Germany-based filmmaker Patrick Mueller returns to the Lomography Magazine with yet another incredible short film. Shot with the LomoChrome Purple 16mm, his surreal take on H.P. Lovecraft's horror masterpiece "The Colour Out of Space" will definitely leave you speechless. Here, Mueller talks about the inspiration behind his newest masterpiece.
What has been keeping you busy lately?
I’m currently preparing an adaptation of the dark, Swedish poem “SÄV, SÄV, SUSA”, (“Sigh, sedges, sigh”) that I will shoot on 16mm Fomapan R100 Motion picture film on Rügen Island in Germany.
Why did you choose to adapt the "The Colour Out of Space" with the LomoChrome Purple?
It all started some years ago, when Lomography brought the Lomochrome Purple 16mm Motion Picture film to market. Instantly comments popped up in the internet, asking “What is it good for? Plants on it have the wrong colors and people look ill.” Suddenly I remembered the short story "The Colour Out of Space" by H.P. Lovecraft (1890–1937). Therein a meteorite hits the ground, poisoning every living being nearby. Vegetation grows large but are foul-tasting, and the people go insane or die one by one. The perfect story for an experimental horror film!
Tell us more about this short film.
I began shooting The Colour Out of Space in the Dartmoor in England where I tried to find equivalents for the original locations in New England. You might know the Dartmoor from Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. The ground was cursed since Hugo Baskerville chased a woman to death in the era of the English Civil War. That’s why the “blasted heath“, depicted in Lovecraft’s short story, is now the Dartmoor. And I also found an equivalent to the meteorite: Avebury! Like at Stonehenge you have neolithic stone circles that are said to have magical qualities that you cannot explain. But there are also sacred trees with big and mysterious, entwined roots.
Filming only with my old mechanical Keystone A-9 Criterion 16mm camera and many hours spent in my darkroom hand-processing the extraterrestrial footage was a lot of fun. Ochoypico in Madrid, Spain did a beautiful 4K transfer of the footage. When the editing was finished, Chemnitz-based composer Uwe Rottluff aka WellenVorm created a wonderful musical score, that is a perfect match to the moving pictures.
The film had its world-premiere at the H.P. Lovecraft Festival in Portland, Oregon and was screened in several European Film festivals, for example in Braunschweig and also in Paris where it won a Special Mention at SIGNES DE NUIT.
What's the most important insight form HP Lovecraft's story that you want to highlight in this short film?
Lovecraft uses numerous suggestions to create a latently menacing and uncanny atmosphere. So the biggest challenge for me was to visually recreate the strong atmosphere of the horror story and to show the transformation of the nature. Like the helpless people in the short story, the audience of the short film should be exposed to the beautiful, strange colour which they can’t explain and witness it with both fascination and anxiety.