a bit of evidence, and had the daylights scared out of him. How does his confrontation with the “authorities” go? “So um, check it out, there is a life feeding space blob living in a hole on a bit of abandoned property, i know it’s true, Crazy Joe told me so!” The people who should have called this blighted area to attention are the team members who spent time in the house at the conclusion of the story. Running in terror in the other direction is almost a greater reaction than i would have thought most people would make based on the situation.

    The long term outlook does not seem good though for this valley. I will remember to bring good wholesome bottled tap water with me if i ever find my self out selling windmills in this part of the world.

  • Mirko Stauch on


    here I found another adaptation:

    Was a very cool episode.

  • Talleyrand on

    Fantastic job on the finale to The Colour From Space. I had forgotten how like a Greek tragedy this turns out to be, with a family cursed to die horrible one after another. Have a great Thanksgiving and remember the Zantac

  • Mark Brett on

    The thing that strikes me the most about Colour Out of Space is how very… humanitarian it is. That’s an odd thing to say, I suppose, about a story whose point seems to be that bad things happen to good people, but the younger Lovecraft would probably not have been able to make us feel so much for Nahum and his family. Rather than skirting the human cost of the inhuman cosmic horror, this time he illustrates it for us in painful detail, and the story’s that much more effective because of it. One of my favorites.

    Really looking forward to next week’s stories, by the way. I haven’t read them since high school, and I always learn things from the HPLLP treatments of those…

  • Reber Clark on

    Very good episode guys. Andrew – thank you for another fine performance. Hello to Paul, nice to have heard you – I will check out the show!

  • Robert R. on

    This one almost has an environmental bent to it, with the implication that there are connections in the environment that can impact those in the heart of a city. Lovecraft obviously liked to show how everyone is connected to some horrible, obscure things.

    Maybe it fits in with his letter writing.

    This is flatout my favorite story of Lovecraft’s. It’s tight, it’s scary, it has a human element, and there are no easy explanations.

  • Robert Weber on

    Erik Anderson stole my thunder on the Narrator. Thanks for summing it up so well, Erik.

    As for the current narration project, I would like to mention that 5.1 surround mp3 is an actual format, and with a free player people can play it on their 5.1 equipped computers. Dolby encoding would work on a DVD, but the download would probably be overwhelming. Sending hard copies to donators might be an option.

    Lastly, you can take the 5.1 recording and turn it into a binaural recording for headphone use. Google any of these for options (the binaural one would probably have to be done at a studio that offers that service).

  • David Baxter on

    I haven’t listened to the episodes because I haven’t read the story yet, but it sounds like I’ll enjoy myself when I do.

    and ooooo I’m soo excited for The Picture in the House narrated by Andrew Leman. The voice he does for the old man is so creepy, it sometimes haunts me in the night *shivers*

  • antoined on

    You’re discussion reminded me of that episode of Futurama, where Leela is on a date with this swirling green gas cloud. When Leela shots “him” down, the cloud replies with “one day you will evolve beyond your physical body, and on that day I hope you pick up the phone.”

  • feeder_goldfish on

    Oh ho! Andrew Leman reading ‘Picture in the House’ doesn’t scare me. It didn’t freak me out the first time around in episode 17. Oh, wait… Dammit! I think I left a comment. Well, I was younger then; more impressionable. I’ll be fine this time around. Just fine.

  • Timmy D on

    Hey guys!
    There is some kind of snafu on itunes, I can’t get this episode to download ? Can you help ?

  • M.K. Todd on

    Another excellent episode! Awesome reading by Andrew Leman. In addition to the Blob, and more direct adaptations, no one has mentioned the tragi-comedic homage to The Colour Out Of Space in the King/Romero/Savini produced CREEPSHOW. Stephen King himself starred as lead in the story “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill”. I saw this as a child well before I ever read Lovecraft, and instantly recognized the connection when I first read the actual story.

  • Eric Lofgren on

    I truly love your podcasts guys. I listen as often as I can. Yes, TCOoS is definitely one of HPL’s best stories. It never fails to leave me emotionally depleted and just down right ‘wigged out’ after reading it. For everyone’s information, Michael Shea wrote a sequel, titled The Color Out of Time a few years back. It’s well worth a read, but really doesn’t quite capture the sheer impact of the original. Although I have read it a few times now and it is enjoyable each read. Here’s the link to Amazon- Keep up the great work!

  • Ryan Anderson on

    I never realized it before, but the whole Tiberian concept from the Command & Conquer series of video games, is essentially based off of the monster from Colour Out of Space. (excuse the bad acting, it was the early 90s)

  • Rick Lucey on

    Another film version of this story I have not seen so I can not comment on.

  • Rick Lucey on

    Another film version of this story I have not so I can not comment on.

  • Rick Lucey on

    Of course I posted the above before listening to the pod cast. DUH! Great episode BTW!

  • TrueKilcockian on

    I have always thought that the colour could be a metaphor for radioactivity.

  • Matthew on

    I just gave these two shows a re-listen and it made me think of a pretty loose adaptation. It was one of the vignettes in Creepshow (The first on I think). Stephen King has one of my favorite horror line deliveries ever: “METEOR SH*T!”

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