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Film / The Curse

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The Curse (also known as The Farm) is a 1987 American horror film adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft's The Colour Out of Space, directed by David Keith. It stars a young Wil Wheaton as Zack Crane.

The plot in general is similar enough to that of the novel.


This film is cursed with:

  • Adaptational Villainy: A lot! In the original novel no one shows really violent or deplorable behaviours. Here a list is needed.
    • Nathan is a zealot who slaps Zack in a couple of occasions, who ignores Zack's remarks regarding the taste of the food and water and who thinks the curse is God's punishment for his wife's adultery and blames her for this. When he is tainted and becomes a crazy mutant, he tries to kill Zack and he kills the neighbour/physician. In the original novel, Nahum (which is Nathan's name in the novel) never shows signs of this kind of behaviours and he is instead one of the firsts to understand that the meteorite has poisoned his farm.
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    • Cyrus, the eldest son, bullies Zack on a couple of occasions. It goes from bad to worse when they are poisoned by the mysterious substance: he too tries to kill Zack and Alice.
    • And finally the neighbour, who in the novel is the best friend of the family and stays near them till the end, here is a physician who lies about the meteorite to protect the investments of a speculator (then he tries to fix it, dying as a result: see Redemption Equals Death, below).
  • Adaptational Heroism: Zack, in spades. But even Allen the physician, who eventually tries to save Zack and Alice, and at the end the TVA representative Carl.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Frances (the wife). She becomes an unsatisfied wife and an adulterer.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Everyone.
  • Body Horror: Who is poisoned by the meteorite becomes a sort of rotting mutant (and a potential murderer).
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  • Contemptible Cover: The story is about Toxic Phlebotinum landing on a farm, not about a giant hand reaching up from Hell.
  • The Corruption: As in the novel, on people, plants, buildings and the landscape alike.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: As in the novel, the ultimate fate of who has been poisoned. It is debatable which version is worse, if the one in the novel (where the living beings seem to lose their vital force and their mind) or here (where the living beings become rotting and crazy mutants).
  • Death by Adaptation: Allen, the neighbour (who here visits the home not as a friend but as a physician).
  • Death by Sex: Frances is an adulterer and is the first one to be tainted and poisoned.
  • I'm Melting!: The ultimate condition of Frances, when Zack finds her in the attic.
  • In Medias Res: The movie starts with the Crane's farmhand being arrested and raving about "It" being in the water. It then cuts to six months previous, the day before the meteorite lands on the Crane farm.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Frances, when she starts to show signs of madness. In the end, when she mutates, Nathan closes her in some kind of cellar.
  • Parents as People: Nathan is a flawed individual, but is trying to do right by his stepson as well as his biological son. He doesn't always take Cyrus' side, letting Zach flip him the bird after Cyrus calls him a dork. He also only physically punishes Zach for things like blasphemy and outright, to-his-face disrespect on his own property, and even then it's only a swat that comes with a lesson instead of a beating because "I hate you." He only becomes malevolent when the Color drives him insane.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In the novel the events occur in months, but if this was true in the movie, Zack and Alice wouldn't have any mean to avoid the taint. Indeed, while we see that Zack brings from town some food and water to Alice at least once, we even see that Nathan forces them to eat all their tasty cursed meals. It could have been an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole. But here the events seem to occur in few days, with the curse hitting and mutating the living beings much faster than in the novel. The Colour is shown as a greyish-cyan light, which is otherworldly without being too difficult to produce consistently. The reservoir survey also happens cocurrently with the events of the story instead of being a Framing Device.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Allen the neighbour and physician: he lies about the meteorite (see the Adaptational Villainy above), but when he understands that the Cranes are being poisoned by a mysterious substance, he tries to fix his mistake. In the end he is killed by a mutant and crazy Nathan, while he tries to save Zack and Alice.
  • Spared By Adaptation: Zack and Alice.
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