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Crimson Peak Ending, Explained

Arka Mukhopadhyay of Crimson Peak Ending, Explained

Guillermo del Toro is one of those rare directors with the ability to seamlessly plunge the audiences into the vortex of a fantasy world where gruesome ghosts come alive at night. His ‘ Crimson Peak ’ is a stylistic but traditional gothic horror that seeks to amalgamate Mary Shelly and Jane Austen with the sprinkle of a generous amount of Bronte sisters. Essentially Victorian in scope and uncanny in proportions, the film employs the Mexican director’s own visual style to play with the psychology of the viewer on so many levels. There is a bride in distress, a perfectly Victorian antihero, a visually scarring house that is sinking under a clay pit, a jealous sister-in-law, and an unthinkable past crime.

The story follows Edith Cushing, an intelligent woman and aspiring author, who finds herself in a trap when she marries the charming baronet Thomas Sharpe. Famed actors Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, and Tom Hiddleston play their parts articulately in the lead roles, and fuelled by stunning visuals, the story gives way to a horrific revelation that is somewhat anticipated but not quite expected. If the ending of the film has left you thoroughly puzzled, let us break down the finer points for you. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Crimson Peak Plot Synopsis

Little Edith is haunted by her mother’s ghost, who warns her about a “Crimson Peak.” The next scene opens in Buffalo, New York. Edith is an aspiring author trying to get her ghost story through to the publisher, but the publisher thinks there should be a romantic angle. Edith, under the wing of her loving father, has grown up to be a free-thinking liberal woman. While typing out the second draft of her novel in her father’s office, Edith meets a seemingly charming man. We get to know that he is one Thomas Sharpe, a baronet intending to do business with Edith’s father, Carter Cushing. He demonstrates his clay-mining invention before Mr. Cushing and the board of directors in his company, but Mr. Cushing is not convinced. Thomas Sharpe makes advances towards Edith, and they seem to develop a romantic attachment to each other.

crimson peak lucille ghost

Mr. Cushing senses that Thomas and his sister Lucille are hiding something sinister and hires an informer named Holly to track them. Holly delivers an unsavory piece of information, and Mr. Cushing orders the Sharpe siblings to leave at once, offering them a lucrative amount of money. Thomas breaks Edith’s heart by vehemently criticizing her work and leaves for Cumberland. However, Carter Cushing is convincingly killed by an unidentified assailant in the next scene, while Edith receives a compelling letter from Thomas Sharpe. In a fit of passion, she runs to stop Thomas from leaving. They meet at the hotel, and Thomas proposes to her. They get hastily wedded, and along with Thomas’ sister, they leave for England.

They arrive at a rundown gothic manor named Allerdale Hall, which is the family estate of the Sharpe family. The house sits above a clay pit which is gradually engulfing it. Lucille is not exactly enthusiastic about the marriage, and she denies giving the keys to Edith. Edith has supernatural encounters in the house, but like Edith’s book, ghosts lead to a far more sinister past of Thomas’s life. When Edith finds out the popular name of the place, “Crimson Peak,” she is reminded of her mother’s warning. Cushing family doctor McMichael senses deceit in the hasty marriage of Edith and contacts Holly. In the meantime, Edith’s life is in danger, and she must escape the blasted place at all cost.

Crimson Peak Ending: Are Thomas and Lucille Dead or Alive?

In the final scenes, Lucille wants Edith to sign the documents necessary to transfer the funds. However, Thomas warns Edith that she would be killed once she signs the papers. In the attic, Lucille burns Edith’s manuscript at the oven and forces her to sign the papers. A helpless Edith signs the papers and then stabs Lucille with the pen that Edith’s father gave to her. She runs to the elevator, where Thomas comes up to her. He vows that he will deal with Lucille, and the siblings end up in a brawl of their own.

crimson peak lucille ghost

Lucille stabs Thomas with a knife, and he is seemingly dead. Afterward, Lucille goes to the chamber where Edith stays hidden. Lucille picks up a butcher knife from the floor and attacks Edith. Edith runs out in the snow, and the showdown ensues. Lucille vows that she would fight Edith until one of them dies. Thomas’s ghost appears on the scene, and while Lucille is distracted, Edith bashes her head in with a shovel. It seems that both of them perish with the mansion, ending the twisted history of the Sharpe family.

Who Killed Carter Cushing?

In the early moments of the film, an unidentified assailant bashes Carter’s head on the basin, effectually killing him. This happens right after Carter Cushing asks the Sharpe siblings to leave America, and we are under the impression that they may be involved in the murder. Towards the end of the film, Edith comes to know of Thomas’s previous marriages, his incestuous relationship with his sister Lucille, and also that jealous Lucille is poisoning the tea to murder her in cold blood.

crimson peak lucille ghost

When everything comes out in the open, Edith suspects that one of the Sharpe siblings killed her father. On the other side, the Cushing family doctor, McMichael, suspects that Thomas may be involved in the murder of Carter. Upon asking Lucille, she discloses that it was her who killed Carter Cushing.

Did Thomas Really Love Edith?

At the beginning of the film, Carter notices that Thomas has tried to find investment in London, Edinburgh, and Milan. In due course, we come to know that Thomas has had three wives in those three cities: Pamela Upton, Margaret McDermott, and Enola Sciotti. Edith is prompt to steal the keys to Enola’s trunk from the stack of keys that Lucille keeps close to herself, procuring documents that give Edith further insight into Thomas’s previous marriages.

crimson peak lucille ghost

Edith also repeatedly wakes up at night to find Thomas missing from the bed. One night, in one of her usual candlelit explorations of the manor, she finds Lucille and Thomas making love to each other. Apparently, they have been incestuous lovers from early teenage, and Lucille has managed to kill every bride of Thomas that has come to “Crimson Peak” before Edith. However, one night, the newlyweds spend a steamy night at the depot, and Lucille is seemingly upset.

Edith is the first one among the wives with whom Thomas has had sex , and apart from that, Thomas seems to have fallen in love with Edith from their first encounter at Carter’s office. The love develops gradually, which is evident in Thomas’s opinion that Edith is different from everybody. Towards the end, we are sure that Lucille is a controlling and manipulative elder sister with immense power over Thomas.

But Thomas reveals himself as an intrinsically good soul, and he tries to save McMichael by asking him where to stab him. He also discloses to Lucille that he is in love with Edith. In the final moment of conflict between the two women, the ghost of Thomas appears on the scene to distract Lucille. It seems that Edith rightfully conjectures that Lucille had been suffocating Thomas. All things considered, we can rightly claim that Thomas loves Edith.

Is The Dog Dead?

In the scene where McMichael confronts the Sharpe siblings, and he is consequentially attacked by Lucille, the dog appears on the scene. The dog belonged to Thomas’s previous wife, Enola Sciotti, and while Thomas had banished the dog into the wild, it has seemingly survived the winter. Edith adopts the dog and tends after it. However, when Lucille calls the dog, it is where the defenseless creature is last seen in the film. We are under the impression that the sinister human being in Lucille has killed the dog.

Why is The Mansion Floor Red?

According to the narrative of the film, the floor of the mansion is red because it sits atop a clay pit. When Edith first sets foot in the titular Crimson Peak, Thomas tells her that the mansion is sinking. He presses his feet on the floor, and crimson lava gets discharged from the ground. The sticky crimson substance is seen again in the chamber full of reservoirs. The ghosts seen in the film are red, and Thomas’s life has been spent trying to build a machine that can extract the clay from the ground. In the final escape scene, we can see that the snow outside the mansion is crimson-hued from the discharge.

crimson peak lucille ghost

The obvious answer would be that the mansion floor is red because of the clay pit underneath it. However, the color red also gives the mansion its local title and christens the film itself. The director has seemingly toyed with the viewers’ minds by the stylistic insertion of the color of blood. According to a newspaper provided to McMichael by Holly, the Sharpe siblings, in an attempt to hide their incestuous inclinations, had killed their mother by poisoning her. The gruesome history of the house also seems to have invoked the color crimson, and the visual ploy works brilliantly to capture the horrific atmosphere of Allerdale Hall.

Read More: Where was Crimson Peak Filmed?

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Lady Lucille Sharpe

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Lucille Sharpe is the main antagonist of the 2015 film Crimson Peak . She owns the mansion, Allerdale Hall, along with her brother, Thomas Sharpe.

She was portrayed by Jessica Chastain , who also played Vuk in the X-Men film Dark Phoenix .

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Background [ ]

Lucille and her younger brother Thomas grew up together and developed a close bond during their childhood. They were abused by their mother Lady Beatrice after she locked them in the attic and became emotionally weak due to the fact that her husband left her for another woman.

Eventually, their relationship grew into an incestuous love affair which led to Lucille killing their mother after she discovered her children's incest, and together they began plotting by killing Thomas's brides for inheritance and fortune.

Lucille is responsible for the death of Carter Cushing, an industrialist whose daughter Edith, a writer, began to see the ghosts after the death of her mother and grieving of her father's mysterious death by seeking solace with Thomas who falls in love with her by asking her to marry him. But her father became suspicious about Thomas' background and sent a private eye to investigate Thomas' alibi.

Lucille begins to grow jealous of Thomas's new found happiness with his newly married wife Edith. As a result, she began to treat her sister-in-law coldly. One night Edith is visited by her mother's ghost, who warns her about Crimson Peak, becoming traumatized and weaker in the process.  

She tells Thomas that she wishes to leave the house but Lucille pressured her to stay. It was not long until Edith finds the decaying corpses of Thomas's brides and she realized that she will be Lucille and Thomas' next victim. One night, Edith hears noises in the manor and catches Lucille and Thomas in the middle of a passionate embrace, where its revealed that the siblings have had a long-term incestuous relationship since childhood, which eventually resulted in a sickly infant child who died shotly after birth. 

Distraught, Edith leaves and Lucille follows after her, confessing of her close relationship with Thomas and then attempts to push Edith over the edge of the manor railing. Edith claims that Lucille is the other woman and not Thomas' sister as was interpreted but Lucille smiles evilly admitting she's his lover and biological sister then violently takes the Sharpe family ring off of Edith's finger and pushes her over the railing.

However, Edith's childhood friend, Dr. Alan McMichael arrived and attempted to rescue her, only to be stabbed by Lucille. Eventually, Thomas betrayed his sister by burning the wedding vows. Thomas tried to reason with her, vowing that they will leave together and they will all be together but Lucille realizes that he meant that she and him will live together as only siblings and he will be with Edith, she is distraught, reminding him of his promise to her that he would not to fall in love with someone else, only for Thomas to apologize to her and admit thought he wasn't planning on it, he has fallen in love with someone else.

After learning that Thomas had fallen in love with Edith, she has a breakdown and kills him. Distraught, she attempted to kill Edith next. However, she was disarmed by the appearance of Thomas' ghost, giving Edith the chance to kill her and break her head and neck with a shovel. Her black and decayed ghost remained in Crimson Peak, forever alone just as she lived in life.  

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Lady Lucille Sharpe

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Why Guillermo del Toro's 'Crimson Peak' Is About the Horror and Ecstasy of Creating Art

At its heart, the Oscar-winner's 2015 Gothic romance is an ode to artists and their various ghosts.

The most haunting moment of Guillermo del Toro 's Gothic masterpiece  Crimson Peak has nothing to do with the ghosts who roam Allerdale Hall. It's not the building's labyrinthian corridors lit like a nightmare aquarium, or the violent human betrayals at the heart of the film's twisted romance. It's a line of dialogue, six words long: " You thought you were a writer ." As Lucille Sharpe, Jessica Chastain delivers the line with effortless, casual cruelty to Mia Wasikowska 's Edith Cushing, bound, poisoned, and watching Lucille burn the pages of her manuscript. Chastain's entire performance is a masterclass in quiet contempt, but in those six words she does something especially chilling: She captures the exact voice familiar to anyone who has ever tried to create art on any level. That nagging, grinning ghoul at the back of your brain, the one that doesn't even laugh at the art itself, but instead calls you an absolute clown for trying in the first place. " You thought you were a writer ."

Co-written with Matthew Robbins , the film surprised audiences who were expecting a gory, gruesome house-of-horrors thrill ride and instead got a lavish, melodramatic and deeply  horny Gothic ghost story in the same vein as Jack Clayton 's The Innocents or Alfred Hitchcock 's Rebecca . To be fair to Del Toro, his main character, Wasikowska's Edith, puts it plain within the first five minutes, explaining her manuscript to an uninterested editor ( Jonathan Hyde ): "It’s more a story with a ghost in it. The ghost is just a metaphor for the past.” The ghosts of Crimson Peak serve a similar purpose—they're metaphors for the sins of the past, to be more specific—but they're also a blood-red illustration of Del Toro's relationship with the uncanny his entire career; his love for monsters and ugly things; the "horrible beauty" that's underscored every one of his films since Cronos .  Crimson Peak is neck-and-neck with The Shape of Water for the title of Del Toro's most personal English-language film, but only Crimson Peak feels pulled from the most vulnerable parts of a singular filmmaker's brain.

All of that is embodied in Edith, a character we understand from the jump as an aspiring writer, a character trait that never really has any bearing on the plot but is vital to understanding  Crimson Peak . Before she is swept up into the marriage-and-murder plot orchestrated by Lucille and Thomas Sharpe ( Tom Hiddleston ), the conflict at the center of Edith's life is as a woman who wants to be taken seriously as a writer in 1901. Thomas doesn't snare Edith into his trap just by having Tom Hiddleston's objectively attractive face, he compliments the work in a meaningful way. When Edith's father ( Jim Beaver ) pays Thomas to "thoroughly break" his daughter's heart, Thomas knows her heart is synonymous with her ambitions. Again, he embodies the voice that makes an artist feel childish just for dreaming.

“It’s absurdly sentimental. The aches that you describe with such earnestness. The pain, the loss. You clearly haven’t lived at all. In fact, you only seem to know what other writers tell you. You insist on describing the torments of love when you clearly know nothing about them. What do you dream of? A kind man? A pure soul to be redeemed? A wounded bird you can nourish? Perfection? Perfecton has no place in love, Edith."

Crimson Peak can be divided into before and after the story reaches Allerdale Hall, both visually and emotionally. The moment in which Thomas carries Edith across the threshold is one of the most jaw-dropping images in Del Toro's career, cinematographer Dan Laustsen  emphasizing husband and wife's human-scale smallness in the doorframe before 180'ing to reveal the manor in all its fucked-up funhouse glory. Color and design clash together so dazzlingly it's hard to believe it's a practical set and not an optical illusion. ( Crimson Peak not getting a production design Oscar nod is an unhinged rant for another day.)

RELATED:  The Films of Guillermo del Toro Ranked from Worst to Best

Most importantly, the moment feels like we're slipping from reality into a dream, because thematically that's exactly what it is. From this point on, the film's Gothic undertones become blaring, cranked-to-11 overtones. The horror, the intrigue, the sex, the yearning, it all reaches melodramatic heights. That's by design, and the ghosts are there to buoy you through the emotional tidal wave. "If you remove the ghosts, curiously, the acting style needs to change and be more grounded. And then, for me, the movie deflates," Del Toro said in 2015 .

