The Genre Styles Of Crimson Peak (Spoilers)


     I’ve always loved gothic horror. Everything from Frankenstein to Dracula have always had this bizarre calming effect on me. When I heard that director Guillermo Del Toro was going to do a film in this style, I was giddy as fuck. As anyone who has seen Pan’s Labyrinth can attest, the man can conjure up so gorgeous horror visuals.
     When the movie was released back in October, the reaction was mixed to put it mildly. The most common thing I heard was that it wasn’t the horror movie that the trailers made it out to be.
     As much as this criticism irks me (you’re going to fault a movie based on some asshole in marketing?) it got me excited because this is going to be new…ish.
     As soon as the film started I noticed the immediate Hammer Horror influence on the picture, with the not so subtle reference of having the main characters last name be Cushing, named after Hammer alum Peter Cushing. It was a nice little touch, not much love these days for Hammer.
     Then I started to notice something interesting. The film starts out in America, the colors being a bit drab; quite a bit of murky browns, and that brought to mind Edgar Allan Poe, and yes, Mary Shelley who is also referenced. So this brought to mind that Del Toro has mixed similar horror troupes, but from different cultures.
     Once the characters reach the titular Crimson Peak, which is in England, Del Toro goes for an Italian horror feel, witg strong vibrant colors that evoke Mario Bava, or even Dario Argento. These two filmmakers, while having dealt with serial killers in their stories, also dealt with the supernatural in different ways (Bava dealing with folklore, while Argento dealt with gods).
     And now to the part of the story that pissed a lot of people off, and that was the handling of the ghosts in this movie. Referring back to the marketing of the picture, people thought they were going to see a ghost movie like The Haunting or even The Shining.
     Nothing could have been further from the actual intent of Del Toro.
     The last fascinating cultural horror mix that was crafted here by Del Toro was the ghosts in this story very much steamed from Latin American culture. While in North America, Japan, and other parts of the world, ghosts are seen as deadly apparitions, in Latin America on the other hand they’re seen as friendly guardians who look out for us.
     In Crimson Peak the monsters weren’t the ghosts, but the very human beings that we befriend, and put our trust in.
     As a sucker for throwbacks to the films of yore, I ate this shit up like a pig at a breakfast buffet. Say what you will about Guillermo Del Toro, and his past works, but at least this guy is trying to put some effort in making horror fascinating again. The guy doesn’t half ass it here, and I’m very disappointed that the picture didn’t find more of an audience in its initial release, hopefully that will change once Halloween rolls around.


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