Crimson Peak (HUM220/HUM303)


I wouldn’t go so far as Stephen King in assessing Crimson Peak. For those who prefer incessant gore and rapid-fire shocks the film probably won’t seem stimulating enough. Instead, elements of mise-en-scene produce many of its most pronounced dramatic effects. While there are several sharp moments of fright and violence, del Toro places the greatest emphasis on visual texture and detail. Thus, anyone intending to watch Crimson Peak critically might focus on some particular aspect of the production design. The obvious candidate for sustained scrutiny would be Allendale Hall, which, like the castle of Otranto, functions not only as a setting but a character. Yet because mise-en-scene analysis always seeks to understand relations between visual elements it’s necessary to look elsewhere as well. Costume, for example, performs a vital function in terms of characterization and mood. With that in mind, one question to consider is how costume and decor relate at specific points in the narrative.


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