But it's also no coincidence that the story of Crimson Peak is the same kind of story Edith aims to write. This is Edith's story internally and externally, the most vital clue coming during the credits. Before the film officially fades to black, we see a book cover — "Crimson Peak" by Edith M. Cushing . Behind it, charred paper, suggesting Edith pulled those manuscripts from the fire and turned her ordeal into a novel. It explains the heightened emotion, the dream-like setting, the perfect checklist of Gothic storytelling; it's all representative of what Edith pulled from herself—the horror, the agony, and the ecstasy–to finally write her story. You want a metaphor for the creative process? Look to Edith taking a shovel and bashing the everloving fuck out of Lucille—that doubting voice, " you thought you were a writer "—before letting Thomas, her gentleman tormentor, the unhealthiest form of passionate inspiration, fade away.

To be very clear, trauma is not a prerequisite for creating art. If you're feeling writer's block, please do not become entwined with an incestuous pair of siblings looking to murder you for your family's money. Take a long shower or something. Crimson Peak 's ultimate lesson is much gentler, and it could only come from Del Toro. "Ghosts are real, this much I know," Edith says twice, at the beginning and end of Crimson Peak , and the meaning changes in the interim. Not all ghosts need to be feared. Artists are haunted, by doubts, by insecurity, but also by ambition, by perseverance, by the pieces they're able to pull out of themselves, and the result is whichever emotion is strong enough to linger.

"There are others, others that hold on to an emotion, a drive, loss, revenge, or love," Edith says. "Those, they never go away.”

KEEP READING:  Guillermo del Toro's 'Frankenstein' Monster Was "Hauntingly Beautiful," Says Doug Jones

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Did Everybody Miss the Twist At the End of Crimson Peak ?

Some people loved Guillermo del Toro’s gothic confection Crimson Peak . Some people found it disappointing. But the overall consensus seems to be that Crimson Peak not only wasn’t scary, but didn’t have a twisty enough storyline. But maybe everybody missed the huge twist at the end of the film?

Huge spoilers ahead...

The basic plot of Crimson Peak is, indeed, very simple. Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) marries Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and goes to live in his decaying family mansion in bleakest blighty, a place where even the ground bleeds. But soon Edith realizes she’s made a mistake. Thomas and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) have murdered all of Thomas’ previous wives, and she’s next. The plot is basically Edith surviving, along with Thomas having a slight change of heart.

The big innovation in Crimson Peak , other than its insane visuals , is how it uses the supernatural. The movie is full of ghosts, but they’re entirely benevolent—or at least, they’re entirely on Edith’s side. Edith, from childhood, has had the power to see ghosts, including her own dead mother, and when she gets to Allerdale Hall, she’s able to see all of the ghosts in the house, including Thomas and Lucille’s mother, but also all of their victims.

It’s Edith’s unique ability to see ghosts that saves her from being Lucille’s next victim. If it wasn’t for the ghosts warning her and pointing her to clues, she’d be doomed. That’s the premise of the movie: Ghosts can save your life.

That’s not the twist I’m talking about, though. The twist I’m referring to comes at the very end of the film. Lucille is fighting Edith in the snow outside Allerdale Hall... and then Lucille sees the ghost of her dead brother Thomas.

This is the first time anybody other than Edith has seen a ghost in the film. It’s also the moment that Lucille is doomed—just as she’s confronted with the fact that she’s killed her brother/lover. The fact that Lucille is suddenly able to see a ghost, for what appears to be the first time, proves that something has changed for her, and that she’s now open to something that she wasn’t open to before. Probably, this is the first ghost in the house that Lucille has actually had regrets about.

Part of why I like that ending, and why I think of it as a twist, is that it’s open to a number of interpretations. Either the spirit world is finally claiming Lucille, after having schemed against her throughout the entire movie, or Lucille is finally open to the terrible apparitions that she’s been ignoring her whole life until now. Or Lucille is only able to see her brother because he’s her brother, and she actually feels something about his death.

This isn’t quite a twist on the level of “Bruce Willis was dead the whole time,” but it is a change at the end of the film that turns everything sideways. Lucille and Edith, at the very end of the movie, finally have something in common. And seeing a ghost is the prelude to Lucille herself becoming one.

As Tasha Robinson wrote in io9 last week , the theme of Crimson Peak , as with other Guillermo del Toro films, is escaping from the past. In the case of Thomas and Lucille, they’re trapped with this terrible old house that’s the literal embodiment of history and its claims on them. Their schemes to keep marrying and killing young women are a desperate attempt to move forward in spite of all the dead weight they’re tied to, so that Thomas can build his amazing new machine. Edith survives because she has a greater sensitivity to the past (in spite of coming from America, the land of Newness) than Thomas and Lucille do.

When Lucille finally sees a ghost, it’s like a piece of the past she can’t simply dismiss (as she does her dead mother). It’s the ultimate ironic punishment, and a brilliant comeuppance. But it’s also a powerful moment, because it’s a sudden change in the way things have worked in the movie up to now. Crimson Peak doesn’t have a big secret or a clever reveal at its heart—instead, it has something darker and maybe even more fascinating.

Thanks to Aaron and Tasha for the feedback!

Charlie Jane Anders is the author of All The Birds in the Sky , coming in January from Tor Books. Follow her on Twitter , and email her .

The Ending Of Crimson Peak Explained

Edith in lace collar

Guillermo del Toro's sumptuous ghost story Crimson Peak is a loving throwback to gothic horror classics like Rebecca  and The Innocents . While del Toro's film utilizes many tropes of the genre, he turns the volume up on everything to give the movie a modern flare. The ghosts are extra gruesome in all their dripping CGI glory and the story is a twisted tale of taboo and murder .

Our heroine is Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), a young writer living in New York at the turn of the 20th century who falls in love with a man named Thomas Sharpe ( Tom Hiddleston ). Thomas hails from England, where he lives in his family's historic home, Allerdale Hall. The estate sits atop a red clay mine, giving it the nickname Crimson Peak. Edith's father doesn't approve of the union, but after he dies unexpectedly, she decides to marry Thomas and move into his ancestral home.

Edith quickly finds that life at the Sharpe family estate is not quite what she imagined. Allerdale Hall itself is dilapidated and slowly sinking into the clay beneath it, as revenues from the mine dried up long ago. Thomas' sister Lucille ( Jessica Chastain ) is as cold to Edith as the winter air and soon, Edith begins seeing apparitions at night.

While the ghosts are a terrifying sight, Edith comes to realize that they do not wish her harm. In fact, they are trying to help her unravel the horrifying secrets concealed there on Crimson Peak.

Edith uncovers the shocking secrets of Crimson Peak

Edith's suspicion that not everything is as it seems at Allerdale Hall is kicked into overdrive when she finds a trunk filled with documents, as well as a cache of wax cylinder recordings, which were shown to her by one of the ghosts. The documents reveal that Thomas had previously been married multiple times, something he kept from Edith. Even more disturbing are the recordings, which include audio of one of Thomas' ex-wives claiming that she is being poisoned to death by Thomas and Lucille.

Ever since Edith arrived at Allerdale Hall, Lucille has been regularly making her tea. When she started feeling ill and weak, Edith suspected that the tea might have something to do with it, and the recording only further confirms that theory. But while Lucille never showed much kindness toward Edith, the revelation that Thomas is likely involved in these nefarious schemes is heartbreaking. While their marriage took time to warm up, a recent night away from the house resulted in Edith and Thomas finally consummating their relationship in what felt to Edith like real progress toward developing intimacy.

Unfortunately for Edith, she has competition for Thomas' affections. Later, a ghost appears to her and directs her to Lucille's bedroom. Inside, Edith finds Thomas and Lucille in bed together. They have been in an incestuous relationship since childhood and have only clung to their ancestral home by having Thomas marry rich women and then kill them for the inheritances.

Now not only do the siblings have monetary reasons to want Edith dead, but she also knows their darkest secret.

Thomas begins to have second thoughts

After the Sharpes are caught in bed together, Lucille throws Edith off one of the balconies above the foyer in an attempt to kill her. Thankfully, it's just as Edith's friend Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) arrives at Allerdale Hall. After uncovering some research on the Sharpes that Edith's father had received right before he died mysteriously, Alan decided to track Edith down to warn her in person. His timing couldn't have been better

When Edith recovers, Alan reveals that he's aware of the Sharpe siblings' disturbing history. He produces a newspaper article detailing the brutal killing of Lucille and Thomas' mother and implies that Lucille is the one who committed the murder. Instead of denying his accusations, Lucille stabs him and grabs Edith, commanding Thomas to finish the doctor off.

By this point in the story, though, Thomas has begun to have a major conflict of emotion. His marriage to Edith is starting to feel real to him, unlike the previous sham marriages he participated in. His relationship with Lucille is tying him to his increasingly isolated and depressing life at Allerdale Hall, while Edith represents the possibility of a fresh start. So, he decides to disobey his sister's orders. When he approaches Alan to stab him, he quietly asks the doctor to guide the knife to a non-lethal spot in order to trick Lucille into thinking that he's dead.

Lucille's reveals the depths of her devotion

Meanwhile, Lucille takes Edith to sign legal papers that will formalize Edith's inheritance of her father's estate and allow the money to pass on to Thomas once she's dead. Lucille then reveals herself to be the person who killed Edith's father. She also clarifies that she killed her own mother after she found out about Lucille and Thomas' incestuous relationship, among other disturbing details about their family history.

Lucille's soliloquy puts her villainous behavior into context. She and Thomas grew up in an extremely abusive household and have spent their entire lives trying to keep themselves from losing their ancestral home, whether to financial ruin or general decrepitude. Because they have an incestuous relationship, they know that living there in isolation is the only way to ensure that they won't be found out. They have endured many desperate situations together and share an intense bond as a result.

This, of course, doesn't excuse their actions, but it does give viewers a deeper understanding of why they've ended up going down such a dark path. After detailing how they enticed women with large inheritances to marry Thomas, Lucille says, "The marriages were for money, of course, but the horror...the horror was for love."

Sadly for Lucille, Thomas no longer shares her singular devotion. After Edith manages to make a run for it, he finds Lucille and pleads with her to stop. He tells her that they can stop fighting to hold onto Crimson Peak and move somewhere else to start new lives. However, when he suggests that Edith would be coming with them, Lucille stabs Thomas to death, unable to cope with the notion that there's someone else in his life that he loves as much as her.

The haunting final moments of Crimson Peak

With nothing left to live for, Lucille sets off to kill Edith once and for all. After a long chase, Lucille corners her, brandishing the very cleaver that she used to kill her mother all those years ago. Lucille tells Edith, "I won't stop until you kill me or I kill you."

But just when it looks like Edith might be out of luck, Thomas' ghost appears to his sister. The spectral intervention gives Edith the opportunity to gain the upper hand in the struggle and kill Lucille. With her foe vanquished, Edith finds Alan and the two stumble away from the crumbling manor. 

The final moments of the film feature a voiceover from Edith on the nature of ghosts (a mid-credits shot of a book titled Crimson Peak by Edith Cushing implies that her words come from that text, presumably written after the events of the film). Edith remarks that some ghosts remain tethered to specific places, but others are tethered by specific emotions, such as "loss, revenge, or love." As the camera settles on a piano with Lucille's ghost sitting in front of it, Edith says that ghosts tied to those strong emotions "never go away."

The focus on Lucille at the end illustrates just how complex of an antagonist she is. She's a remarkably self-aware person who knows that her actions are monstrous. But she also understands that she's powerless in the face of the one great immovable force in her life: her undying devotion to her brother. That is what's at the center of all the horror in Crimson Peak . It's love, not hate, that makes her capable of such heinous deeds. That emotional charge gives her a sympathetic edge, but it also makes her, and the film itself, all the more terrifying.

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Explaining the ghost metaphor in Crimson Peak and why it’s sort of lackluster

Explaining the ghost metaphor in Crimson Peak and why it’s sort of lackluster

Featuring: Are You Afraid of the Dark, The Grudge, and Pan's Labyrinth.

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Crimson Peak straight up tells us that the ghosts are a metaphor. Great! That takes the mystery out of that! Can we end this article now?

What is that metaphor?

There’s a very superficial way to understand that metaphor: the ghost represent the past. There’s nothing new or groundbreaking in using ghosts as symbolic entities for human history. I feel like 75% of Are You Afraid of the Dark episodes did the exact same thing. The Grudge is legitimately about a dead family’s anger being so extreme it creates a curse that kills people. So ghosts representing the past: familiar territory. Seriously, go watch the pool episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark (“Tale of the Dead Man’s Float”)

Screenprism.com brings up an really interesting reading of the ghosts. Contributor Shelley Farmer discusses the ghosts as “illustrating in a heightened, fantastical fashion the ways in which women can protect each other, even while living in a world that is structured to act against their autonomy and self-preservation. They, too, are visions of the legacy of the past trauma and violence that reverberates through the lives of the living, though theirs is not limited to their own personal suffering, but carries the burden of an eternal history of women lost to violence.”

It’s true that the ghosts are women helping one another. Since the film outright states that the ghosts are metaphors, I think it’s absolutely fair to read into the sex of the ghosts and the importance that plays.

But if we’re viewing the interaction between Edith and the female ghosts as a metaphor for how women can protect one another, then we also must look at the interaction between Edith and living females.

That means the relationship between Edith and Lucille. Between Edith and Alan’s mom, Mrs. McMichael. Edith and Eunice. Edith and the society girls.

  • Lucille is only being nice to Edith so her and Thomas can inherent Edith’s assets then murder Edith. So Lucille’s kindness is duplicitous.
  • Mrs. McMichael likes openly shaming and emotionally bullying Edith.
  • Eunice has zero positive interactions with Edith.
  • And the society girls laugh at Edith and look at her in a condescending manner.

In Crimson Peak, no woman who is alive is ever nice to Edith because she likes Edith and wants to be nice to Edith. ZERO. The only women who are ever “supportive” are the ghosts.

What’s that mean if we are looking at Crimson Peak as taking a metaphorical stance on the relationship between women?

It would mean that Crimson Peak makes two arguments about women who are alive. First, that living women are either outright mean to one another or secretly plotting against one another—either way, you can’t trust or depend upon them. Second, that living women survive by learning from dead women.

We never get to see Edith interact with her living mom. So if that was a positive relationship, who knows? Lucille’s mom was such a jerk that Lucille killed her with a butcher’s knife.

Really, the only woman who is sort of nice to another woman is Mrs. McMichael caring about Eunice and Eunice’s potential relationship with Thomas Sharpe. But neither of them are main characters, much less secondary characters that have a subplot. They’re foil characters that show the innocence of Edith. Their rudeness actually serves to endear us to Edith. Then they’re out of the movie. 

What are we to then take away from Crimson Peak’s use of metaphor?

Either we can think:

  • There’s actually no metaphor for the ghosts, and that’s okay!
  • There’s no metaphor for the ghosts, and that makes the movie shallow!
  • The ghosts only represent the past.
  • The ghosts only represent the past, and I’m okay with that!
  • The ghosts only represent the past, and that’s pretty cliche.
  • The ghosts represent the past and how women protect one another, but we’ll ignore how living women are really mean to Edith.
  • The ghosts represent the past and how historical women provide insight to living women, even though living women only compete and seek to take advantage of one another

Pan’s Labyrinth had a fully developed metaphor that contrasted the dangers and ugliness of reality against the dangers and magical wonder of fantasy. Both worlds were terrifying, but the fantasy world offered an escape from the stresses Ofelia faced in the form of war, the asshole Captain Videl, and her sick mom. I find the contrast between the two worlds fascinating, especially since both are extremely dangerous. There is, I think, a lot of meat to the idea of how we perceive danger, and what danger we prefer, and why would we prefer one over the other. I feel I could write essays about Pan’s Labyrinth.

