Creepy, Creaky Old Houses Week: Crimson Peak

22 Oct

October is Horror Movie month, where we let down our hair and celebrate all things macabre and scary! Not that we don’t during the rest of the year, but still… HORROR MOVIES! People who don’t like horror are encouraged to check back November 1st for less bloody and/or disturbing films. For everyone else, let’s put on our galoshes and WADE INTO THE MIRE!

Creepy, Creaky Old Houses Week is a gear-switch from Hell Week; in Hell Week we donned our raincoats and galoshes to wade into the Hellraiser movies– bloody, fleshy, hooky, painy, S&My wonders that they are. This week is all about subtle, understated horror, with very little blood, highbrow content, and plenty of atmospherics. So put on your Edwardian nightclothes and some hard-soled shoes– we’re creeping slowly up staircases while clutching unreliable lighting sources this week!

Today’s entry is Crimson Peak, which just opened last week! Since it’s still in theaters today’s entry will contain NO SPOILERS.

The colors! The colors!

The colors! The colors!

If I had to describe Crimson Peak in a single long word without taking a breath, it would be RomancySwoonyBloodySteampunkySexyCostumeyVictorianyHiddlestonsassy. There, you’re all caught up! I leave it up to you if that last one is ‘Hiddleston sassy’ or ‘Hiddlestons assy’ because both are apt.

Ripped from the sweat-stained pages of my secret smut diary!

Ripped from the sweat-stained pages of my secret smut diary!

I was SO. EXCITED. when the trailer came out almost a year ago. Maybe my expectations were overbuilt or something, because although there were many, MANY things I loved about Crimson Peak, I did feel myself a bit let down. I just wasn’t feeling it… I cried big ugly sobs during so many of Guillermo Del Toro’s other films– even Hellboy 2!– but for some reason the emotional center of this film never gelled for me.

Without a doubt, the film:

  • Is composed of a beautifully twisted world of extremes: the sun-drenched golds of Buffalo and the slate-sky’d, wintry moors surrounding Allerdale Hall define the light spectrum of the film
  • Contained some of the most magnificent sets and costumes, especially the aforementioned Allerdale in all its decrepit, strangely sentient glory
  • Is atmospheric almost to a fault
  • Was advertised as brain-melting horror but never quite got inside my head– the ghosts were grotesque, but ultimately quite sad
  • Held fascinating characters, an engaging setup, and plenty of promise
  • Reminded me of Poe’s The Fall of The House of Usher, and I wondered why I haven’t seen that mentioned in reviews.

Edith Cushing is a young, well-to-do lady not content to lay around and spend her father’s hard-earned money; she’s got a dream. She’s a writer, so right away my interest was peaked (HA! yes we are still doing bad puns). Literally stained with ink, she waits, with her heart in her throat, while an editor boredly pages through her work. He dismisses it and tells her that since she’s a woman, she ought to write romances instead of ghost stories. She astutely points out that it’s not a ghost story, but a story with a ghost in it, which all but sets up the film for us. Undaunted by the rejection, Edith resolves to learn to type so that her feminine handwriting won’t give away her gender to the next editor.

"Who's that idjit dancing with Edith?" I LOVE JIM BEAVER SO MUCH EVER SINCE DEADWOOD!!

“Who’s that idjit dancing with Edith?” I LOVE JIM BEAVER SO MUCH EVER SINCE DEADWOOD!!

Her industrialist father Carter, played by Jim Beaver, is supportive of her dream and so she practices her typing at his firm’s typewriter, which is at the front desk of the firm. It is there she meets Sir Thomas Sharpe, baronet whose come to town to drum up financial support in a machine he’s designed. Believe me when I say his intro is magic; with a spring in his step and tophat on his head, he saunters along a ray of sunshine, radiating confidence and integrity. He notices her story and picks it up, fascinated, and THEN I knew that Del Toro had in fact been reading my diary because GOD ALMIGHTY– a well-dressed, incredibly dapper gent who turns up out of nowhere, has intelligent input on her writing, and exudes manners and charm?

I'd faint if I weren't so busy swooning

I’d faint if I weren’t so busy swooning… oh, what the hell. *thump*

Although she’s sort of attached to ultra all-American Dr. Alan McMichaels (Charlie Hunnam) she is quickly swept off her feet by the dashing Sir Sharpe when he literally waltzes her around the room. But Sharpe has a secret that Carter hires Holly (Burn Gorman, who is in EVERYTHING, I say! EVERYTHING!) to ferret out. A murder, a funeral, and a marriage follow, in that order.

Although the characterizations start out strong, they start to fall apart as the movie loses its footing. For example: Edith is from BUFFALO, a town famous for encountering ridiculously harsh winters. And yet later in the film when shit has Gotten Real, she is only too ready to run out into the snow in her bedclothes to escape the house. I found that hard to swallow, and it’s one of the main reasons I don’t get why people are calling her such a great character. The situation wasn’t so dire that she had to escape right away, and she would know full well that such a move would get her frozen faster than if she asked her sister-in-law Lucille for a hug.

