Haunted houses are almost as difficult to translate to the big screen as they are to escape. As someone who grew up in a haunted house and walked away with 100 percent of her limbs and at least 65 percent of her sanity, I feel uniquely qualified to comment on the authenticity and quality of haunted-house horror films. For instance: The Skeleton Key was the worst haunted-house movie I've ever seen. See? This truly is my area of expertise.
Crimson Peak, on the other hand, looks like it will be one of the best haunted-house horror movies in years. Sprung from the fevered brain of Guillermo del Toro, the film stars Mia Wasikowska as an aspiring writer named Edith who, having had the misfortune of being stalked by ghosts for the duration of her childhood, moves into one of the most haunted houses ever as an adult, inhabited by the palest, creepiest pair of siblings (Jessica Chastain and Tom Hiddleston) this side of the hacked-up twins from The Shining.
Today, Crimson Peak’s latest trailers dropped (one international, one just for us #Americans), and the film looks to die for (bwahaha)—an intimate, throwback gothic horror film rife with scares both psychological and phantasmagoric. These trailers have everything: Doorknobs that rattle on their own, creepy photos of people with no faces, creaky pipes that spew blood, mirror apparitions, empty elevator shafts, unearthly noises that prompt people to whisper “what was that?!”, wooden wheelchairs sitting ominously in beams of sunlight, skeletons crawling out of the floor, an in-house well full of blood?, demon-things lying in bathtubs, snowy hellscapes, and a piano that plays by itself. (That last part is particularly traumatizing, as my own personal ghost was known to tickle the old ivories every now and then.)
Here are both trailers. They’re…different:
The trail of the tape
Title: Crimson Peak
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Screenwriter: Matthew Robbins, Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Charlie Hunnam
Release date: October 16, 2015
The entire trailer in one line of dialogue: “There are parts of the house that are unsafe [keys jangle ominously].”
The entire trailer in one screengrab:
It’s strange how the domestic trailer paints Mia Wasikowska as a sort of feckless victim, while the international trailer gives her much more agency. For instance, the latter clip suggests she seeks out the demonic siblings as fodder for her writing, rather than being “chosen” and seduced and tricked into settling down in a house of horrors. America: We like our female victims totally helpless!