But when I look at the ghosts in Crimson Peak and what they could possibly represent…I don’t think there’s anything of real significance. At least nothing that I haven’t seen done elsewhere. And that’s okay. That doesn’t make Crimson Peak a bad movie or a movie that people shouldn’t like. But it’s one reason that Crimson Peak hasn’t won the hearts of people like myself. 

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Chris Lambert is co-founder of Colossus. He writes about complex movie endings, narrative construction, and how movies connect to the psychology of our day to day lives.

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Reader Interactions

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December 7, 2021

I think the ghosts are metaphors of living people, like how it’s heavily implied that Thomas and Lucille choose to live as ‘ghosts’ when they are alive, eternally binding themselves to a ‘place’ or ‘feeling’. In the climax, Thomas tells Lucille that they have been ‘dead for a long time’, or something like that, after suggesting that they take new paths. I think the niches that ghosts choose (e.g. the manor, Lucille’s mother) are the past, but the ghosts are the the characters that don’t realize they’re real people and can change their paths (like the convo before Thomas and Edith have sex). I think the film invites us to consider whether we are ghosts ourselves.

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In the 1831 introduction to "Frankenstein," Mary Shelley described the genesis of her classic story. During an evening with her husband Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and another guest, they got the idea to entertain one another by writing ghost stories. Mary Shelley couldn't come up with anything and went to bed, still thinking, and then became possessed by an image of a man lying on a table and slowly coming to life. Shelley recalled that she bolted awake, thinking, "I have found it! What terrified me will terrify others; and I need only describe the spectre which had haunted my  midnight  pillow.” 

Director Guillermo del Toro has a similar belief that the images crowding his brain can come to life. He creates intricate worlds, overwhelming viewers with detail and drowning them with symbolism. The fact that most of what is onscreen is physical, rather than computer-generated, helps. "Crimson Peak's" atmosphere crackles with sexual passion and dark secrets. There are a couple of monsters (supernatural and human), but the gigantic emotions are the most terrifying thing onscreen. Del Toro 's films can take  Grand Opera emotion. In Victorian-era England, the Lyceum Theatre awed audiences with revolutionary stage effects designed to bring the horror of " Macbeth " (for example) to the audience in visceral new ways. Del Toro's style would have fit in with that. He has placed himself in a long tradition and he deserves to be there.

American heiress Edith Cushing ( Mia Wasikowska ), the heroine of "Crimson Peak," saw the ghost of her dead mother when she was a child, the shadow of its long fingers creeping along the wall (a steal from " Nosferatu "). As a young woman, living with her supportive father (a wonderful Jim Beaver ), she prefers books to beaus, and is busy writing a ghost story ("Ghosts are a metaphor for the past," she states). When silly women sneer, " Jane Austen died a spinster," Edith replies coolly, "I'd rather be Mary Shelley and die a widow." Edith's bookish isolation vanishes when the mysterious British brother and sister Thomas and Lucille Sharp ( Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain ) arrive in town. The two have fancy English titles, but are penniless, begging for financial backing for one of Thomas' inventions. Thomas pursues Edith with burning sensitive eyes, all under his sister's watchful glare, and Edith falls hard. An optometrist named Alan McMichael ( Charlie Hunnam , who was so sensitive and heroic in Del Toro's " Pacific Rim ") is also interested in Edith, but cedes ground to Thomas, albeit with misgivings. Thomas marries Edith, and he, Edith and Lucille go back to England to the family estate, Allerdale Hall. 

Allerdale Hall is when the movie really begins, but those preliminary sections, the immersion into Edith's world, are equally important. America is shown as a land of garden parties, flickering gas lamps, intellectual pursuits, family life. The colors are autumnal, mustards and oranges. Lucille slashes through that mellow golden landscape in fiery-crimson dresses or heavy all-black gowns. It's often raining, creating underwater-wavery shadows on the walls. But it's a civilized world with recognized rules. Allerdale Hall, on the other hand, is a black turreted ruin of a mansion standing in the middle of empty fields. Red clay oozes up through the rotting floorboards, coating the walls of the basement. The hall inside the main entrance reaches up three stories, and because of the roof's deterioration the hall is always filled with outside weather: falling leaves or snow. Allerdale Hall is a masterpiece of design ( Thomas E. Sanders was the production designer) but also of conception. The house creaks, moans, shifts. And always, always that red clay, threatening to engulf them all. 

Edith, at sea in her new life and intimidated by Lucille, explores the house (by the end of the film the layout is clear, essential to the suspense of the finale). She is informed by both Thomas and Lucille that there are rooms she must not go into. Edith is surrounded by secrets, with a husband she barely knows and a sister-in-law gliding through the house with a heavy key chain rattling at her waist.

"Crimson Peak" is reminiscent of Hitchcock's "Notorious" in more ways than one (although "Rebecca" is also a clear influence). In "Notorious," Alicia Huberman ( Ingrid Bergman ) marries Alexander Sebastian ( Claude Rains ) as a cover for her attempt to infiltrate a Nazi cartel. Once in the house, she is dominated by Alexander's mother (Leopoldine Konstantin), a monstrous Fraulein from hell. Both "Crimson Peak" and "Notorious" feature ongoing visual motifs of tea cups and key-chains. There are shots in "Crimson Peak" that mirror "Notorious," a close-up of the ubiquitous key-chain with the key desired lying on the top of the heap, or the camera following a tea cup as it is carried across the room. Like Alicia Huberman in "Notorious," Edith feels if she could just get a hold of that key, and find the right lock, she might understand the secrets buried in that house, and her own destiny.

As in " Pan's Labyrinth ," "Crimson Peak" creates an environment where these high stakes can operate at full throttle. The visuals of Allerdale Hall call to mind German Expressionist filmmakers, as well as directors as various as Mario Bava and Hitchcock. But while "Crimson Peak" launches associations (Gothic/Romantic tradition, Hitchcock, Shirley Jackson , Murnau, Bava, Kubrick's " The Shining ," The Brothers Grimm, "Jane Eyre"), it's not just a tribute, it's a hybrid all Del Toro's own. The images themselves have tremendous power: A blonde woman sneaking through a dark house holding a candelabra. A black-haired woman stalking through an interior snowfall, carrying a tray of rattling tea cups. A man in his workshop creating toys that open their mouths to vomit silver balls. Edith sees horrors at night through doorways, down hallways. She must be brave enough to face these phantasms, to look them in the eye, to see what she is not supposed to see. On the opposite side, Thomas and Lucille must prevent Edith from seeing.

Del Toro uses a lot of old-fashioned camera tricks like wipes (as transitions from scene to scene), and there are also multiple iris wipes (where a circular shape surrounded by blackness homes in on one small image). Del Toro is old-school in his framing and camera moves, in his understanding of spatial relationships. There are times when Edith hugs Thomas, his black coat taking up half the screen, and as the camera moves to the side Edith is slowly engulfed by blackness.

The final act features a couple of monologues, as secrets pour out, and some audience members may find them too expository. But again, in the long tradition of cinema, suspenseful films often featured such final-act monologues. There is strong precedent for the effectiveness of these devices, and they're effective here too. Kitchen-sink realism is a recent phenomenon, and Del Toro's films are not bound by those requirements, although the emotions in his films are always real. As actors from before the advent of cinema (and the closeup) understood, acting needed to be big enough to fill a theatre. This did not necessarily mean hollow declaiming. It meant that their emotions had to be big enough to travel , to reach the cheap seats, to fit the scope of the story. The cast of "Crimson Peak" understands that. They're all gripping.

Watching Del Toro's films is a pleasure because his vision is evident in every frame. Best of all, though, is his belief that "what terrifies him will terrify others." He's right.

Sheila O'Malley

Sheila O'Malley

Sheila O'Malley received a BFA in Theatre from the University of Rhode Island and a Master's in Acting from the Actors Studio MFA Program. Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here .

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Film credits.

Crimson Peak movie poster

Crimson Peak (2015)

Rated R for bloody violence, some sexual content and brief strong language.

119 minutes

Mia Wasikowska as Edith Cushing

Jessica Chastain as Lady Lucille Sharpe

Tom Hiddleston as Sir Thomas Sharpe

Charlie Hunnam as Dr. Alan McMichael

Jim Beaver as Carter Cushing

Burn Gorman as Holly

  • Guillermo Del Toro
  • Matthew Robbins

Director of Photography

  • Dan Laustsen

Original Music Composer

  • Fernando Velázquez
  • Bernat Vilaplana

Costume Design

  • Kate Hawley

Production Design

  • Thomas E. Sanders

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InVisible Culture

A journal for visual culture, ghosts are real: digital spectatorship within analog space in crimson peak.

crimson peak lucille ghost

Written By Patrick Brame

The prologue of Guillermo Del Toro’s 2015 film Crimson Peak begins with a white screen fading in on the disheveled, distraught, and bloodied protagonist, Edith, proclaiming, “Ghosts are real… This much I know.” Del Toro presents to the audience Edith’s first interaction with a ghost with a flashback of Edith’s mother’s funeral. On a stormy night, as young Edith weeps in her bed, the audible tick tock of a clock abruptly stops, with the shot lingering down a dimly lit hallway. A translucent, gaseous woman in a black dress slowly approaches and crawls into bed with her daughter. Edith’s mother returns to warn her, “When the time comes, beware of Crimson Peak,” then disappears from the room. As the camera exits Edith’s bedroom, retreating backwards down the hallway, Edith’s voice-over claims, “It would be years before I again heard such a voice. Or understood its desperate warning. A warning from out of time. And one I came to understand only when it was too late.” The end of the prologue fades in on a computer generated, aged book titled Crimson Peak , which opens to a black and white drawing of a town square, quickly transitioning into a colorful, moving filmic shot with the title card “Buffalo, NY 14 Years Later” (fig. 1). Foreshadowed within the three-minute prologue of Crimson Peak is a multifaceted presentation of time and the complex, unanchored understanding of our contemporary subjecthood and fractured spectatorship.

fig. 1 Crimson Peak the Book

Within Crimson Peak ’s three-minute prologue, Del Toro presents three different temporalities, an adherence to a material and practical production design, a nostalgic desire for gothic narratives and aesthetics, and phantasmal characters enhanced with computer generated special effects. By blending these components together, Del Toro’s Crimson Peak represents a contemporary spectator caught in the midst of a radical transformation from a physical, whole spectator to a digital one, floating in a time-less cyber space. As a filmmaker, Del Toro has always favored the use of analog aesthetics, presenting a more realistic world to the spectator through material and practical production design, costuming, and make-up (perhaps ironically, considering all of his films fall within the fantasy/horror genre). In Crimson Peak , a gothic revival mansion serves as the primary setting and is a visual feast of production design. His emphasis on the analog, presenting physical, non-digital aesthetics and designs, immerses the viewer in the filmic world. What can Del Toro’s emphasis on a more analog, material aesthetic (a physical geography that holds a physical place in space), instead of utilizing a more digital one (a non-geography, a place without physicality) inform us about our present subject transformation?

Crimson Peak’s uncanny combination of materiality and immateriality functions as a reaction to a shift and/or transformation in spectatorship. Through the elaborate and lush material production design of Crimson Peak, the spectator is confronted with various instances of inorganic animation and doubling, eliciting the uncanny. 1 The uncanny double becomes a prevalent motif throughout Crimson Peak : during pre-production, Del Toro and his crew built the primary setting from a highly detailed miniature model; the initial setting of a bright, modern Buffalo, NY juxtaposes a crumbling gothic mansion in a bleak and cold Cumberland, England; the two protagonists, Edith and Lucille, visually oppose one another; and the crimson red ghosts, presented as both physical and digital, inhabiting the mansion mirror the spectator’s own experience. The double, thus, becomes a site where the spectator is shocked into an awareness of a blurred and confused positionality: between a whole and physical spectatorship and a fractured digital one. The awareness of this in-betweeness occurs within the primary location of Crimson Peak , Allerdale Hall, a lush, tactile, gothic mansion. I will argue that this setting, where the spectator is made aware of their digital spectatorship, occurs within a material and monstrous feminine space that communicates not only the diegetic character’s psyche, but also, through Del Toro’s ghostly representations and Freud’s uncanny, the spectator’s confused spectatorial experience. The crimson red ghosts of Crimson Peak and Del Toro’s (re)presentation of them visualizes the contemporary spectator’s own dualistic experience.

The film’s aesthetic and narrative firmly position it within the gothic tradition. Literary and Victorian scholar Kelly Hurley observes the gothic “has been theorized as an instrumental genre, reemerging cyclically, at periods of cultural stress, to negotiate the anxieties that accompany social and epistemological transformations and crises.” 2  Specifically, fin de siècle gothic offered “the spectacle of a body metamorphic and undifferentiated;…in place of a unitary and securely bounded human subjectivity, [it] is both fragmented and permeable.” 3 The crisis of subjectivity within the gothic perceived by Hurley alludes to a similar fragmentation within filmic spectatorship. Therefore, the divided spectator positioned between the physical and the digital represented within a contemporary gothic film is not out of the ordinary. Crimson Peak continues these themes through its materially rich aesthetics and ghostly special effects.

Crimson Peak is a gothic romance set in the midst of burgeoning modernization in 1901. Fourteen years after her mother’s death, Edith, the daughter of one of the wealthiest industrialists in Buffalo, NY, traverses the bustling town square to have her latest manuscript read and hopefully published, insisting, in a self-reflexive nod to the film on the whole, it is not a ghost story, but rather a romance with ghosts. While revising her latest manuscript at her father’s office, Edith encounters Thomas Sharpe, an English entrepreneur seeking investments from her father to build his steam powered clay miner. In the midst of Thomas’ and Edith’s budding romance, despite her father’s wishes, we are introduced to Thomas’s envious sister Lucille. After Edith’s father mysteriously dies, Edith marries Thomas and moves with him and Lucille to their estate, Allerdale Hall, in Cumberland, England. Once Edith arrives, she begins to witness strange, crimson ghosts roaming the house, warning her of its inhabitants. The audience learns that the Sharpes have been serving Edith poisonous tea in order to gain her father’s inheritance. Unbeknownst to Edith, Thomas has married several women in the past for their fortune, who now roam the halls of Allerdale Hall. More shockingly, Thomas and Lucille have secretly had an ongoing incestuous relationship since their teenage years, all the while plotting and poisoning Thomas’ past wives for their inheritance. Through numerous clues revealing the mystery behind these specters, Edith learns that the house she has come to call home is the same Crimson Peak she was warned of by her specter mother. Learning of Thomas’ and Lucille’s true intentions, Edith refuses to sign over her inheritance, stabs Lucille, and with the help of Thomas, escapes her grasp. In the final scene, Thomas confesses to Lucille that he is in love with Edith. Lucille kills Thomas in a jealous rage and chases Edith throughout the house until Edith kills her with a shovel to the head.

