Film Corner: Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak

We have a few hours until parents come, so it's time to watch Crimson Peak for the first time on Netflix. The live-action Alice in Wonderland actress starts off by telling us that ghosts are definitely real and she saw her first one when she was a 10 year old girl and it was her mom. I've been informed that this is a Ghost Movie I should be able to watch. We'll see.

OH THAT IS NOT OKAY WHAT THE FUCK. *coughs* Okay. Um. That was a well-done ghost scene. Terrifying without a jump-scare, which is hard to do and I respect! Ghost-Mom (who looks like a Femme Grim Reaper in a good way) snuggles up to her in bed and tells her to Beware Crimson Peak.

Kissmate: "Do I know that guy?" Me: "It's Channing Tatum, imagine him with space opera elf-ears." (Editor's Note: It is not Channing Tatum.) A group of catty women compare Alice to Jane Austen ("she died a spinster") and Alice says she'd rather be Mary Shelley ("she died a widow"). Kissmate: "She also lost her virginity on her mother's grave so go live that dream, girl!" Those mutton-chop Ariel sleeves on her dress, I die.

Her manuscript is read and dismissed by an older man who wants her to include a romance subplot because she's a woman. Stab him with a fountain pen, Alice! She's figured out that she needs a typewriter because her handwritten is too feminine and gives her away to the misogynistic reader looking for a reason to dismiss her. Then Loki's actor walks in. Kissmate is stammering. Tom Hiddleston immediately establishes chemistry with Alice because he likes her ghost story!

Tom is some kind of...clay baron? His clay makes the strongest bricks and tiles, but they've over-mined the area and have to dig deeper. Tom has a new clay machine that he wants to show off to...investors? The investors are dismissive jerks to him. "In America we bank on effort, not privilege." and I start screaming and laughing until I fall off the couch. Kissmate politely pauses the movie until I recover. American exceptionalism never stops being amusing.

AHHHHHHHH okay Alice's- sorry, *Edith* is her name, so I will endeavor to use that from here on. Edith's dead mother-ghost comes back to scream at her about Crimson Peak some more. A maid interrupts to say that Tom is here. Tom convinces Edith to go to a fancy dress party (that her father is at and that she didn't want to go to) with him in order to help him with all the Americans that he doesn't understand. Edith likes wounded puppies and men with sad faces, so she agrees.

The party-ladies are catty at Edith because they want to land Baronet Tom for themselves, but Tom only has eyes for Edith and asks her to dance. (Kissmate, gasping: "Is- Is this a Jane Austen novel now?" Me: "I'm pretty sure that (waltzing) candle has gone out a couple times." Kissmate: "It's a trick wick and let me have this.") This is great and we love it. The American girls are livid that Edith has snagged Baronet Tom with her blond and bookish wiles. I love the entire scene. It is so good.

Edith's Banker Dad doesn't have a good feel about Baronet Tom and his sister. He sends a private eye to check them out because "something doesn't feel right about them." Channing Tatum talks about latent images in photographs and thinks ghosts are a function of... impressions left in the earth and minerals. Or something? I am not following this technobabble well AT ALL.

Tom and Edith go to the park for a walk and his sister Lucille talks for a bit about how nature is just things dying and feeding on each other. It's utterly ludicrous and makes no sense and I love it? (Edith likes butterflies but Lucille says they only have moths where they live. The moths, she says, eat butterflies. But you just said you don't have butterflies?? Whatever, it's ominous and great.) Lucille and Tom have an Ominous Conversation about Edith being "too young" but Tom wants to go ahead with The Plan. We don't know what the plan is, of course.

At a dinner party, Tom seems about to propose to Edith but Banker Dad wants to talk to Tom and Lucille about the results from his Private Eye. Banker Dad says "that document" is why he doesn't like Tom. Dad explains no one else knows this, he's the only one, and if anything happens to him they'll get away scot-free. Oh, Dad, you're not very genre-savvy are you. He offers to bribe them to go away; surprisingly me utterly, Tom agrees. He breaks Edith's heart over dinner whilst announcing that he's leaving to return to England alone. For extra cruelty, he makes her cry by criticizing her manuscript overly-harshly.

Oh, there we go! Tom takes the next morning to murder Banker Dad in the baths. (Kissmate: "No, that's the sister!" I genuinely can't tell!) (Editor's Note: It was, indeed, the sister!) Meanwhile, I'm informed that's not actually Channing Tatum as the actor who is the Childhood Friend love interest, but they could be twins, my god. Tom wisely pretends to come clean with Edith, writing her a letter explaining that her father insisted that he "break her heart" and that he did so in order to prove to her father that he really loves her. Edith runs to his hotel room to find him. Edith has a brief moment of perfect happiness with Tom's confession of love before police show up to take her to the morgue to identify her father's deeply mangled corpse.

