The first and only time I watched Crimson Peak, I don’t remember enjoying it all that much. I guess when you come to expect the nuanced brilliance of things like Pans Labyrinth, The Orphanage, and of course our friend Big Red, then a creepy incestuous ghost/love story isn’t going to cut it as acceptable. I felt that all it had offered this excited Toro-phile (is that a thing, or does it just mean I really like bulls?) was a few slimy ghosts, and a plot twist worthy of a festive BBC special, at very best. I left the cinema as disgruntled about the film as I was about the tenner I spent on half a cup of jelly worms.
But you know what – four years later, and, thanks to this Blu-Ray release and its endless featurettes, I am very happy to report that in some ways at least, I might have been wrong.
Whatever I had to say about the plot, it was always evident that the same high standard we had come to expect from Guillermo Del Toro in the effects and monster department were being upheld, only the ghosts were sadly few and far between and somewhat overshadowed by the Bluebeard-esque tale of greed and curiosity that didn’t quite do it for the majority of people who watched the film.
What better way to wipe the slate clean then, than to make me eat all my words by accompanying this Blu-Ray version of the film with in-depth and heartfelt explanation of everything from the costumes, set designs, cast and crew opinions and expertise on every aspect of the film. Why certain lighting and colours were used, indication of the less obvious cinematic metaphors, and video essays from Kat Elinger and Kim Newman. We are walked through Allerdale House with a fine tooth comb, Tom Hiddlestone our guide as we visit The Gothic Corridor, The Scullery, The Red Clay Mines, and The Limbo Fog set, watching as every minute detail is run over, adding far more blood and guts to the equation than the few deleted scenes available up until now have been able to do. A discussion with the man himself about the traits of Gothic Romance, as well as all new feature commentary make it much more enjoyable the second time round.
Guillermo Del Toro doesn’t need me to forgive him. I’m sure he doesn’t need or expect me, or anyone else, to enjoy every single thing he does. But if you, like me, saw Crimson Peak as the chink in his armour, then I implore you to give it a another shot backed up by this absolute all you can eat feast of whats, wheres, hows and whys. I now feel thoroughly reimbursed for my 2015 pick ‘n’ mix. Sophie Francois