The Material Double: Tactile Space and Digital Spectatorship

The most alluring aspect of Crimson Peak is its elaborate and eye-catching production design. With a unique medieval/gothic revival vision in mind for the interior of Allerdale Hall, Del Toro and production designer Thomas Sanders designed it from scratch. Sanders was inspired by Edward Hooper’s “The House by The Railroad” (which also influenced the house in Hitchcock’s Psycho ). 4  It is worth noting that the house, from its inception, was designed as a physical structure with its own geography. Sanders began by visualizing the house with Del Toro through illustrations, after which he designed a small, detailed and painted, to-scale model, which allowed Del Toro to explore how certain shots and camera movements could be accomplished. Sanders and Del Toro’s emphasis on the model’s detail, including miniature furniture, painted and wallpapered walls, light fixtures, portraits, and interior accents, distinguishes it from the more contemporary pre-productions practices of digital imagery. Then, they up-scaled the model, doubling the miniature original one exactly, into a studio sound stage. Because much of the film takes place within the house, Del Toro and Sanders wanted to create a space that felt like it was lived in (and where cast and crew would be comfortable working for six weeks) to obtain more realistic and therefore powerful performances from the cast. 5

By designing and constructing the interior of the house from scratch, Del Toro could plan many of his shots before inhabiting the location and manipulate the house how he saw fit. Enhancing the immersive and organic nature of Allerdale Hall, many of the interior shots of the mansion utilize the structure and design of the house’s architecture to provide framing and create depth. For instance, when Edith encounters her first crimson ghost, Del Toro uses the design of the bathroom to create a sense of claustrophobia and anxiety, while framing Edith using the narrow, tall doorway from the outside (sharing the perspective of the specter).

Creating the interior of the mansion in Crimson Peak was a joint effort. Sanders focused on historical details and Del Toro adamantly insisted the house feel organic. The house itself becomes a malignant character, a living and breathing organism with a pulse. Del Toro’s intentions are twofold: first, as Del Toro suggests, “In Gothic, it [the haunted mansion] is a manifestation of the characters’ psyche or moral decay. Like our head – it is full of their demons and angels. Full of the past.” 6 Lucille, thus, becomes tied to the mansion, connecting the deteriorating structure to her crumbling psyche. Second, because the house becomes an organic structure it therefore holds a temporality: it ages, decays, rots, and holds memories. The house represents the history and characterization of the Sharpe family – for instance, the clay pits in the cellar hold the sibling’s dark secret of Thomas’ murdered wives – while standing in for an era of cinema now longed for, where the analog amazed and immersed.

The nostalgic longing for a more analogic and immersive cinema results from the contemporary digital spectator experiencing “a severe nostalgia for time and history at the beginning of the modern period…in both theory and practice.” 7  We have thus defined the “spatially absent” – “cyberspace” or “virtual” space – through nostalgia, engaging “analogies with our own conventions, conventions that force us, against the grain, to understand the spaceless in spatial terms.” 8 The desire to create and be immersed within material, physical worlds like Allerdale Hall, stems from our inability to locate our physical bodies in an increasingly digital world. Del Toro’s and Sander’s decision to strictly use analog technology and techniques within an increasingly digitized industry situates Allerdale Hall allegorically to the spectator’s own positioning. The construction process and materiality of the gothic mansion, moreover, envelopes the spectator in the tactile simultaneously revealing their dualistic spectatorship between the physical and digital.

The dualistic nature of our contemporary moment is further represented in the juxtaposition between Allerdale Hall and Buffalo, NY. Del Toro presents Buffalo with a yellow tint, signifying a bright future with the emergence of modernization (fig. 2). The town square is populated with merchants and salesman, the wealthy are driving new motorcars, railroads – signifying expansion, speed, and power – are being constructed throughout the city, electric lights populate homes and streets, and Edith’s father’s office is filled with architects and models of city towers. Edith is strongly linked to the modernized Buffalo setting, often wearing yellow tinted dresses. In comparison, when Edith moves with Thomas to Allerdale Hall, the landscape is gray, bare and desolate, surrounded by Thomas’ failed mining machines (fig. 3). Contrasting a dilapidated Allerdale Hall with a modernized Buffalo situates the former as lost in time, a ghost in itself. This juxtaposition also gains a nuanced quality as well. The material and practical nature of the mansion’s interior displaces it outside the present moment, while contemporary Hollywood genre films typically favor digital environments and design over the more realistic. Hence, the house in Crimson Peak represents a rotten and horrific past leading to infection and decay while, conversely, it represents a nostalgic desire for pre-digital cinema and a physical, whole spectator.

fig. 2 Del Toro’s Buffalo

fig. 3 Allerdale Hall

Pictures of Buffalo and Cumberland

As previously stated, the nostalgic longing for more materialistic immersive media and narratives seems like a common response when confronted with the contemporary moment. In the case of Crimson Peak , the nostalgic production design and narrative comforts the spectator undergoing, as Anthony Vidler notes in “Warped Space,” a spatial and temporal crisis. Human subjectivity presently inhabits a space no longer meant for them. Instead, “science and information have apparently constructed a world that has little need of the human in the first place.” 9  This new space of science and information, better defined as “no-space,” has no material dimensions or visible essence; for lack of a better term, it is space-less. As Scott Bukatman affirms in Terminal Identity: The Virtual Subject in Postmodern Science Fiction , these “spaces” have become “a function of telematics culture and the expansion of new technologies that substitute for experiential reality – the digital has replaced the tactile .” 10  Indeed, how can a string of 0’s and 1’s looped around a computer screen create space?

Per Vidler, while information may be represented spatially, the “information itself seems to have no inherent spatiality.” 11  Vidler confirms Bukatman’s contention in his analysis of postmodern science fiction narratives that attempt to cognitively map this new digital space. Bukatman posits that “Invisible spaces now dominate, as the city of the modernist era is replaced by the non-place urban realm and outer space superseded by cyberspace .” 12 Following Vidler’s argument, if bodily humans are caught between modernism’s conception of space and the new cyberspace, a space where physicality is no longer necessary, what happens to the filmic spectator?

Space and identity have always shared a close relationship. As Vidler contends, “The humanistic subject in perspectival space, the modern subject in montage space: these tropes of interpretation have, with many variations, come to stand for historically defined identities if not experiences.” 13  In conjunction with Vidler, postmodern media theorists N. Katherine Hayles and Jordan Crandall reveal that the relationship between surveillance technologies that strongly inform the digital “no-space” – specifically RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) – and subjectivity are intricately intertwined. RFID technologies, such as GPS software in cell phones and chips in credit cards, transform our environments into “animated” spaces, consequently altering the “perceptions of human subjectivity” 14  through “the technological unconscious.” 15  RFID technologies, then, transform the physical environment and encase the subject within the digital, therefore altering “conventional ontological categories” of subjectivity, and, importantly, the spectator’s perception and ‘seeing.’ 16  Extending Hayles’ and Crandall’s arguments to humans’ semiotic faculties, urban theorist William J. Mitchell asserts that electronic and digital tracking technologies have altered our ability to construct meaning. The transition to an ever-increasing digital environment confuses the ways in which we create and understand our perceived surroundings. Instead of coupling physical information and knowledge with physical objects, the invasion of the digital disrupts our meaning-making receptors. 17 In other words, digital and electronic technologies of interactivity, immersion, and surveillance have altered the many ways we understand and ‘see’ the world.

From the literature, we can subsume, then, that there is some form of spectator transformation in progress. Digital media theorist David Savat proposes that “subjectivity… changes depending on the various forces and pressures by which it is produced and by which it produces itself.” 18  Digital technologies of interaction, perception, and surveillance, such as RFID, have “affected and effected” the subject’s understanding of the self. The digital environment, the space created by these technologies, envelopes the subject and cinematic spectator subsequently altering how the world is seen and perceived. 19  Vidler elaborates,

…the infinite mutability, the seemingly endless permutations and rotations of digital constructions, the speed of virtual travel within the image, not to mention the complexity of the networks of communication themselves, all lead to the suspicion that some transformation in subjecthood is under way. 20

If there is indeed a new form of subjectivity on its way, a new perspective and way to perceive the world, how does one experience this transformation and new mode of ‘being?’ If the relationship “between image and experience” has been “changed beyond recognition within the processes, if not the outer forms, of spatial design,” how is one able to explore and elaborate on this new subjectivity? How can one illuminate and expound upon the fractured spectator placed in front of a film screen?

The (Im)material Double: Lucille and Allerdale Hall

The transformation from a modern, physical subject to a digital, time-less one visually manifests itself in Crimson Peak ’s materially lush production design. This not only occurs within the confines of Allerdale Hall, but also from dichotomous character traits and how the characters relate to the gothic mansion setting. Del Toro and Sanders accomplish this by instilling the production design with human characteristics and vice versa, strongly eliciting Sigmund Freud’s notion of the uncanny. The uncanny, or unheimlich, refers to “everything that was intended to remain secret, hidden away, and has come into the open” evoking “fear and dread.” 21  The uncanny, then, is experienced when the subject is confronted with “old, discarded beliefs,” such as the double, or “doppelganger.” Primitively, the concept was thought to provide “insurance against the extinction of the self,” only to eventually represent the “uncanny harbinger of death.” 22  However, Freud distinguishes between the uncanny one experiences in reality from the one that occurs through fiction.

Within a fictional setting, the uncanny becomes “much richer than what we know from experience; it embraces the whole of this and something else besides, something that is wanting in real life.” 23  This is made possible if the author creates a common reality, adopting “all the conditions that apply to the emergence of a sense of the uncanny in normal experience; whatever has an uncanny effect in real life has the same in literature.” The uncanny originating from fiction, moreover, has the potential to develop a more intense and intimate uncanny sensation than one from reality: “The writer can intensify and multiply this effect far beyond what is feasible in normal experiences; in his stories he can make things happen that one would never, or only rarely, experience in real life.” 24  Adhering to classical Hollywood editing, Del Toro contextualizes his gothic romance within a historically accurate setting and place in time. This, in addition to the materialistic interior of Allerdale Hall, creates a reality where the spectator can find common traits and relationships. The uncanny elements confronting the spectator within the fictional and materialistic gothic mansion of Crimson Peak (i.e. aesthetics increasingly being “discarded” in favor of the digital) reveals the spectator’s desire and ‘wanting’ for their own subjective positionality and ‘being.’

Within the gothic genre, the uncanny holds a prominent place. Lisa Hopkins has argued “the classic genre marker of the Gothic in film is doubleness, for it is the dualities typically created by the Gothic that invest it with its uncanny ability.” 25  The doubleness of Crimson Peak is found in many forms, however there are two ways of particular interest here. In the first, the spectator recognizes their own digital spectatorship in the mansion’s specters, eliciting the uncanny as an “effect of a disturbed present, a present affected by massive upheaval and transformation. It is less the revenance of a lost or suppressed human nature (against the artifices of modern culture) and more a product of scientific and technical innovation.” 26  Second, the dueling characters of Edith and Lucille represent a doubling that “creates polarities: extreme good is opposed to extreme evil, extreme innocence to extreme power, and very often extreme youth to extreme age.” 27  The polar characteristics of Edith and Lucille are represented in an early scene at a public park (fig. 4). After giving Thomas the latest draft of her manuscript, Edith walks over to Lucille who is snipping cocoons from a tree branch. Standing next to Lucille, Edith notices and inquires about all the dead butterflies at her feet. To which Lucille responds, “They take their heat from the sun and when it deserts them… they die.” Del Toro frames this shot with the two characters side by side in stark contrast, visualized through their polar fashion tastes. Edith is seen wearing a bright white, pink, and tan dress, while Lucille is dressed all in black with a single red rose on her chest. Lucille then explains that at Allerdale Hall, all they have are black moths, which she describes as “formidable creatures.” While the two are set up as opposites through their fashion, Del Toro also links the characters insectually: Edith as the butterfly and Lucille as the black moth. The implication is that Lucille, the formidable black moth, will slowly capture and kill the beautiful and innocent Edith.

fig. 4 Edith and Lucille

The uncanniness of Crimson Peak is further induced through Lucille’s mimesis of the mansion, which is also tied to her connection to the black moth. Once the film’s narrative transitions to Allerdale Hall, Lucille is seen wearing only one dress: a velvety dark teal gown, with black frills around the neck as well as tiny teeth-like spears (fig. 5). The dark teal color of the dress is replicated throughout the mansion’s walls and furniture. The black frills around her neck resemble the black moths that cover the walls of the nursery where Thomas and Lucille spent much of their childhood. The teeth-like spears are the same shape and length of the teeth outlining the archways of the halls.

fig. 5 Lucille’s Dress

As Edith becomes increasingly distressed by her encounters with the supernatural, she seeks comfort from Thomas on their darkly colored, Victorian style love seat, which closely resembles a black moth with its wings expanded. When Edith embraces Thomas on the seat, the furniture appears to have massive black wings, resembling a black moth enveloping and consuming Edith. Discussing the animation of the inorganic, Spyros Papapetros utilizes Raoul France’s “universal” theory of mimicry. France’s theory suggests everything from tiny insects replicating dead leaves, crayfish emulating seaweed, and Italian soldiers dawning “froglike suits – all natural bodies sought to imitate something other than what they originally were. In order to continue living, organisms had to act as inanimate objects pretending they were dead.” 28  Lucille mimics the interior of the mansion, becoming one with the walls and fixtures. The mimicry of Lucille within Allerdale Hall produces an uncanny experience for the spectator as she, a physical, organic human, appears from the tactile walls of the mansion as if she were part of its very structure. Thus, Lucille’s ability to simultaneously be both organic and inorganic, blurring the boundary between her physical presence and the mansion, represents the spectator’s own disoriented perception and spectatorship.

Del Toro clearly establishes, specifically through narrative elements and Lucille’s clothing, Allerdale Hall as a feminine space. Not only does Lucille mimic the interior décor and design, but certain spaces are coded as feminine though various narrative and thematic components: The Hallway, The Kitchen, The Clay Pits, and The Foyer. After transitioning to Allerdale hall after the first act, the majority of the narrative takes place within these four spaces, which coincides with crucial narrative revelations to Edith’s experience and investigation. These spaces are closely tied to Lucille and a perverse femininity while also exhibiting organic characteristics. Lucille’s mentality and emotions are manifested in these places, tying her to Allerdale Hall (fig. 6).

fig. 6 The Space of Crimson Peak Mansion

The feminine has a long and sordid history within the gothic genre. Borrowing from supernaturalist author William Hope Hodgson, Kelly Hurley highlights the fin-de-siècle gothic woman as one of the many sites that embodies the “abhuman.” The “abhuman” is “characterized by its morphic variability, continually in danger of becoming not-itself, becoming other.  The prefix ‘ab-’ signals a movement away from a site or condition, and thus a loss. But a movement away from is also a movement towards – towards a site or condition as yet unspecified – and thus entails both a threat and a promise.” Analogously, the gothic literature at the fin-de-siècle characterized the female body as “fluctuating” and “incomplete,” in the midst of a transformation moving towards a new sense of self and mode of perception.

Embodied by the gothic woman, the “abhuman,” is similar to the contemporary spectator’s fractured self. The “abhuman” is in a constant state of irregularity, continuously adapting and shifting to a new form of ‘being.’ Similarly, the spectator’s self is trapped between a radical transformation and “becoming.” The contemporary spectator moves towards an “otherness” of ‘being’ and ‘seeing.’ Informed by the fin-de-siècle gothic and Hurley’s analysis, I will argue later that the space of Allerdale Hall becomes a monstrous site of femininity where the “abhuman” emerges through the (re)presentation of the crimson red ghosts. This mirrors the spectator’s own fractured and confused subjectivity and way of ‘seeing.’

While the mansion has many hallways connecting many various rooms, there is one hallway of central importance: the Hallway is located on the second floor, paralleling Thomas and Edith’s bedroom (fig. 7). The Hallway is darkly lit, with only one small window at the end. But what distinguishes this hallway are the repeating archways outlined with elongated, sharp teeth. As stated in the special features, Del Toro wanted the hallway to repeat in such a way that it would appear to be out of focus for the viewer, creating anxious confusion. 29

fig. 7 Mansion Hallway

Due to its design, and Del Toro’s camera movements, the spectator feels as though The Hallway is closing in on its subject, swallowing them whole. The Hallway is where Edith is confronted with two different crimson ghosts: the first from a closet and the second emerging from the floor. Using a Freudian lens, the teeth protruding from the repeated archways represents the vagina dentata, i.e. fear of castration. This explains why Thomas is never seen traversing this particular passage, only Edith and Lucille. Thus, Del Toro establishes The Hallway as a grotesque feminine space through its design and inhabitants.

Next, The Kitchen and The Clay Pits, though vastly different, are all practical. The Kitchen is so realistic that it is a hands-on working kitchen. 30  Early in the film, the kitchen, the heart of any house, is established as Lucille’s space: she cooks the meals, brews the poisonous tea, and red clay crawls down its walls when Lucille is distraught or excited. In addition, Edith has numerous secrets revealed to her within the space of the kitchen. It is in the kitchen where Edith learns that Allerdale Hall is nicknamed Crimson Peak, and discovers and steals a mysterious key from Lucille. Moreover, in the space of the kitchen, the audience learns that both Thomas and Lucille are poisoning Edith’s tea.

The Clay Pits, on the other hand, represent the membrane and guts of the house, where all secrets are buried and revealed (fig. 8). Located in the basement of the house, it contains eight separate pits filled with liquid clay and dead bodies, with pipes and waterways running through the floor and walls transporting red liquid. Thus, the pits have a strong connection to preserve and monstrous womb: it is dark, wet, and gives birth to Edith’s revelations concerning the Sharpe siblings. The design, structure, and aesthetics of Allerdale Hall begs spectators to lean in closer, to immerse themselves deeper into Crimson Peak, and to experience Lucille’s connection to Allerdale Hall, a connection visualized through materiality and practical effects and aesthetics.

fig. 8 Clay Pits

The character of Lucille Sharp shares a strong relationship to the mansion, consequently bridging a connection between Allerdale Hall and the spectator. When Lucille’s emotions are high, eventually becoming manic, the house too begins to come undone. Through Edith’s perspective, the spectator is gradually introduced to the exterior, and later, more significantly, the interior of the home. After the funeral of Edith’s father and marriage of Edith and Thomas, the screen fades in on the gates of Allerdale Hall with Edith and Thomas entering by horse and carriage. As the camera pans up, displaying the landscape of Allerdale Hall, we are presented with grey skies, a barren landscape with dying trees and grass, littered with Thomas’ failed machines.

As the scene continues, Thomas and Edith enter Allerdale Hall with the camera following. The shot opens up to the expansive foyer, with a decadent three-story stairwell on the left lined by various portraits. Three stories above, the ceiling has a gaping, rotting hole allowing precipitation, sunlight, and dead leaves to constantly fall through the middle. This causes Edith to remark, “It’s even colder inside than out.” Much like Lucille’s and Edith’s relationship, the house at first appears beautiful and comforting, but reveals itself as cold and rotting from within. Thomas explains to Edith that the precipitation and cold weather have made the upkeep of the home “impossible,” in addition to the clay mines below rotting the wood and pulling the house down to the earth. Thomas’ words here illuminate our own fears of not only the digital but the finitude of physical, material objects and bodies. To illustrate Allerdale Hall’s deterioration, Thomas steps on some loose floorboards, causing the red liquid clay to rise from below. Entering the house with Edith, as husband and wife, we see the first sight of the red clay oozing from the house, like blood from a pressurized wound (or Lucille’s broken heart).

Later, after Edith has settled in, she and Thomas are sitting by the fire when a loud “ghastly” wind blows through the home, causing Edith to embrace Thomas in horror. Thomas explains to Edith that when the wind picks up, the chimneys create a vacuum, which makes “the house breathe.” The shot abruptly cuts to a new one framed through a keyhole, where we learn coincidentally, that Lucille has been spying on them the whole time. Del Toro’s cut links the breath of the house to Lucille’s concern over Thomas and Edith’s relationship. Similarly, while in the kitchen, Edith stealthily removes a key from Lucille’s key ring in the hopes it will unlock further mysteries of The Sharpe family. Del Toro frames the shot with Lucille in the foreground tending to the fire (with copious amounts of red clay running down the walls) and Edith in the background. Once again, the wind blows and the lungs of the house exhale signifying Lucille’s apprehension, and growing suspicions of Edith.

The last tie between Lucille and the house concerns the red clay, the blood of the house. Many times throughout the film we see the liquid red clay running and oozing down the walls of the house. When the audience witnesses this, i.e. when Del Toro reveals the organic nature of the home, it is during or immediately followed by an emotional outburst from Lucille. As mentioned above, the first time we see this happen is when Thomas puts pressure on one of the floorboards minutes after entering the house with his new love, Edith, signifying a disruption between Lucille and her brother and lover. Following the above-mentioned scene, Thomas gives Edith a quick tour of the kitchen until Lucille enters from the opposing doorway. Here again, we see thick trails of red clay running down the walls. Later, in the kitchen, after Edith and Thomas have returned from a night away, Lucille becomes furious at Edith for spending the night with Thomas and leaving her alone in the house. Del Toro once again emphasizes the red clay running down the walls highlighting Lucille’s emotional state.

After Edith learns of Thomas’s past marriages, and Lucille being committed for killing their mother, behind her, in the background, the red clay begins to run quickly down the walls of the foyer, cutting back and forth between Lucille and Edith. Lastly, and most importantly, after Lucille kills Thomas in a fit of jealous rage, she manically runs after Edith, knife in hand, down the stairs of the foyer. The corners of the foyer have thus begun to pour clay down the walls, while Lucille is fleeting down the stairs.

Through allegory, Del Toro allows the spectator to experience Lucille’s emotions and ‘being’. Through the representation of the mansion we learn of and feel her emotions through visuals. Del Toro has attached Lucille’s ‘being’ to the analog house of Crimson Peak . While some might argue Thomas is as much attached to the house as Lucille, due to Thomas’ positioning throughout the film, i.e. he is only ever seen in bedrooms, his workshop in the attic, and outside working on his machine, he does not share a clear connection to the house, while Lucille is repeatedly tied to it. Del Toro has consequently feminized the interior space of the house where the spectator is consequently immersed and experiences a nostalgic desire for a pre-digital spectatorship. Represented through the crimson red ghosts, the twisted feminine interior of Allendale Hall becomes the site of an encounter between a physical, material mode of viewing and a digital one.

The Digital Double: Crimson Red Ghosts

Allerdale Hall’s coming undone, and Lucille’s simultaneous mental break, begins with the introduction of Edith. This is signified through her yellow clothing as an embodiment of modernization and technological innovations within the aging and deteriorating confines of the home. Much like Edith’s disruption of Allerdale Hall and the Sharpe’s lifestyle, Del Toro’s representation of the crimson ghosts similarly unsettles the spectator’s understanding and sense of place within the ever-expanding emergence of digital technologies and spaces. For Del Toro, the figure of the ghost and a film’s environment have a strong relationship with one another. “Film architecture is beautiful because it’s ephemeral. Film is nothing but the trapping of things that are no more. Film is our communion with ghosts. Our pinned butterfly collection.” 31  It would seem the film, not just Allerdale Hall, becomes an object lost in time, trapped between two temporalities and ‘beings’: the material and the digital.

Del Toro emphasizes this temporal relationship further with his design and representation of the crimson red ghosts. He created the ghosts to be both physically material, i.e. having a human stunt worker in a practical effect ridden crimson red body suit, and digital in order to illustrate their translucency (fig. 9). The addition of digital effects helped create the translucency and transparent quality of the specters. In other words, the ghosts themselves become an uncanny double, both material and digital (fig. 10). Del Toro’s ghosts, thus, cross the digital/analog border in an attempt to capture a specific experience. “Mixing physical effects and digital translucency allows us to capture a unique presence. Specters halfway between the physical and the ethereal. Not in the future and not in the past.” 32  Del Toro’s dualistic ghosts of Crimson Peak adhere to Bukatman’s definition of “terminal identity:” “[It] is a form of speech, as an essential cyborg formation, and a potentially subversive reconception of the subject that situates the human and the technological as coextensive, codependent, and mutually defining.” 33  This identity, like the “abhuman” embodied in the gothic feminine, is a transitional form of ‘being,’ where the physical and the digital intersect. Hence, Del Toro’s ghosts represent an impermanent state, a temporality without an anchor, lost in time and place, much like the contemporary splintered spectator.

fig. 9 Material Ghost

fig. 10 Digital Ghost

The ghosts found within Crimson Peak , who attempt to warn Edith about the Sharpe’s true intentions, reflect back to the spectator a budding digital mode of perception. According to Vidler, the emergence of this new subjectivity is closely tied to Lacanian psychoanalysis, specifically the mirror stage. Instead of a mirror constructing and reinforcing a subject’s self, Vidler insists the new mirror is not a mirror, but a screen. “This new mirror, which is more of a screen than a reflective surface, is, I believe, in the process of creating an imago that was hardly imaginable…in 1936.” 34  The screen, for Vidler, creates “a refusal of reflection…and of resignation” where the “baby… is aware somehow that in looking at itself, and denied its desire to capture the face of the Mother, it is committed to a split identity…but as two imagos…blurred and morphed into a distorted physiognomy that is far from transparent or clear, but rather opaque and translucent.” 35 The spectator of Crimson Peak is similarly confronted with their own warped identity and mode of ‘seeing’ through the filmic encounter with the crimson red ghosts, a blending of physical and digital, mirrored back to the fractured spectator (fig. 11).

fig. 11 Composite Ghost

The ghosts of Crimson Peak , who similarly flow in and out of space and visibility, are stuck between identities and ‘being,’ dead or alive. This phenomenon is represented in Thomas’ ghostly return to aid Edith in killing Lucille. Thomas’ specter is similarly created using both the physical actor and digital effects to enhance his ghostly appearance.   After striking two deathly blows to Lucille’s head with a shovel, Edith approaches the recently deceased Thomas, caressing his translucent face, only to pass right through it. Once again, Del Toro complicates the material/digital dichotomy through Edith, a signifier of technological advancements, as well as a physical body confronting the material/digital presentation of Thomas’ specter. Consequently, the film screen, the window (or mirror) we view the filmic world through, reflects the spectator’s own dualistic experience through Thomas and the crimson ghosts, subsequently representing “the operations of new technologies and their hallucinatory, virtual effects.” 36  The spectators arguably witness the present moment, a double of their own spectatorial experience. Thus, the emergence of the crimson ghosts within the gothic setting of Allerdale Hall hauntingly mimics the emergence of the spectator’s own digitality.

fig. 12 Edith Caresses Thomas’s Ghost

The gothic aesthetic of Crimson Peak and the intense confrontation of the digital subject with the uncanny is no accident. As Fred Botting suggests, within gothic horror “the collapse of boundaries separating reality and fantasy, fiction and life, a psychological condition associated by Freud with the uncanny, has become generalized. No one, its seems, is immune from its effects.” 37  Furthermore, because the digital spectator is lost in space, in “a matrix, a web, a space of no time and no place, with a corresponding intimation of historical impasse, of the blockage of modernist progress,” they are consequently stuck between temporalities. 38  The spectator experiences the filmic space, and any filmic space for that matter, through a screen where it “has no history properly speaking – it implies no way forward and no way back – and is thus suspended out of time.” 39 Not only do the ghosts of Crimson Peak represent the digital subject through an uncanny experience, but the film as object does as well.

Moving from the more materialistic aspects of Crimson Peak to the more digital, illustrates, like the film, the transformation from a modern, physical spectator to a free floating, time-less digital one. The material production design and aesthetics of Crimson Peak inform and produce the spectator’s affective sensation experience of the uncanny through doubling and inorganic animation, subsequently jarring them into an awareness of their current, fractured spectatorship, caught between the physical and digital. The site of the spectator’s dualistic experience becomes a place of ‘becoming’ made possible through affective aesthetics and the blurred boundary between physical and digital effects. The spectator’s encounter with the double through Crimson Peak ’s material aesthetics, character (re)presentation, and the crimson red ghosts produces a subjective and spectatorial awareness of a splintered identity as well as the seed of a new ‘becoming.’

The spectator’s awareness and burgeoning new subjectivity takes place within the filmic world of Crimson Peak , specifically the space of Allerdale Hall, Lucille’s domain. Lucille’s relationship with Allerdale Hall informs the spectator they are immersed in a corrupted feminine space. With the double, particularly the material/immaterial crimson red ghosts, emerging within a feminine space, Crimson Peak follows the gothic tradition of the “fragmented and permeable” “abhuman” embodied and emergent within the feminine. Moreover, the mansion is physical and material, yet it bleeds and breathes blurring the boundary between the inorganic and organic, which strongly alludes to the spectator’s own confused understanding of their own spectatorship.

The doubling of Crimson Peak – Del Toro and Sanders’ pre-production model, Edith and Lucille, and tactile aesthetics against immaterial, digital effects – within a physical and material space jolts the spectator into an awareness of their unstable and fractured spectatorship.  The anxiety resulting from this consciousness causes a nostalgic longing for pre-digital spectatorship, where the spectator was whole, and held a physicality.  The spectator retreats to the nostalgia of the pre-digital, to ‘return’ to the moment of wholeness, of unity, where ‘being’ and ‘seeing’ was anchored, and fixed purely to the physical and material.  However, during these moments of the double, the spectator must withhold this nostalgic urge to be swept away in its comfortable arms, while still maintaining a necessary sense of historical connection to the pre-digital.  As Edith proclaims, ghosts are indeed real. Trapped in between time and space, their experience mimics the spectator’s experiential limbo.  And just like the red ghosts of Crimson Peak , spectators’ nostalgic longing for pre-digital experiences threatens to suspend the progress toward a new sense of self and spectatorship indefinitely.

  •   Sigmund Freud, The Uncanny, Translated by David McLintock (New York: Penguin Books, 2003). ↩
  •   Kelly Hurley, The Gothic Body: Sexuality Materialism, and Degeneration at The Fin De Siècle (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 5. ↩
  •   Hurley, 3. ↩
  •    Crimson Peak , directed by Guillermo Del Toro (2015; Universal City, CA: Universal Studios, 2015), Bluray. ↩
  •   Del Toro, Crimson Peak . ↩
  •   Del Toro, Crimson Peak . ↩
  •  Anthony Vidler, Warped Space: Art, Architecture, and Anxiety in Modern Culture (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000), 235. ↩
  •  Vidler, 236. ↩
  •   Vidler, 235. ↩
  •   Scott Bukatman, Terminal Identity: The Virtual Subject in Postmodern Science Fiction (Durham: Duke University Press, 1993), 107. ↩
  •  Vidler, 235. ↩
  •   Bukatman, 6. ↩
  •   Vidler, 243. ↩
  •   Katherine Hayles, “RFID: Human Agency and Meaning in Information-Intensive Environments,” Theory, Culture, and Society , Vol. 26(2-3) (2009): 48. ↩
  •  Hayles, 49. ↩
  •   Jordan Crandall, “The Geospatialization of Calculative Operations: Tracking, Sensing and Megacities,” Theory, Culture and Society Vol. 27(6) (2010): 69. ↩
  •   William J. Mitchell, Me++: The Cyborg Self and The Networked City (Cambridge: MIT Press 2003), 17. ↩
  •   David Savat, Uncoding the Digital: Technology, Subjectivity and Action in The Control Society (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 77. ↩
  •   Savat, 78. ↩
  •  Freud, 132, 123. ↩
  •  Freud, 154, 142. ↩
  •   Freud, 155. ↩
  •   Freud, 156. ↩
  •   Lisa Hopkins, Screening The Gothic (Austin: University of Text Press, 2005), xi. ↩
  •   Fred Botting, Limits of horror: Technology, bodies, Gothic (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008), 7. ↩
  •   Hopkins, xi. ↩
  •   Spyros Papapetro, On the Animation of the Inorganic: Art, Architecture, and The Extension of Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 223. ↩
  • Del Toro, Crimson Peak . ↩
  •   Scott Bukatman, 22. ↩
  •   Vidler, 245. ↩
  •   Botting, 10. ↩
  •   Botting, 6. ↩
  •   Vidler, 246. ↩

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The Odd Apple

Crimson peak (movie) ending explained.

This post includes a brief plot summary and an explanation about the ending of the film Crimson Peak (2015). Beware of spoilers.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, the 2015 horror film stars Mia Wasikowska as Edith Cushing , Tom Hiddleston as Thomas Sharpe and Jessica Chastain as Lucille Sharpe .

crimson peak plot summary

The film “Crimson Peak” is about a young aspiring writer (Edith Cushing) who falls in love with a mysterious yet charming English aristocrat (Thomas Sharpe). After the mysterious passing of her father (Carter Cushing), Edith marries Thomas and moves to his mansion at Allerdale Hall. There, Edith meets Thomas’s sister, Lucille Sharpe. Shortly after, Edith started seeing ghosts around the house.

Plot Twist : The ghosts that Edith sees are Thomas and Lucille’s previous victims. The siblings have been targeting older and lonely women for their own benefit. First, Thomas would seduce the victims and make them marry him. Then, with Lucille’s help, the siblings would eventually poison their victims to death and take their money or inheritance.

What Happens in Crimson Peak? (Plot Explained)

Alan, a childhood friend of Edith’s, investigates her father’s mysterious death and suspects foul play. The doctor sees his suspicions confirmed when he learns about the Sharpe family’s past and the siblings’ cons on older women. As a result, Alan travels to Allerdale Hall to warn Edith about the Sharpe family.

Meanwhile, Edith finds out about the siblings’ incestuous relationship and confronts them about it. Lucille pushes Edith down the balcony, but she survives. At the same time, Alan arrives to rescue Edith. However, Lucille stabs him and instructs his brother to end the doctor’s life. Thomas tries to protect Edith and spares Alan’s life by stabbing him in a non-life-threatening area.

Another plot twist : Thomas efforts to save Edith end up costing his own life. In a moment of rage, Lucille stabs Thomas to death. While Lucille forces Edith to assign her wealth to the Sharpe family, she confesses to murdering Carter Cushing. Not only that, but Lucille also reveals that Thomas and she had a baby together. Nonetheless, their child did not live long after birth.

The Ending of “Crimson Peak” Explained

The ending of “Crimson Peak” shows Edith and Lucille engaging in a violent physical confrontation. During the life-and-death situation, Edith ends up killing her attacker with a shovel. After that, Edith and Alan leave Allerdale Hall, while Lucille’s ghost remains in the house, playing the piano.

Did Thomas Love Edith?

It seems that Thomas developed genuine feelings for Edith. The latter was initially a target for Thomas, but after consummating their relationship, he became closer to Edith. That, of course, sent Lucille over the edge, which eventually led to his demise.

In the heat of the moment, Lucille ended up killing the one she loved the most. Thomas was her brother, lover, and accomplice. Although Lucille made many victims throughout “Crimson Peak”, she did it out of love, and some might say out of obsession.

crimson peak ending explained

The ending of “Crimson Peak” means that trauma lives on, even when the perpetrators are no longer around. Despite being able to escape death, the memory of Lucille and Thomas will always haunt Edith. They deceived her, conspired against her, and one of them even tried to kill her. Furthermore, the ending of Crimson Peak also emphasizes the idea that one cannot escape their past and their sins.

What Is the Significance of the Ghosts in Crimson Peak?

The ghosts in Crimson Peak represent the past that haunts the main characters. In a way, they are memories but also reminders of the sins of the past. Depending on their personal stories and motivations, the ghosts of Crimson Peak also appear in different colours. Black ghosts are people who chose to stay, red ghosts are the victims of Allerdale Hall and white ghosts are the ones that chose to leave.

There are two black ghosts in Crimson Peak: Edith’s mother and, later on, Lucille. They both chose to stay, but for different reasons. Edith’s mother came back to warn her about Crimson Peak. Meanwhile, Lucille chose to stay at Allerdale Hall because that place represents her life. The decrepit mansion embodies darkness and all the horrible crimes that happened within those walls.

As mentioned before, the red ghosts are all the people that Lucille and Thomas killed in Allerdale Hall. Their first victim was their mother, Lucille killed the woman after she found out about their incestuous affair. Later on, the siblings would con and kill other three women for their money. The colour red represents pain, death and danger.

Then there is a white ghost, which would be Thomas. Even after his death, he tries to watch after Edith, which breaks Lucille’s heart. After seeing Edith kill Lucille, Thomas slowly fades away, as there is nothing tying him to the realm of the living. Thomas is a white ghost because he chooses to leave. Unlike the others, his spirit will no longer linger in Allerdale Hall or any other place.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, Crimson Peak is a tragic love story. All three main characters are driven by love. Edith Cushing decided to take a chance on love and fell for a troubled man. Meanwhile, Thomas decided to open his heart to someone other than his sister, which ended up costing him his own life. And Lucille committed the most heinous crimes because of her obsessive love for her brother, Thomas.

Having said that, the ending of Crimson Peak was sort of bittersweet. On the one hand, I’m glad the protagonist survived to tell the story. But on the other hand, it’s hard to feel good about the siblings’ fate. They are the product of the frigid parenting of their strict mother. That means that when they were children, Lucille and Thomas had no one to rely on but each other.

Trauma seems to be a recurring theme in Crimson Peak. Every character in Crimson Peak is somehow haunted by their past. Edith’s trauma started early on when she lost her mother and wasn’t able to bid her farewell. Then there are the victims of Allerdale Hall. Their gruesome deaths motivated them to stay at Allerdale Hall and warn its unsuspecting visitors. Although Lucille and Thomas are aware of their sins, they are trapped in a vicious cycle.

Overall, Crimson Peak is a very interesting tale. It’s a love story with a dash of horror, and it has a supernatural element to it. Another fascinating aspect of Crimson Peak is how it uses ghosts to explain human nature. Those who cannot let go of the past or hold on too much to their memories will eventually get stuck.

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  • Movie Review

Crimson Peak review: a gothic ghost story for grown-ups

  • By Bryan Bishop
  • on October 15, 2015 10:50 am

crimson peak lucille ghost

This year at Comic-Con, director Guillermo del Toro explained that early in his career he’d decided that he would keep his US films focused on the kind of B-movie monster and sci-fi stories he’d loved as a kid, while saving “my more adult and hardcore stuff for my European or Spanish-language films.” It brought his entire career into focus, explaining why the filmmaker behind haunting and atmospheric tales like The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth could also be the same one making goofy, comic book action flicks like Hellboy and Pacific Rim .

On his latest film, the gothic romance Crimson Peak , del Toro said he’d been able to change that trajectory, making an “adult movie in the English language” for the first time. A period piece set in a massive, crumbling, haunted house, it’s arguably the most gorgeous film of his career, and with Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, and Mia Wasikowska heading up the cast, he’s never had more talent in front of the camera. But what exactly is an adult del Toro film in 2015 — and is it something audiences will even be receptive to if it’s not behind the highbrow sheen of a foreign language film?

Crimson Peak follows Edith (Wasikowska), an aspiring writer at the turn of the century who’s much more interested in telling ghost stories than playing the society games her peers are so enamored with. She’s a typical del Toro outsider, having lost her mother at an early age. She’s also downplaying a rather curious supernatural ability: she can see ghosts. When she meets sibling duo Thomas and Lucille Sharpe (Hiddleston and a tightly wound Chastain), she’s quickly taken by Thomas’ romantic gestures, and soon they’re married and off to England to take up residence at the Sharpe’s estate, Allerdale Hall — which the locals call Crimson Peak due to the blood-red clay deposits that lie just beneath the house.

Alone in the countryside with the pair, Edith quickly starts seeing apparitions, the kind of spooky, spindly armed phantoms that seem to populate all of del Toro’s worlds. There are secrets hidden in the house, and as Thomas and Lucille’s behavior turns increasingly erratic, Edith realizes she may very well be in danger.

As a filmmaker, del Toro has always been known for striking, creative visuals, but with Crimson Peak he’s truly reached a new level in his work. There’s a glowing, painterly quality to Dan Lausten’s photography here that is remarkable, and both the costumes and production design fully realize the world as a kind of stunning, waking dream. Allerdale Hall is pure atmosphere, the kind of place where dead leaves constantly stream through a never-repaired ceiling breach, and carved mannequin heads stare dead-eyed from the shelves of an attic workshop. The spell of that tactile reality is occasionally broken by some CG work that just doesn’t quite match the level of what was built on set — an ongoing weakness in many of del Toro’s films — but those moments are fleeting, the larger beauty of Crimson Peak overpowering the lapses.

CRIMSON PEAK promotional images (UNIVERSAL)

The character of the visuals — like the house itself — serve as the platform for the story, and that’s where del Toro is able to meld his twin career tracks of US and European films into one singular entity. The surface appeal of Crimson Peak is in the ghosts and scares; the accessible fright fests that he’s been successful with both as a director and producer. But when he refers to Crimson Peak as a gothic romance, that’s not hyperbole; this is a story about the heightened emotional power of love, and the damage it can inflict even while it raises individuals to new emotional heights. It’s the kind of story that has befuddled numerous filmmakers; one need only look back at Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula to see another similarly lush production that couldn’t quite connect with its basic thematic premise.

But del Toro’s ever-present, earnest embrace of melodrama — a weakness in something like Pacific Rim — is what sees him through here. That’s not to say there aren’t tonal missteps or weak points; more than one serious moment earned laughter from the theater when dread was undoubtedly the intention. But Wasikowska’s performance is so warm and engaging that she shepherds the audience through, as does Hiddleston, who retains his likability even though he’s clearly a man with a secret right from the start.

Crimson Peak promotional still

Oddly enough, the weakest link in the entire film is Jessica Chastain, who is normally able to transform herself seamlessly from role to role, but here veers into a world of facial tics and menacing glares that borders on parody. It plays as a miscalculation on del Toro’s part, like he’s nodding a little too vigorously at Mrs. Danvers from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca — a stated influence — though Chastain is able to shine in a few moments of quiet, emotional introspection.

Ultimately, that’s how Crimson Peak lives or dies — not by its plotting (which can be clunky and unearned), nor its scares, but by how it connects emotionally. It’s always been the secret to del Toro’s Spanish films, which share a single weary, wounded romantic heart — the same one that’s beating here. But as much as I enjoyed the delirious, gory ride (one that I can’t wait to take again), I don’t imagine Crimson Peak is going to do very well. It’s not enough of a rote ghost story to appeal to hardcore genre fans, and movies trafficking in this kind of emotional sentiment aren’t exactly known for their box office performance. Instead, Crimson Peak will likely be discovered by many in the same way that they’ve found the best of del Toro’s work: on video, on Netflix, in arthouse revival theaters — and in the work of those he continues to inspire.

Crimson Peak opens Friday, October 16th.

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Crimson Peak

Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak (2015)

In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, s... Read all In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds - and remembers. In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds - and remembers.

  • Guillermo del Toro
  • Matthew Robbins
  • Mia Wasikowska
  • Jessica Chastain
  • Tom Hiddleston
  • 578 User reviews
  • 422 Critic reviews
  • 66 Metascore
  • 7 wins & 43 nominations

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  • Edith Cushing

Jessica Chastain

  • Lucille Sharpe

Tom Hiddleston

  • Thomas Sharpe

Charlie Hunnam

  • Dr. Alan McMichael

Jim Beaver

  • Carter Cushing

Burn Gorman

  • Mrs. McMichael

Doug Jones

  • Edith's Mother …

Jonathan Hyde

  • Secretary Jane

Gillian Ferrier

  • Society Girl

Tamara Hope

  • Young Edith

Joanna Douglas

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  • Trivia When del Toro pitched the film to Charlie Hunnam he told the actor "that he'd be playing the damsel in distress", and Hunnam was immediately sold on the movie.
  • Goofs Dr. Alan claims that it would be impossible to fake a ghost photograph with glass plates. In fact at the time a lot of 'ghost photos' were made with glass plates, because the expensive plates were re-used, and if not cleaned properly, a 'ghost' image would remain.

Lucille Sharpe : But the horror... The horror was for love. The things we do for love like this are ugly, mad, full of sweat and regret. This love burns you and maims you and twists you inside out. It is a monstrous love and it makes monsters of us all.

  • Crazy credits The first half of the end credits reveals that Edith adapted her experience in the film into a book titled "Crimson Peak".
  • Connections Featured in The Graham Norton Show: Robert De Niro/Anne Hathaway/Kenneth Branagh/Tom Hiddleston/The Shires (2015)
  • Soundtracks In the Sails of Your Dreams Written by Guillermo del Toro and Fernando Velázquez (as Fernando Velásquez)

User reviews 578

  • Oct 18, 2015
  • How long is Crimson Peak? Powered by Alexa
  • October 16, 2015 (United States)
  • United States
  • Official Facebook
  • Official site
  • Haunted Peak
  • Kingston, Ontario, Canada (Market Square Downtown outside city hall)
  • Double Dare You (DDY)
  • Legendary Entertainment
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro
  • $55,000,000 (estimated)
  • $31,090,320
  • $13,143,310
  • $74,679,822

Technical specs

  • Runtime 1 hour 59 minutes
  • Dolby Digital
  • Dolby Surround 7.1

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Crimson Peak (2015)

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Crimson Peak is a 2015 American-Mexican-Canadian horror-gothic romance film, directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Matthew Robbins. It was produced by Legendary Pictures and is being distributed by Universal Pictures. The film stars Mia Wasikowska , Tom Hiddleston , Jessica Chastain and Charlie Huunam.

In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds - and remembers.

  • 3 Production
  • 5 External Links

In 1887 Buffalo, N.Y., Edith Cushing, the young daughter of wealthy American businessman Carter Cushing, is visited by her mother's ghost who warns her, "beware of Crimson Peak."

Fourteen years later in 1901, Edith is now a budding author who prefers penning ghost stories to writing the romance novels that her editor wants. She meets Sir Thomas Sharpe, an English baronet who has come to the United States seeking investors, including Edith's father, for his clay-mining invention. Disdaining privileged aristocracy and unimpressed with Sharpe's prototype and previous failures to raise capital, Cushing rejects Thomas's proposal. Edith notices that Thomas and his sister, Lucille, wear expensive but outdated and somewhat-frayed fashions. Shortly after, Edith once again is visited by her mother's spirit bearing the same warning.

Sir Thomas is determined to persuade Mr. Cushing to change his mind. However, when he and Edith become romantically attached, Cushing and Edith's childhood friend, Dr. Alan McMichael, disapprove. Mr. Cushing hires a private detective who uncovers unsavory facts about the Sharpes. Mr. Cushing confronts the siblings and bribes them into returning to England. As Cushing insisted he do, Sir Thomas abruptly and cruelly ends his and Edith's relationship, but the next morning, he sends her a note explaining his actions. Not long after, Mr. Cushing is brutally murdered, though his death is ruled accidental. Edith and Sir Thomas eventually marry and return to England. They arrive at Allerdale Hall, the Sharpes' dilapidated mansion, which sits atop a red clay mine. As Edith settles in, she finds that Lucille acts somewhat cold toward her while Sir Thomas remains physically distant. Edith is left confused and uncertain by their behavior.

Gruesome ghosts begin appearing to Edith throughout the mansion. To help calm Edith, Sir Thomas takes her into town. After being snowed in for the night, they finally consummate their marriage. Lucille angrily lashes out when they return the next morning, frightening Edith. By the time Sir Thomas mentions that the estate is also referred to as "Crimson Peak," due to the warm red clay seeping up through the snow, Edith is growing increasingly weaker and coughing up blood.

Edith explores the mansion and begins piecing clues together, discovering that Sir Thomas previously married three wealthy women who were fatally poisoned for their inheritances. She realizes she, too, is being poisoned. She also discovers the siblings have had a long-term incestuous relationship, resulting in a sickly infant that died. Lucille murdered their mother after she had discovered her children's incest. Sir Thomas inherited the family manor that, like many aristocratic estates of the era, is no longer profitable; the Sharpes are virtually penniless. The brother and sister began the "marriage and murder" scheme to support themselves and to fund Thomas's inventions.

Back in the United States, the detective that Mr. Cushing had hired tells Alan what he uncovered about the Sharpes, including Thomas's multiple marriages and Lucille's time in a mental institution. Realizing Edith is in danger, Alan arrives at Allerdale Hall to rescue her. Lucille stabs him in the left armpit, then demands that Sir Thomas finish him off. Sir Thomas, who has fallen in love with Edith and does not want her harmed, inflicts a second, non-fatal stab wound to Alan before hiding him in the cellar. Lucille forces Edith to sign a transfer deed granting the Sharpes ownership of the Cushing estate and also confesses to her that she was the one who murdered Edith's father. After Edith signs the deed, she stabs Lucille in the chest with a pen and tries to flee. Sir Thomas burns the deed and promises to protect Edith so that she and Alan can escape. Lucille, jealous over Sir Thomas falling in love with Edith, murders him in a rage. She then pursues Edith. Aided by Sir Thomas' ghost, Edith kills Lucille with a shovel. Sir Thomas bids Edith a silent farewell as his spirit departs. Edith and Alan are rescued, and Lucille's ghost now haunts Allerdale. The end credits imply that Edith has written a novel titled Crimson Peak based on her experiences.

  • Tom Hiddleston as Sir Thomas Sharpe
  • Charlie Hunnam as Dr. Alan McMichael
  • Jessica Chastain as Lady Lucille Sharpe
  • Mia Wasikowska  as Edith Cushing
  • Burn Gorman  as Charlie Houk
  • Eugene Clark  as Holly
  • Leslie Hope as Mrs. McMichael
  • Jim Beaver  as Carter Cushing
  • Doug Jones  as
  • Javier Botet  as
  • Kimberly-Sue Murray  as Society Girl
  • Jim Watson  as Clerk
  • Bruce Gray  as William Ferguson
  • Gillian Ferrier  as Society Girl
  • Ron Bottitta  as Voice Actor
  • Emily Coutts  as Eunice McMichael
  • Laura Waddell as Pamela Upton
  • Sofia Wells as Young Edith Cushing
  • Peter Spence as Hotel Manager
  • Amanda Smith  as Beatrice
  • Martin Julien  as Postal Clerk
  • Alec Stockwell  as William Findlay
  • Myrna Moretti as Party Guest

Production [ ]

The film is set in Cumbria, a rural and mountainous region of northern England that shares a border with Scotland. Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Stone were originally cast to play leading roles but left production. Benedict was replaced by Tom Hiddleston and the role of Edith Cushing was filled by Mia Wasikowska who was already part of the cast. The film was planned to be released late 2014 but because Universal Pictures wanted a Halloween release, it was rescheduled for October of 2015. 

External Links [ ]

IMDB Screenrant

  • 1 The Farm (2018)
  • 2 Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 (2024)
  • 3 Peter Pan's Neverland Nightmare

Rue Morgue

Gender, Genre and the Ghosts of “Crimson Peak”

Thursday, April 30, 2020 | Opinion

By: Gregory Mucci

At turns compulsively romantic and uncompromisingly haunting, Crimson Peak is ultimately Gothic, a torrid affair of 18th century sensibility married to the modern trappings of love, death and the afterlife. Like most works of Gothic fiction, there lies a dark fate at its centre, a looming estate tucked away in the midst that reaches with outstretched hands to draw in the stories troubled figures. It can be seen on hundreds of paperback covers – The Lady of Glenwith Grange by Wilkie Collins, The Weeping Tower by Christine Randell to name a few – pushed back against the ominous night yet seemingly omnipresent; a single light lit near the eve or within the attic that’s all knowing yet mostly foreboding. Their exterior may be made of brick and mortar, wood and nails yet every inch of these stark membranes are designed in black blood, corroded veins and a beating heart; a menacing beast that aches with ghosts of the past.

crimson peak lucille ghost

Except writer and director Guillermo Del Toro ( Pan’s Labyrinth ) isn’t so much interested in the past as he is in the future; a peculiar tendency for a visionary whose flourishes evoke the radiance and decadence of a bygone era. Films rooted in the playfulness and dispirit of what once was – the Spanish Civil War enveloping the innocent in both The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth , the Cold War circumscribing the world in The Shape of Water , or the obsolete strength of a nation in Pacific Rim; a futuristic film overflowing with creatures of his – and cinemas – past. All embrace the discarded, the forgotten and the rejected, yet speak to the evolving dynamism of not just a visionary, but a reactionary. Here, Crimson Peak stands as Del Toro’s crowning achievement of subversion, a Gothic curio of timelessness and Bava-esque macabre that looks to the future.

Set during the hustle and bustle of the new 20th century, Crimson Peak introduces Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowski), a burgeoning young writer whose own work of fiction tells of courtships and ghosts, figures that have haunted her since the passing of her mother when she was just a child. After an English baronet by the name of Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) – accompanied by his decadently brooding sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) – seeks investment from her father, businessman Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver), Edith becomes entangled in a relationship that sends her to Cumberland, England. Arriving at Allerdale Hall, an opulent estate known for its primordial red clay oozing forth from the ground – Edith soon finds herself troubled by ghosts; ghastly vestiges that quickly reveal the dark and troubled past of Crimson Peak.

It’s a sumptuous and haunting history that evokes the breathlessly tenebrous atmosphere of two literary adaptations: David Lean’s Dickensian adaptation Great Expectations and William Wyler’s tailoring of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights , a work of Gothic fiction set against class and lost love. Both classics begin where they end – the former a cracked book recounting the upbringing of common boy Pip (played as an adult by the youthful John Mills), while the latter against turbulent weather that obscures the vision of a deceased woman (the ethereal voice of Merle Oberon calling out). Del Toro uses these frameworks to weave Crimson Pea k’s superlative tapestry as the opening credits close on the resplendently green cover of a book with the same name – Edith’s published opus – before revealing our heroine cast against the aftermath of its fervent events.

We’re told that ghosts are real, a reminder that hangs suspended over a snowy landscape as Edith, bloodied and teary-eyed, stands enshrouded by mist; a proverbial mantle of the unknown. Del Toro then fans the stage in order to take us back to the films provenance. Back to Edith’s childhood, to tell the tragic passing of her mother – a victim of cholera – who returns that night as a blackened ghost to warn of the unfamiliar, to “beware of Crimson Peak”. A chilling introduction to the foreboding ghosts that offers a glimpse to the past that warns of the future; an entanglement of stages, characters and genres that reveal a deep affection for storytelling.

crimson peak lucille ghost

Before whisking us off to the cold and deathly landscape of Allerdale Hall, our curtain opens in Buffalo, New York, the economic and industrial hub that brought forth the emergence of hydroelectric power. It’s an innovation that lines the unpaved streets as well as the halls of Edith’s home, illuminating the ghosts that cling to the pages of her own writing. A talent that fosters strength and determination, separating the stripped down yet seemingly idealistic characterization of femininity most 19th century upper-class women adhered to.

When Edith is ridiculed a Jane Austen by a gaggle of parochial women – retorting that “actually, I’d rather be Mary Shelley; she died a widow” – Del Toro happily curtails subtlety by presenting his leading lady as a chiseled effigy of womanhood. Mud-caked feet and an ink stained complexion are only two of the illustrative pieces to Edith’s elegant framework, a demureness that pales in contrast to her stalwart core. She’s a hardened creation of a tormented past, an upbringing that has haunted her since the death of her mother, a maternal figure replaced by authors and their literary creations; women who helped pave the way for not what the heroine is, but who they are.

Like many of Del Toro’s works of the fantastique, Crimson Peak is a film that isn’t so much concerned with who Edith is, but what she becomes. Similar to the blossoming industrialism presented in Del Toro’s turn of the century – unpaved roads and oil lamps set against steam engines and burning filaments – Edith is a fusion of the old and the new. A framework of modern femininity compounded with the refined modesty of its time. Her work of fiction within Crimson Peak represents this, evoking the classical romance with a tinge of progressiveness, of the supernatural – “It’s not a ghost story, it’s a story with ghosts in it!” she tells the cities publisher, Ogilvie (Jonathan Hyde), who suggests just a bit more of what sells; love. Her resolve? To type it, masking her seemingly discerning penmanship despite her father bestowing upon her a new pen – a tool that will soon become a weapon of empowerment that evokes the kitchen knife housemaid Mercedes (Maribel Verdu) uses to slice vegetables, as well as the mouth of her tyrannical oppressor in Del Toro’s masterpiece, Pan’s Labyrinth .

When Edith first hears of Sir Thomas Sharpe, a self-described business man with the confounded title of baronet – “a man that feeds off land that others work for him, a parasite with a title” as our heroine so aptly states – her dismissive bluntness works parallel to the local women of high society. They embody the pettiest and fiercely money hungry side of Wuthering Heights ’ Cathy (Merle Oberon), a woman who falls prey to her destructive craving for riches. Who, against her unyielding love for childhood friend Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier), becomes betrothed into money. For Edith, the only currency she wishes to marry into is that of self-determination.

crimson peak lucille ghost

She’s a worker of sorts, like her father whose hands reflect years of strenuous labor; a symbol used against Thomas Sharpe during a meeting with Mr. Cushing, who expressly categorizes the baronet’s hands as the softest he’s ever felt. His un-calloused palms reflect, not the inability to endow, but the capability to love; a trait his sister exploits for their own dark bidding. It frightens Edith’s father, who correlates the hardships woven into one’s hands with the ability to provide, to protect, and in doing so to love. Hands play a vital role in Wuthering Height s, which Heathcliff – tending to stables on hand and foot – bloodies after thrusting them through windowpanes; an act that sees a man hung from love, abusing the very things that have failed to provide an adequacy for Cathy’s affection.

But we would be limiting ourselves to assume Del Toro is only concerned with the possessive and antiquated qualities behind that of the male hand, as the director is much more fascinated by the metamorphosis of gender. How the traits of men and women harbour the power to evolve, to become something greater than what old literature would lead us to believe.

There’s Lucille, a woman who runs analogous to Edith yet parallel to Great Expectations own Estella (Jean Simmons), a young girl with “no sympathy, no softness, no sentiment.” Lucille’s contemptuous and contemplative rage, like Estella, lies as dormant and vacuous as the very manor in which she resides. Her pale frame hides behind threadbare gowns laced with moth motif’s courtesy of costume designer Kate Hawley ( Pacific Rim , Mortal Engines ), who fashions the somber with the sophisticated. Lucille’s raggedly threatening attire evokes the richness of the old, a piece of what the Gothic genre represents; the grim, the horror and the fear against the romantic vibrancy that radiates from Edith’s modern gowns. Garments that are as intricately detailed as the interior of Crimson Peak , lined with butterflies as an obvious symbol of her inevitable rebirth.

Unlike Edith, Lucille is very much that moth, that nocturnal creature born from the old and cloaked in gloom (“they thrive on the dark and cold”), and like a moth to a flame she is summoned by her brilliance, which under Lucille’s piercing gaze glows like a gas lamp irradiating the path ahead. Del Toro, hardly one to adhere to boundaries, sees to “play with the conventions of the genre,” as he proclaims in an interview with Deadline , abandoning the established rules born from the very genres that raised him.

It’s a dismissal of what fuels the Gothic romance that’s further reflected in Sir Thomas Sharp and Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam), a childhood friend with a mutual interest in the supernatural, who looks to win Edith’s approval as well as warn her of what’s to be – “proceed with caution, is all I ask.” Both love interests – one of her future and the other from her past – court the idea of manliness, of the refined hero who gallantly saves the lady in distress on a proverbial white steed. Except Thomas, radiant and discernibly beautiful beneath a top hat of subversive masculinity alters the genres edict on ruggedness and virility, courting his love with none other than a dance; more specifically, the waltz.

crimson peak lucille ghost

When the baronet attends an evening ball with Edith, he invites her to demonstrate such a dance, publicly displaying his affection against the flicker of candlelight – a flame that dances with jealousy in Lucille’s eye. It’s a sexually fueled act that stands as one of Del Toro’s most masterful scenes – thanks in large part to cinematographer Dan Lausten (Silent Hill) – moving with a majestic sensuality that illuminates the courage and will of Edith, who despite never performing such a dance, nervously does so with eyes open.

Rather than allow Thomas to lead, Edith exudes a sense of confidence that unabashedly upends the stereotypes of the genre; timid, co-dependent, frail to name a few. Examined further when they consummate their love as Edith exerts dominance by climbing atop Thomas’ pinned body. Each of these separate yet equally erotic acts unveils the love Edith shares with Thomas, who against the better judgement of his and Lucille’s plan – a get-rich-quick scheme of marriage and murder – discovers that he has, in fact, fallen in love.

Del Toro’s display of sweeping romance counterpoints the rather dour and brutally candid dance between Pip and Estella (now played as an adult by Valerie Hobson) in Great Expectations , one that’s filled with far less courtship and even less cavorting. Reeling from years of pining over Estella, Pip moves on the heels of jealousy as his eyes trace a male admirer. One who Estella dismisses with the same upturned nose given to Pip since he was a young boy, whose newfound riches pollute the air with a false sense of entitlement. He firmly believes that he is owed what he rightfully deserves, while Estella brazenly looks to “wreak revenge on all the male sex” as Pip’s friend Herbert (Alec Guinness) so punitively puts; a macabre machination of Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt), whose pallid hand guides Estella like a broken marionette.

She’s a venomous and alienated widow, the films matriarchal revenant, who sits under a ghastly guise of frayed grey hair and suffocating dust – “I’m yellow skin and bone” she breathes – who is among the living, yet exists like a spirit loitering long after the gates have closed. She mirrors the blanched contours of the Sharpe’s mother, who after a cleaver to the head occupies Crimson Peak as both an ill-omened painting and a ghost marred with rusted skin. Trapped within the wailing walls of Allerdale Hall, writhing forth from creaky floorboards to warn Edith of the grizzly fate that awaits her.

crimson peak lucille ghost

After the brutal murder of her father at the hands of a mysterious figure, Edith elopes with Thomas and rushes off to his dilapidated yet opulent estate, its decayed decadence a reflection of Miss Havisham’s palatial estate in Great Expectations . Exposed paneling and corroded paint line the membrane of Crimson Peak , a deconstructed skylight ushering in falling snow or leaves as it peers upon its bleak cavity. A living thing built from the ground up as a marvel of set design that gives the film tangibility, one necessary in allowing Crimson Peak to feel a boundless within the genre. 

It’s here where Edith becomes frail and literally suffers (a symptom of poison, nonetheless), ceasing in many ways to exist as she leaves her writing back home. The expressive independence of her novel – safe from the noxious touch of any editor – is what keeps Edith alive; a Gothic self-defence manual that she now unwillingly lives. Without her creative outlet she’s merely the heroine in need of rescuing, and Crimson Peak frankly doesn’t cater to those tropes.

Shortly after moving to Allerdale Hall it becomes apparent that the Sharpe’s have been incestuously entangled, a taboo flirtation that first arose in The Castle of Otrato by Horace Walpole, an over two hundred year old novel about a blood line trapped between lust and longing. Lucille and Thomas – wrapped around her finger like an incestual corkscrew – hide their wanton yearnings like the women they slowly poison. Victims who are buried beneath the manor in vats of clotted red clay before haunting the grounds with twisted faces and pained eyes, their wails echoing the halls like trapped wind.

These ghosts, lurching forward with a disfigured grace courtesy of long time Del Toro collaborator Doug Jones, represent the estates macabre history. “In literature, the ghost is almost always a metaphor for the past” says author Tabitha King, and that remains gravely true within the framework of Crimson Peak . Murdered women that haunt the halls, fallen victims of love who lose themselves to a sickly marriage that eventually destroys them from within. Their demise at the hands of Lucille, no less instilled by jealousy, fits the mysterious Gothic molding of lecherous love, as victims of the Sharpe’s scheme fall prey to poisonous tea, leaving behind recordings that serve as the films shocking reveal.

Edith, following in similarly fatal footsteps after arriving at Crimson Peak , gradually finds herself dwarfed by the extravagant and detailed Baroque high chairs that adorn the musty rooms of Allerdale Hall; a marvel by the films nearly 80 crew members of the Art Department in what amounts to Del Toro’s obsessive eye for detail. The only thing that stands magnanimous among the looming furniture is Edith’s will to live, an indescribably heavy turn from Wuthering Heights , which sees Cathy laying bedridden as she beckons for deaths icy embrace. She clings to the notion that her unyielding love for Heathcliff, like a blistering fever, will never subside or vanish into the moors. For Cathy, the only true resolution lies in death, because despite yearning for what she’ll never have, she is faithful only to the Gothic genre, her very existence resting on the necessity for true, unbridled love.

crimson peak lucille ghost

Edith, raised by the dead through her mother’s ghostly forewarning as well as her father’s paternal knee, is the counter weight to this traditional crutch of dependency. She constructs a foundation of empowerment and identity lacking from the countless women of Gothicism, and unlike the walls of Allerdale Hall – corroding and decayed – remains fortified by her understanding of the very genre in which she writes. Her yet unpublished work reflects not just her defiant self-determination, but her role in Crimson Pea k, a sort of meta-omnipresence that further reveals Del Toro’s acute affection for the future of the genre. Her lack of dire and almost medicinal need for a man in order to exist – a necessity as seen through Cathy’s worsening physical state – relieves the heroic duties of the male saviour.

Men who, woven within the boundaries of Del Toro’s rich fabric, run against the thread of classical gender tropes, portrayed in romantic literature as robust figures with buoyant chests and drastically long hair; gallant men who sweep up the damsel in distress with lumbering arms. Here, the men of Crimson Peak carry soft hands, respectful voices and a shared interest in the hobbies of our lady in waiting. They, in fact, are the ones who need saving.

When Dr. McMichael – riding in on the wisps of winter wind – shows up in England to rescue Edith from the desperate and deathly grip of the Sharpe’s, he finds himself overpowered by Lucille, who wields a blade like the climactic killer within the dorm room walls of an 80’s slasher. Del Toro shovels bits of the often maligned genre like coal to a furnace, cutting through the slasher with a bloodstained razor while playing up Gothic horror with a sickening glee. A mad marriage between the often deteriorating slasher, accompanied with the enduring refinement of the ghost story.

In playing up the slasher element and treating men like the genres innumerable co-eds, they are, for better or worse, disposable beneath the blade of the killer. Men like Thomas, Dr. McMichael’s and Edith’s father – whom we discover Lucille murdered in lurid detail – are all fodder for the slaughter, driven by the slashers pejorative taste in gender equality. That – for nearly 50 years – has been feeding off the excess of toxicity that consumes women like the scarlet clay beneath the foundation of Allerdale Hall.

This isn’t to say that the male figures of Crimson Peak don’t matter, because they do, tucked into the endearingly warm coat pocket of domesticity. For Edith, it’s her father and his benign embrace, who softly and reproachfully champions her foray into fiction writing. Who – while possibly overprotective – cultivates an atmosphere of opportunity, one that contrasts with that offered by Thomas. Whose delicate nature and love for Edith narrowly penetrates the unscrupulous dark cloud cast by Lucille. His complexities are what make him such an enigmatic figure, an anti-hero of the refined type who feels perpetually stuck between the past and a future he glimpses with Edith.  Thomas’ blunt rebuttal over the latest chapters of her novel – “You know precious little about the human heart or love or the pain that comes with” – acts not only at the request of Mr. Cushing that he “break her heart”, but as a warning; one that declares his love for Edith as both terribly problematic and very real.

crimson peak lucille ghost

Each of these pieces act as molding that inevitably shapes our characters into the flesh and blood that, despite all their undoing’s, love just as equally. Exhibited through the maternal love that sees a mother, even after death, guide her daughter to safe ground. Or a taboo love that remains between brother and sister, unrestricted by the very blood that spills forth within the walls of Crimson Peak. A love that remains dominated by a festering jealousy that sees Lucille stab Thomas with a letter opener simply because, if she can’t have him, nobody will. It’s an emotionally fueled act that sees a sister murder in cold blood in what amounts to Del Toro’s typical flair for the gruesome.

Then there’s the true love between Edith and Thomas that defies masculine stereotypes, reaching out with a hand, no matter its softness. One that sees Thomas give Edith the choice to run or stay, to wait for a love that couldn’t be or to escape for a future that can only be. A stark contrast to the veil of inevitable death that lies draped across Wuthering Heights pallid love interest, as Cathy takes one last look out at the moors before expiring in Heathcliff’s arms.

Bronte’s work never really allots Cathy the choice though, nudging her right up to the edge of life’s rocky precipice, the unending option being destitution or death. She’s a victim of love who remains trapped within the walls of Wuthering Heights , waiting to be rescued from her fiancé – played meekly by David Niven – who blindly overlooks his new wife’s desolation. Cathy endures, torn between the fantasy of Heathcliff, of this oceanic castle that conceals another life in which love is written in stone and not the wind. It defines the women of the Gothic genre, consuming their flesh till there is nothing but a ghost that traverses the land, searching and waiting, and for Edith, there is no waiting.

Thomas’ choice is what separates Del Toro’s vision with that of the old Gothic, of love that remains unshackled and free to run uninhibited into the new. That sees Edith, despite her weakened condition, hang onto the very essence of her being; a woman who defies Gothic gender tropes by writing her own. She’s unaided, alone save for a wounded McMichael’s, and like her real life literary heroines, embraces the feminine curve of her “revealing” penmanship by attacking Lucille with the very instrument gifted by her father; a violent reworking of the damsel in distress with a weapon that yields a power both on and off the page.

Such distress can be seen written in the eyes of Edith, now pursued by Lucille into the cellar where she finds herself among the stacks of sarcophagus like clay, their sanguine contents acting as ichor for the film’s final girl. And like most final girls there lies a conflux, a point where distress turns to declaration. For Edith, this comes when she emerges into the shrouded landscape of her oppressive cradle; the crimson stained cellar acting as a gestating womb where she is reborn and renewed. Even Edith’s weapon, a shovel used to excavate the grounds of Allerdale Hall before crushing Lucille’s skull, glints with the new, with the ability to dig out a path for not only our heroine, but the gender, genre and ghosts of Crimson Peak.

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crimson peak lucille ghost

IMAGES

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  2. Lucille Sharpe

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  3. Lucille Sharp

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  4. Ghost of Lucille Sharpe by Shadow-of-Nemo.deviantart.com on @DeviantArt

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  6. Eliza (underneath a cold exterior...

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VIDEO

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COMMENTS

  1. Crimson Peak Ending, Explained

    SPOILERS AHEAD. Crimson Peak Plot Synopsis Little Edith is haunted by her mother's ghost, who warns her about a "Crimson Peak." The next scene opens in Buffalo, New York. Edith is an aspiring author trying to get her ghost story through to the publisher, but the publisher thinks there should be a romantic angle.

  2. Lady Lucille Sharpe

    William Afton (2023) Miguel O'Hara (Spider-Verse) Ghostface (Scream) Slender Man (Creepypasta)/Gallery Headlined Villain - Judge Holden Looperreallyreallysucks The Pro-Wrestler Looperreallyreallysucks Barneymiller123abc Destroyers of Innocence Faux Affably Evil Lover Stealers Chaotic Evil Noncorporeal

  3. Crimson Peak Explained: Guillermo del Toro's Gothic Horror Ode to

    Published Apr 17, 2021 At its heart, the Oscar-winner's 2015 Gothic romance is an ode to artists and their various ghosts. The most haunting moment of Guillermo del Toro 's Gothic masterpiece...

  4. Did Everybody Miss the Twist At the End of Crimson Peak

    Thomas and his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) have murdered all of Thomas' previous wives, and she's next. The plot is basically Edith surviving, along with Thomas having a slight change of...

  5. The Ending Of Crimson Peak Explained

    By Robert Balkovich / April 16, 2021 6:16 pm EST Guillermo del Toro's sumptuous ghost story Crimson Peak is a loving throwback to gothic horror classics like Rebecca and The Innocents. While...

  6. Crimson Peak

    Mr. Cushing is brutally murdered, raising the suspicions of Edith's childhood friend, Dr. Alan McMichael. Thomas marries Edith — giving her a ring taken from Lucille — and they arrive at Allerdale Hall, the Sharpes' dilapidated Cumberland mansion, which is sinking into the red clay mine below.

  7. Crimson Peak: Edith defeats Lucille (HD CLIP)

    1.2K Share 122K views 2 years ago #crimsonpeak #tomhiddleston #eternity What's happening in this Crimson Peak movie clip? Lucille pursues Edith, telling her that she won't stop until she...

  8. "Ghosts Are Real" (Final Scene)

    0:00 / 3:09 "Ghosts Are Real" (Final Scene) | Crimson Peak (2015) Fear: The Home Of Horror 2.26M subscribers Subscribe 396 30K views 4 years ago #CrimsonPeak #TomHiddleston #CharlieHunnam Edith...

  9. Explaining the ghost metaphor in Crimson Peak and why it's ...

    Crimson Peak straight up tells us that the ghosts are a metaphor. Great! That takes the mystery out of that! ... Explaining the ghost metaphor in Crimson Peak and why it's sort of lackluster. Featuring: Are You Afraid of the Dark, The Grudge, and Pan's Labyrinth. ... Lucille is only being nice to Edith so her and Thomas can inherent Edith's ...

  10. Crimson Peak movie review & film summary (2015)

    American heiress Edith Cushing ( Mia Wasikowska ), the heroine of "Crimson Peak," saw the ghost of her dead mother when she was a child, the shadow of its long fingers creeping along the wall (a steal from "Nosferatu").

  11. A Story With a Ghost in It: On Family, Trauma, and Hope in

    I won't claim that Crimson Peak has a happy ending. Lucille dies, and Thomas dies too, horribly; our curses and demons don't give us up easily. Still, the last moments of Thomas' life are brave ones, and his fleeting afterlife is expended helping Edith escape. ... The ghost of Thomas Sharpe bids his wife a loving goodbye—and then, at ...

  12. Crimson Peak (2015)

    Edith Cushing (played by Mia Wasikowska) is haunted (in some cases, literally) by the death of her mother - she died when Edith was young. Then she meets an English entrepreneur, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), the relationship develops and life seems to be improving.

  13. A love letter to Gothic literature: A defence of Guillermo del Toro's

    Lucille only knows inflicting pain as a way of showing love, even accepting her death at the hands of Edith. Guillermo del Toro's allusions to gothic iconography extend further than the beautifully haunting architecture and costume design, Crimson Peak is a genuine love letter to Gothic literature of the past.

  14. Ghosts are Real: Digital Spectatorship within Analog Space in Crimson Peak

    Written By Patrick Brame The prologue of Guillermo Del Toro's 2015 film Crimson Peak begins with a white screen fading in on the disheveled, distraught, and bloodied protagonist, Edith, proclaiming, "Ghosts are real… This much I know."

  15. Lucille Sharpe (Movie) Character in "Crimson Peak"

    In "Crimson Peak", Lucille Sharpe is the sister and lover of Sir Thomas Sharpe, a baronet who seeks investors for his clay-mining invention. The siblings live in Allerdale Hall, a decaying mansion located in a red clay mine. Lucille and Thomas have been luring wealthy women into marrying the latter.

  16. Crimson Peak (Movie) Ending Explained

    Directed by Guillermo del Toro, the 2015 horror film stars Mia Wasikowska as Edith Cushing, Tom Hiddleston as Thomas Sharpe and Jessica Chastain as Lucille Sharpe. The film "Crimson Peak" is about a young aspiring writer (Edith Cushing) who falls in love with a mysterious yet charming English aristocrat (Thomas Sharpe).

  17. Crimson Peak review: a gothic ghost story for grown-ups

    When she meets sibling duo Thomas and Lucille Sharpe (Hiddleston and a tightly wound Chastain), she's quickly taken by Thomas' romantic gestures, and soon they're married and off to England ...

  18. Crimson Peak Ending Explained: What Happens With Edith In ...

    Edith is visited by her recently dead mother's ghost. The ghost warns her, saying, 'Beware of Crimson Peak'. The story is set to be near Buffalo, New York, around 1887. In the movie, we see Sir Thomas Sharpe. He is an English baronet and has been traveling to the United States with his sister Lucille. Sir Thomas comes to seek investors ...

  19. Crimson Peak

    About Press Copyright Contact us Creators Advertise Developers Terms Privacy Policy & Safety How YouTube works Test new features NFL Sunday Ticket Press Copyright ...

  20. Crimson Peak (2015) Movie Summary and Film Synopsis

    A short time later, Edith and Alan are rescued by the villagers. Lucille becomes the black ghost of Allerdale Hall, trapped in the mansion, playing her piano for eternity. The end credits imply that Edith writes a novel about her experiences called Crimson Peak. Additional Film Information. Crimson Peak at IMDb; Crimson Peak at Wikipedia; Watch ...

  21. Crimson Peak (2015)

    Crimson Peak: Directed by Guillermo del Toro. With Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam. In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds - and remembers.

  22. Crimson Peak (2015)

    Directed By Guillermo del Toro Produced By Guillermo del Toro Callum Greene Jon Jashni Written By Guillermo del Toro Matthew Robbins Starring Tom Hiddleston Jessical Chastain Charlie Huunam Jim Beaver Mia Wasikowska Cinematography Dan Lausten Editing By Bernat Vilaplana Produced By Legendary Pictures Distributed By

  23. Gender, Genre and the Ghosts of "Crimson Peak"

    Like many of Del Toro's works of the fantastique, Crimson Peak is a film that isn't so much concerned with who Edith is, but what she becomes. Similar to the blossoming industrialism presented in Del Toro's turn of the century - unpaved roads and oil lamps set against steam engines and burning filaments - Edith is a fusion of the old and the new.