This morgue scene is troubling to me in ways I'm struggling to describe. Childhood Friend believes there may have been some foul play but Edith has an emotional breakdown and prevents him from examining the body further. Tom takes her under his sheltering wing. I can't quite get a handle on Edith's personality; she's wise yet childish, unfeminine yet overly sentimental, logical yet emotional. She doesn't like the gentry (calls them "parasites") but daydreams about the first Baronet she meets. I'm not saying there aren't people like this or that she's unrealistic, but it's hard for my autistic mind to get a...grip on. She's slippery in a way that doesn't feel familiar to me personally. I guess it's supposed to be innocence and inexperience coupled with trauma.

Edith returns to England with Tom as his bride, where the manor gates are rusted and the land is orange clay. The elderly servant who greets them reacts to Tom's announcement ("this is my wife") with "I know sir, you've been married a while." Ominous. A doggy shows up and Edith immediately imprints on it. LOL, I was *joking* when I said she likes wounded puppies!

THE MANSION HAS NO ROOF? No, no, no, I am staying at the local Motel 6. "The wood is rotting and the house is sinking." PLEASE DO NOT LIVE HERE. (Kissmate: "The house is literally breathing and bleeding.") Did... did he reveal all this to her first? Tom immediately runs up to his workshop, which is always a good sign in a young happy marriage.

Edith takes a moment to remove her hat, which gives her a glimpse into the local insect population dying in the corners and... a ghost in the mirror. The ghost takes an elevator up to a higher floor. Lucille shows up to say hi and is generally pretty frosty to Edith and refuses to give her a copy of the house keys. (Kissmate: "Is there incest going on? I think there's incest going on.")

THE PIPES BLEED. Lucille talks with Tom about the dog. It was "left out" to die and she draws a comparison to the scraps it lived on with the scraps they're surviving on. Edith sits in the bath and plays fetch with a ball the dog found. Did the dog come with, like, another bride in the past? And that's why it has a ball in the house? NO NO NO NO ABSOLUTELY NOT. A red ghost that seems very unsteady on her feet visits the bathroom to scream at Edith.

Edith wakes up and goes downstairs to talk to Lucille, who tells her about their childhood and their utterly terrifying mother. Lucille doesn't admit to killing mother, but her eyes tell us she has. Back in America, Childhood Friend sees that Banker Dad's last check in his checkbook was written to Tom. He broods moodily. Edith goes up to the workshop and like Tom's little toys, which causes Tom to kiss her passionately. Lucille interrupts in a very pointedly interrupty way. This is why we don't live with our incest-sister after marriage, Tom.

Edith wakes up in the middle of the night to find Tom missing. She goes out with a red candle to look for him so we know shit's going down- OH MY GOD NO FUCK OFF RED GHOST. NOT OKAY NOT COOL. Just- Just a red face trying to push its way out the door. Edith opens the door and finds wax cylinder recordin- NO NO NO NO. THERE IS A RED GHOST CRAWLING THROUGH THE FLOOR TOWARD HER AND KISSMATE AND I ARE SCREAMING IN UNISON.

EDITH GOT IN THE ELEVATOR BUT ACCIDENTALLY WENT DOWN INSTEAD OF UP AND THIS IS THE BAD PLACE. THERE IS SCREAMING. DO NOT LIKE. Edith finds an old travel case that says "E.S." and the name "Enola". Enola Sharpe? (Tom's surname is Sharpe.) Somehow we smash-cut to outside and Tom playing with his clay-digging machine. Edith runs to him and asks if anyone has died violently in the house. Tom puts her off without answers.

Tom muses for a bit then off-handedly drops that people 'round here call the place "Crimson Peak". Would've been nice to know that earlier! Or Ghost Mom could've been more specific!! Edith stands on the moor and sees a red ghost pointing into the distance. She wakes up coughing blood. WHAT. Is it the tea he keeps feeding her? THERE IS A RED GHOST IN MY BATHTUB. NO. NO.

Ok, look, I am not a superstitious person but if a ghost tells me to "leave here now" then I am GOING TO THE MOTEL 6. Tom and Lucille tell her that she can't leave the house (well, not permanently -- Tom is taking her on an outing to the post office) and secretly whisper "how does she know about Mother?"

The post office apparently doubles as the local Motel 6, and a storm keeps Tom and Edith there overnight. Meanwhile in America, Childhood Friend meets with the Private Eye. Private Eye has a newspaper clipping about a Lady Sharp being slain in the bathtub in 1879. If only I remembered what THIS date is supposed to be, lol. Mother? Previous wife? Gonna go with Mother. Ah, yes, there we go. Her own children were left motherless, et cetera.

There's also a civil document noting that Tom is already married, which is why Banker Dad wanted him to dump Edith and leave. The bride's name was Pamela Upton, 34 year old "Spinster", married to 20yo Thomas Sharpe. Lucille Sharp was a witness as was Benjamin Williams (the elderly servant who seemed confused?). The marriage cert is dated 1837? Wait, that can't be right. 1837 for the marriage but 1879 for the Mother's death? I must've read one of those wrong, sorry, hang on a moment. Ah, okay, the cert says 1836-1888. The witness signature is '87.

If he was 20 in '87, then he would've been 12 in '79 when his mother died. I think I did that right. One of the legal documents appears to be in Italian and Edith just got a mysterious letter from Milan. INTERESTING. Back at the post office, Edith asks if they couldn't leave the mansion forever please. She left *her* house, why can't he leave his? She names some pretty cities and he pauses meaningfully when she rattles off "Milan". INTERESTING.

Okay, I do not mean to be That Guy, but what does she SEE in this guy besides the wounded puppy eyes? Like, yes, Tom Hiddleston is very pretty, but what do they TALK about. ANYWAY, they have the Good Sex while Kissmate opines that the lesson of Rebecca and Crimson Peak is to know exactly who you're marrying before you marry them. They go back to the manor and there is SNOW ON THE FLOOR, I am sorry but MOTEL 6.

Lucille nearly has a breakdown at the two of them having slept at the post office and just about kills Edith with a hot pan. She recovers by claiming she was scared for the two of them being lost in the storm. Edith sees a key that says "Enola" on Lucille's key ring and swipes it. GOOD GIRL. I'm starting to think that these sorts of stories have to happen to young teenage / twenty-year-olds because at this point in my life I would out-bitch Lucille or Danvers or whoever you like. Like, bitch, get out of my FACE.

The letter from Milan is addressed to "Lady E. Sharp" but it's for Enola, not Edith. Oh god. Edith has a useful flashback to Banker Dad regarding all the places Tom tried and failed to raise money in. Milan was one of them. THERE IS A BODY IN THE CLAY WELLS IN THE BASEMENT but Edith doesn't see it. Lucille notices the Enola key is gone. She tracks down Edith and conspicuously leaves her key ring for Edith to put the Enola key back. IT'S A TRAP.

Edith combines the wax cylinders and a gramophone that she found in Enola's luggage. Pamela's voice coaxes Tom to say she loves her. Tom hedges and recites childish rhymes instead. Pamela's voice explains on the cylinders that all "they" want is her money for their infernal clay machine. Edith sees pictures of the dog, the tea, and... a baby? "The poison is in the tea!" Edith is smart enough to run for the doors, but a snowstorm prevents her leaving. She collapses and wakes up in bed.

Lucille feeds her breakfast while Edith refuses to drink the tea. Tom shows up and takes the tea away, telling her never to drink it. Okay. He has brought her Mother's wheelchair. Tom and Lucille have a fight about their Murder Plot and Lucille kisses him and insists that he never leave her. Meanwhile, Childhood Friend is at the post office and on his way to the manor. Do British people have food that isn't tea and poisoned porridge? NO NO NO THERE IS A RED GHOST WITH A BABY.

Edith is gentle with the ghost and asks what Enola wants. The ghost points through a door. Edith walks through and hears Lucille singing. OH, that's an incest handjob. Lucille pushes Edith over a ledge and six whole inches of snow broke her fall. She wakes up with Childhood Friend binding her wounds. Not-Channing is thankfully smart enough to notice that the wedding ring has been ripped off Edith's finger and is on Lucille's hand now. Bless him.

Lucille and Tom corner him, so Not-Channing spills the beans. Their mom was murdered when Tom was 12 and Lucille was 14. Tom is married several times over and has been poisoning his wives. Lucille stabs him under the arm and he bleeds out, thus removing my favorite character from the movie. Goddammit. Tom takes the knife and asks the doctor "Show me where." To...make it quick? or to fake his death? I'm not sure. Apparently Not-Channing is fine despite two stab wounds. Well, bless him.

Meanwhile, Lucille burns Edith's writings while waiting for her to sign her fortune over. Why is Edith signing? I would sign "FUCK YOU BITCH" as many times over as I needed. Ah, Kissmate is happy that he was right about who murdered Banker Dad. It was the sister. That's enough of a revelation to make Edith pen-stab Lucille. Tom burns the Money Paper and offers to Lucille that they can leave the bleeding house. Lucille stabs him in the face and he dies while crying tears of blood.

Lucille barrels around screaming and waving a knife at Edith and see? THIS is why I don't like ghosts! Vampires and werewolves would be HELPFUL in this situation, but ghosts? They don't get involved when you really need them! Again, I feel like this is why gothic horror really requires *young* women because if Jessica Chastain ran at me with a hatchet while hissing, after all this shit, I would laugh and ENJOY cutting her to pieces with my little butter knife.

Just go in the house and lock the doors! She can die of exposure out here! Laugh at her from the upper floor windows! Throw a chamber pot at her! Do you have chamber pots? Edith kills Lucille via shovel and walks into the snowstorm with a surprisingly resilient Childhood Friend, who I'm pleased to see is still alive. I assume they will marry and have fat pretty babies.

I do appreciate that movie avoided cheap jump scares! And I did like that the ghosts were red like the clay, that was good. I will say that I am a HUGE baby about ghost movies and this was nice because all the ghost scenes were pretty well telegraphed, there were basically no "jump-scares" where they come at the screen, and the music didn't "BLARGH!" at you too loudly. Like, we still screamed! a lot! But it was manageable. I don't know what to do with the Incest Murder Baby part, that was weird. Uh, trigger warning for a barely-mentioned dead baby in the past?

Just a reminder that this is the best post ever written about this movie: Movie Yelling With Nicole.


Post a Comment