But it is also a result of the particular psychological demands made on women in the patriarchal family.We find out that both Sharpe children were neglected and abused by their parents: Lucille had to care for Thomas and sit by her mother’s bedside, nursing her abuser back to health.Indeed, Forbes’ review suggests that it is little better than Twilight, so disappointed are they with the film’s lack of horror.What Crimson Peak reminds us, though, is that gothic romance is the originator of modern horror: gothic and romance are inextricably related.Crimson Peak’s portrayal of the sinister Sharpe family contains the tropes of monstrosity and transgression that are associated with the “masculine” gothic.
But Crimson Peak divides critics precisely because it presents an ambiguous mixture of both: it refuses to entirely disavow the feminine in favour of the masculine. Following the publication of Walpole’s Otranto, stories of virtuous heroines incarcerated in the crumbling ruins of medieval Europe, pursued by degenerate aristocrats hiding gruesome terrible family secrets, were eagerly consumed by a bourgeois English reading public.
The horror of Crimson Peak lies as much in its exploration of the characters’ emotions, in its “feminine” concerns, as in its depiction of gruesome violence and sexual transgression.
Initially, Crimson Peak is a little squeamish about the idea of romance.
One review of the film applauds its “feminist” climax, which sees Edith and Lucille locked in physical battle, the male characters nowhere to be seen.
The decisive action of the plucky heroine is laudable indeed, but it accompanies a feminine tragedy.
Some critics have found that the subsequent romance between Edith and Thomas somewhat stilted, but this is the point.