This thought is not mine, but Ken Hite’s. It’s part of his bloody marvelous Tour de Lovecraft, which should be on everybody’s short list of horror-genre analysis books to buy, but the relevant bit is here:
Hence, you can watch Pleasantville as a photographic negative of “The Colour Out of Space.” As the color which nobody in the world has ever seen before spreads, their society is destroyed. We have met the Colour, and it is us.
No, think about it for a second. Consider Pleasantville as a horror film:
Tobey Maguire (Nylarthotep) and Reese Witherspoon (Yog-Sothoth), thanks to the stars being right, are transported to the Pleasantville continuum by Don Knotts (Azathoth). Once there, the two Great Old Ones systematically go about destroying the fragile reality of their victims via their mere presence, starting with minor changes spread by esoteric rituals, then expanding as forbidden lore suddenly starts manifesting itself through the universe. The hapless inhabitants are swiftly corrupted by this intrusion from Outside, becoming physically deformed along with their environment; all attempts to stop the invasion fail, because the problem is that the invading reality is simply more Real and True than what it’s destroying.
In the end, after considerable amounts of physical violence, the cultists succeed in destroying the last defenders of the old ways, the nature of the universe itself is fundamentally altered, and the inhabitants may join a world where they may be “free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy.*” Yog-Sothoth stays behind, to enjoy dominion over this new home; while Nylarthotep returns to his home dimension, no doubt to prepare for the next mission for his Idiot Demon-Sultan.
Cue the happy ending theme music.
Puts the movie in a whole different light, huh?
Don’t curse me; curse Ken Hite. Then buy his stuff.
*Otherwise known as the ‘late 1950s and 1960s.’ Yes, there were a lot of cool things going on during that period, too – but thanks to the ‘heroes’ of this movie yet another world gets to experience, say, the Killing Fields. Nice job, that.