Nov 13 2015 3:00pm

Crimson Peak: Come for the Hiddleston...Stay for the Hiddleston

Crimson Peak's Edith and Sir Thomas

Note: This post contains spoilers! If you haven't seen Crimson Peak yet...go do it, it's been out for two weeks and has Tom Hiddleston in it... What's your excuse!

Do you like to get a little creepy? Not the sort of creepy where randoms send you dick pics but the gothic movie type of creepy?

If you answered yes, I’m betting that you’ve already watched Crimson Peak.

If you haven’t, beware, spoilers ahead.

I had high expectations of this movie because, Tom Hiddleston, right? In a cravat and top hat. And, swoon, he’s even got a baronet. (Like most people I’m not entirely sure what a baronet is but it sounds sexy in a historical sort of way.)

Plus, my love for the Hiddleston knows no bounds. In my will and testament my ovaries are bequeathed to him, with strict instructions that he place them in a raised part of his house so that they may gaze upon his beauty after I have passed.

But I digress.

The premise for Crimson Peak is glorious. A naïve virgin able to see ghosts is warned by her dead mother about the danger posed by her future husband’s home (informally known as Crimson Peak). I don’t know whether it’s just my dirty mind but ‘crimson peak’ makes me think of nipples (though I guess they didn’t want to call the movie Rosy Peaks because that wasn’t scary enough).

via maryxglz

Romance and horror go together perfectly, like an axe and a severed head, and there’s quite a few movies and novels out there that do dark gothic sexy things. The film, however, is gothic rather than a gothic romance. So while the movie combines horror, death and romance, it’s not a romance in the sense that there’s a happy ever after ending for two lovers.

I think my expectations about the movie were more at the romance than the horror end of the scale, and I pictured a scary, haunted setting with bride and husband navigating the tricky waters of love (while risking organs other than just their hearts). Perhaps I was also secretly hoping that the haunted mansion would just be a metaphor for the reality that love can be scary rather than a real haunting. Or that it would be the sort of upbeat haunting where the ghosts and everyone else end up friends. But this movie was definitely more focused on horror elements.

Edith in Crimson Peak movie

And speaking of haunting, for me the horror in gothic tales is more about the subtle terror invoked by a oddly cast shadow, a ghostly figure or a howling gale than it is about murder and carnage. It’s the hidden, unseen things that arouse more fear than the seen and known. Likewise, the allure of gothic romance is all that seething, repressed sexuality versus the bonk-fest that takes place in some contemporary settings. And for those of you who missed it, Tom Hiddleston gave a swoon-worthy interview about the movie in which he explained what gave rise to the gothic novel.

Given that Hiddleston is hot even while explaining literature, I would have enjoyed a two-hour movie about Sir Thomas seducing the shit out of Edith and then bonking her brains out while the mansion ghosts were reduced to voyeurs, but that’s just me and my simple ways.

Crimson Peak Edith and Sir Thomas making love
Crimson Peak Edith and Sir Thomas making love gif
Crimson Peak Edith and Sir Thomas making love gif
via bustlemrthomaas

Though I do have my own twisted theory about gothic romance (PBS will no doubt call to interview me about it soon). My theory is that the spooky house and sense of peril in gothic romance is all a thinly disguised metaphor for the virgin’s anxiety about de-flowerment. That’s right, the gothic mansion may as well be called ‘the House of Wang’ because it represents the heroine’s anxiety about having S-E-X for the first time. So I was hoping for lots of sexual tension in the movie, and lots of ‘oh, no, I mustn’t stare at my husband’s glorious naked body’ but there actually wasn’t a whole lot of that (hopefully when the movie comes out on DVD and on iTunes there’ll be an extended version with lots of cut scenes where Sir Thomas and Edith are consummating the shit out of one another).

I had some trouble sustaining my lady boner after the incest scene and I’m guessing that I was not alone there. I’m guessing that the incest theme was one reason the film earned an R rating in Australia.

I did, however, adore the visual beauty of the film. The costumes were so sumptuous you could almost feel the silk and velvet, and the settings were lush and moody, particularly once inside Crimson Peak. Likewise, the stark scenes of disrepair and decay were super spooky, just as intended, while the decaying grandeur still held a hint of beauty and allure about it.

via applepie3399

The notion that the house itself was a living thing that breathed, and that the red clay was the cursed ground bleeding, were also fascinating. Though I must have watched too much Disney as a kid because I was hoping that the house (and its ghosts) could be won over or transformed, and made into a peaceful setting for Edith and Sir Thomas’s happy marriage.

So, what did you think of the movie? Was it the piece of Hiddleston pie you were after?


Rhyll Biest is an Australian author writing erotic romance hot enough to melt your e-reader. She's also one of the naughtiest ninjas at the Naughty Ninjas group author siteand is one of the tarts on the Bookish Tarts podcastwhere she and fellow author Georgina Penney discuss romance novels in a high-brow yet potty-mouthed way.


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Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. J.Patrick
What about the final battle scene and the "would you be mine?"
2. Nia2113
Since I knew going into it that it was more Jane Eyre with some Supernatural parts thrown in I was able to enjoy it. They horribly marketed it as a "Horror" movie which is not what it was at all. I love how you were able to fall in love with/feel sorry for/be disgusted and horrified Hiddleston throughout the movie. And the house.. that house.. I LOVED that house. Apparently they made everything in that house specifically for this movie from the floor the ceiling. Sadly they tore the house down because they needed the lot space.*Cries* I found myself thinking about the movie several days after it and I honestly want to see it again to pay closer attention to the little things.
J.Patrick: yes, two awesome moments in the film!

Nia2113: I think you're right, any horror buffs would have been bored. And, yes, I did enjoy my slice of 'deeply flawed' Hiddleston pie! And, why, why tear down the set?? They could have charged fans of the movie to visit it!
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