The house decays. We needed to have the house feel a little bit like an organism. There’s a line I already cut in the editing room where it says it lays down like an animal and it goes slowly mad. The house in the screenplay and in the movie has certain features that make it seem like a living organism. So, it’s decaying. It’s sitting in the middle of a field, rotting.
We knew that the top needed to be sort of the most weathered part of the house. The bottom and the areas where you received visitors are live and slightly more kept. But the top is the head. The people in the movie are insane. So the head is all rotted away.
I don’t like what I call “class porn,” where everybody’s all gooey over, “If only the aristocracy was still in charge, life would be so civilized.” Fuck that. It’s not true. It was never true. This is a movie about a…very incredibly decadent trait of the aristocracy, rotting away in a mansion on a hill.
Guillermo del Toro on Crimson Peak. I’ll take it. He also references Hammer and giallo w/r/t the color palette, Polanski’s knack for “precise” staging, and in-camera effects.
If we take The Devil’s Backbone as the closest del Toro’s ever come to a great film (right?), this sounds more like that and less like most everything since then. He’s one of those dudes that is so cinema-literate that it hamstrings him; his reference points are always clear, and his tributes suffer for the comparison. He doesn’t want for creativity or technical skill, but to hear him talk about Suspiria or Juliet of the Spirits or anything, you can totally feel his excitement and passion for this shit. I just wish more of his films were that electric, that effective - like, Pacific Rim has some incredible stuff in it. But did it need the rote A-to-B clogging its arteries in between? Even if you didn’t hate that stuff, no one’s going to watch a whole movie of that.
Del Toro’s best at pure visual storytelling. Imagine a near-wordless stripped-back At the Mountains of Madness, images bereft of talky context, dropping the viewer into the alien uncanny just enough to unsettle them. Then again, everything he designs looks like it came from the same sketchbook. Maybe outsource it?