Ever since the breakout success of Paranormal Activity in 2007, the horror genre has become flooded with found-footage franchises, low-budget ghost stories, and indie horror flicks, all of which - while certainly effective - have left little room for classic gothic, blood-soaked tales. Luckily, Guillermo del Toro intends to remedy that with his upcoming supernatural horror/fantasy/romance/drama (the list goes on), Crimson Peak.
Topping our Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2015 rundown and even earning a much-coveted spot on our 25 Most Anticipated Movies of 2015 list, the film has generated buzz from the get-go for its rich cinematography, haunting premise, and homage to the traditional haunted house genre. The maestro of horror himself, Stephen King, even gave his official seal of approval, calling the film "f***ing terrifying" after attending an early screening. That said, King's words, along with the two previously released tone-heavy trailers - both of which reveal very little in terms of major plot points - expertly tease an experience sure to frighten, disturb, and even, enchant.
Universal and Legendary have released four richly color-coded character posters introducing the main inhabitants of Crimson Peak's nightmarish mansion: Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Charlie Hunnam. Check them out below.
Crimson Peak takes place in 19th century England, centering on Wasikowska's 'Edith Cushing,' a young woman who falls in love with a mysterious, handsome gentleman by the name of Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). After they marry, Thomas brings Edith to his childhood home: an ornate, crumbling mansion filled with dark secrets - secrets that threaten to consume and haunt Edith forever.
Like the trailers, the images above emphasize tone over plot, leaving much to the audience's eager imagination as to what exactly these 'dark secrets' entail. And knowing del Toro's outspoken fascination with symbolism and hidden meaning, the posters' different colors undoubtedly hint at the depicted characters' respective personalities, secrets, and fates.
Backed by pure white light, Hunnan's well-intentioned doctor appears relatively bland in comparison to the rest of the richly imbued cast. While Chastain's Lady Sharpe burns bright amid the titular crimson hue - suggesting, perhaps, a hidden anger or rage - Wasikowska's innocent newlywed seems caught between earthly flesh and ghostly transparency. And then there's emerald-laden
Loki Hiddleston, staring viewers straight in the eye, daring us to enter the house of horrors. Considering the many different interpretations of the color green, Hiddleston's poster may be implying any number of meanings, from repressed envy to malign greed.
Of course, this is all speculation built upon some fairly simple connect-the-dots symbolism. And if there's one thing del Toro is not, it's simple - or obvious. Known for subverting both audience and genre expectations, the director could very well be leading viewers astray with the above posters. In fact, aside from describing it as a throwback that will blend classic horror with more modern, adult-themed elements, del Toro has previously said he intends to "play with the conventions of the genre" and "subvert the old rules” in Crimson Peak.
That said, with his expert world-building skills and flare for original, artistic storytelling, del Toro certainly seems to have crafted a horror experience unlike anything being produced today. And that, in and of itself, is already subversion enough.
Crimson Peak opens in U.S. theaters on October 16th, 2015.
Source: Universal Pictures/Legendary