Written by Cat Wilson, catthewilson.com
Today’s pick is the gothic horror romance Crimson Peak. The main reason this movie is included, even though it barely passes the Becheld Test, is of the long herstory of women and gothic fiction from writers like Clara Reeve, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Brontë and even Jane Austin. As a homage, these writers the lead character in Crimson Peak, Edith, is determined to be a writer despite being patronized for her gender. Thomas, a handsome and mysterious man seduces her, using a line that is straight up paraphrased from Jane Eyre. Crimson Peak, is a story of betrayal with ghosts as a side plot. We would recommend this film to the more romantically inclined horror fans.
Crimson Peak has been criticized for not being feminist enough because of the love story in the plot. However we believe that feminism is about choice. We fight so we can choose to vote, marry or not marry, have sex or not have sex, have children or not have children. A stay at home mom with three kids is no less a feminist than a career gal be she bi-sexual, asexual, polyamorous or everything in between. The important thing is that we respect each other choices. So the act of a woman becoming romantically involved does not make her less a feminist. The problems occurs when media constantly shows only one perspective. We need more movies with women of all types and a film version of Frankenstein that get the feminist themes from the novel right, please.
Edith also goes after what she wants with her marriage and chooses the loss of her virginity. Her one sex scene is consensual and as a change features male nudity but not female. To quote Tom Hiddleston “We wanted to sort of redress the balance, and it's really important that Edith was calling the shots. She's the strongest character. She's a strong woman, and she's going to dictate how that goes down”. In the end Edith’s husband actions do not drive the plot. The climax is a battle between two women, Edith and her sinister sister in law Lucille. This is not a slappy catfight but a battle to the death. Finally it is Edith who saves herself.