My hair caught fire from just looking at this picture

My hair caught fire from just looking at this picture

Another dumb nit I must pick – there is a huge hole in Allerdale Hall’s roof, through which leaves tumble gently in a continual cascade. And yet– there are no trees around the house!

File 404: Foliage Not Found

File 404 Error: Foliage Not Found

I know it’s a stupid thing to focus on in this otherwise beautiful and haunting film, but I can’t help it. I pick because I care!

I won’t tell you Crimson Peak isn’t good – it’s great and it does a lot of things right. For one thing, it turns the gothic romance genre on its head in a lot of ways, even as it celebrates them. Thomas is dashing and mysterious, but he’s also an inventor who’s trying to rebuild his family’s lost fortune, and his endearing sweetness sets him apart from the usual brooding hunks you find in these films. Allerdale Hall is perfectly vast, creeply and creaky, but it’s also falling apart and slowly sinking into the red clay upon which it’s built. A perfectly cast Jessica Chastain appears as Lucille, an aristocratic iceberg who must do most of the housework herself since the Sharpe fortune is long gone.

The critics are raving about it, it’s already got a built-in fandom, and I will definitely add it to my Del Toro collection when it’s out on blu-ray.

Thanks for reading this installment of Creepy Creaky week! Sorry there are only two entries, I have some personal business going on that precludes me from blogging. Next week’s theme will be Halloween And the Kitchen Sink, in which we explore horror movies that threw everything Halloweenish at the viewer, including the kitchen sink!

Have a great week!

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Creepy, Creaky Old Houses Week: Crimson Peak”

  1. Nicholas C. Rossis October 22, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    “Foliage Not Found” – classic 😀

    Thanks for the fascinating review 🙂

  2. dana October 29, 2015 at 10:12 am #

    I went to the cinema yesterday for something to do but I really enjoyed the movie and walked home thinking I could see a ghost in the corner of my eye I loved the part were Edith discovers the truth and when the ghost shows her *spoiler* something about Thomas Sharpe

    • jennnanigans October 29, 2015 at 10:21 am #

      That’s lovely! I love when horror movies stay with you like that, it’s so rare these days. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

... but what do YOU think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

J. A. Allen

Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins

AfroSapiophile

Intelligent Black Thought.

Writing Is Hard Work

Musings of a hard working writer.

Janet Carr @

This Bug's Life

I create worlds. John E. Brito's Blog

Behind the scenes of John E. Brito's animated and live action (short) films & comics

Josep Goded

Seeking Truth

Stuff White People Like

This blog is devoted to stuff that white people like

Dark Matters

For Well-Rounded Blerds and POC Nerds

Examining the Odd

literature, visual art, music and film

My Year Cooking with Chris Kimball

Recipes from Cook's Illustated, Cook's Country and America's Test Kitchen

The Entertainment Patrol (and general musings)

My musings about everything from entertainment to life!

Writer's Haven

Words from heart

Lovecraft eZine

Weird Fiction, Cosmic horror, and the Cthulhu Mythos

breaktimestories

Musings, Short stories, Inspiration.

BROTHA WOLF

Howling For Justice!

MyCreativeRamblings.org

“I used to want to be an astronaut, but astronauts don't even go to the moon anymore.”

BecomeBetty.com

Food, drinks, style, and humor

BaileyBee

The Hive

Carmilita's Handmade Jewelry

handmade bead jewelry

Mark My World

Hacking life while enjoying everything in between

Really Awful Movies

Horror Movies, Science Fiction, Exploitation, Action, Genre Films.

yaskhan

Poetry, free verse, haiku, senryu, photography, books, art, philosophy , nature.

TheWarner

Your Source for Honest Commentary and Reviews

Rob Powell Writes

Let's see where this goes, starting with some short stories and flash fiction.

Opinionated Woman

Opinionated women of the world, unite!

BayArt

New Perspective on Life

What's Your Chic?

Your Chic. Your Style.

Meditating Millennial

A Millennial's Journey Into Meditation and Mindfulness

Sparkle With UC

Leave a Little Sparkle Wherever You Go

word and silence

poetry & prose by Tim Miller

Blog of the Dragon

Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire news, theories, and other nerdy goodness

LOWLIFE MAGAZINE

"Find what you love and let it kill you." – Charles Bukowski

tekehdddddddddddddddddddddddddddd.wordpress.com/

About life, the universe and everything

Londongrad

Erotica City of London Russia Confessions

The Gymternet

The ultimate gym site. For the ultimate gym nerd.

witchlike

Exploring wise-craft and weirdness

CHILANGOGEEK

Hobbies, Comics, Customs & Peliculas

Forged From Reverie

A compendium of Fantasy, Fiction & Thoughts. Will you revel in Reverie?

The Alexandria Papers

Entertainment Reviews & Things Wondrous Strange

%d bloggers like this: