Thursday, December 3, 2015

Crimson Peak and the desires of the "14-year-old inner bookish girl"



When I first saw the trailer for Crimson Peak last spring, I nearly lost my mind. Guillermo Del Toro (in!), Tom Hiddleston (so in!), Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain (two talented ladies I love, double in!) and most of all the prospect of a classic, Victorian horror/ghost story with gorgeous costumes and creepy sets, as I am a fan of all of those things.
Reviews have been mixed for the film, with some calling it too overblown and unscary with a weak, predictable plot. I have to admit the predictable part is pretty true, but as many of those same reviewers also admitted - so what? Most of them agreed that no matter what you think of its predictability or inability to be truly frightening, the movie is seductive and impossible to look away from - a classic, gothic tale with sumptuous production designs, lavish costumes, and Technicolor-like cinematography that creates an atmosphere comparable to the stories of Shelley and Poe. It’s addictive, absorbing, and sexy (also three things I’m always a fan of).
And it’s no surprise that I and many other writers and bookworms like me are also fans of the film. In a recent interview with the Muse, Guillermo del Toro said this about one of his colleague's assessment of the movie: "He says you are channeling your 14-year-old inner bookish girl. Which I would agree with.” And it’s true. Crimson Peak is a sumptuous feast for any viewer who has a "14-year-old inner bookish girl,” as it is as much of a dread-addled coming-of-age tale with echoes of books like Rebecca and Jane Eyre as it is anything else.
So if you, like me, enjoyed Crimson Peak and your “14-year-old inner bookish girl” craves creepy but sexy Victorian horror stories, then my recent book, The Heartless City, will satisfy that hunger as well. Set in a reimagined Victorian London that has been quarantined and overrun by a race of monsters created by Dr. Henry Jekyll, it takes a broken young man and mysterious girl on a journey from seedy music halls to a ghostly abandoned zoo to the lavish halls of Buckingham palace, and though Tom Hiddleston sadly does not appear, the entrancing but foreboding sexiness he exudes most certainly does.

I guess it’s true that we write what we love.