Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror film Crimson Peak was featured in a big way at the 2014 Comic-Con International, so it’s appropriate that the movie will be returning to the San Diego Comic-Con in 2015, ahead of its bow in theaters. Legendary Pictures’ SDCC 2015 panel will highlight the film with the other upcoming Legendary tentpoles (like Warcraft), though it’s likely that Crimson Peak will have a presence in the convention showroom much like it did in 2014 (and other del Toro projects, such as Pacific Rim, have at the Comic-Con Internationals past).
Crimson Peak is a 19th century-set, Bluebeard-esque, dark fairy tale that features Mia Wasikowska (Stoker) in the role of Edith Cushing, a young author who agrees to marry the handsome, mysterious, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), only to soon realize that her husband is keeping some dark (not to mention, quite dangerous) secrets from her. Crimson Peak trailers have painted the film as being a haunted house movie (in essence), though that’s not how del Toro sees it.
The Crimson Peak script was co-written by del Toro and his frequent collaborator Matthew Robbins (with uncredited contributions from screenwriter Lucinda Coxon (The Danish Girl)), and the story was heavily influenced by the Gothic Romance and Gothic horror sub-genres. As such, the design of the film’s eponymous house – the Sharpe family estate – carries with its heavy symbolic value, as del Toro informed EW. It’s for similar reasons that the filmmaker told EW “It’s not that at all,” when asked if the movie is a haunted house film. As he put it:
“The house is a rotting representation of the family that has inhabited it — it’s like a cage, a killing jar that you use to kill butterflies. The house basically is a sinister, sinister trap.”
You can get a better look at said house in the newly-released Crimson Peak screenshot, below:
Whereas del Toro designed Pacific Rim‘s aesthetic to be heavily informed by a steely blue/grey color palette recalling WWII photographs and footage, with Crimson Peak the filmmaker specifically avoided using the “desaturated colors” that storytellers often use to capture the look of a gloomy 1800s setting (for example, see director Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre film adaptation) – having told EW “I wanted the movie to feel lush,” instead. Similarly, del Toro said he played with Gothic horror/romance conventions by having a marriage occur much earlier in the narrative than it traditionally would.
As the filmmaker worded it:
“[Usually] the marriage is sort of the climax or the high point of a story. I tried on Crimson to say that the horror starts after the marriage. This girl wakes up in a strange place, not her own home, not her own bed, and she little by little realizes that she knows less about the man she married than one would expect. The curious thing is the love story really starts when they acknowledge that darkness.”
Generally speaking, del Toro’s films tend to gain very enthusiastic semi-cult followings, but semi-cult followings all the same. That most likely won’t change with Crimson Peak, as the R-Rated feature film just isn’t the sort of genre throwback that tends to have wider appeal – but nonetheless, continues to sound like a potential must-see for fans of del Toro’s dark fairy tale movies (see: The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth, etc.). It will also be fun to see what Legendary does to promote the film, during the fast-approaching SDCC 2015 festivities.
The Crimson Peak cast includes Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston, along with Jessica Chastain (Interstellar), Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim), Burn Gorman (Turn), Jim Beaver (Supernatural), Leslie Hope (The Strain), and Doug Jones (Hellboy II: The Golden Army).
Crimson Peak opens in U.S. theaters on October 16th, 2015.