Out of all of the taboos that Crimson Peak chooses to embrace during its course of events, there are quite a few from the Victorian era that the film chooses to explore. However, the greatest taboo the film focuses on is more of a modern problem, as Guillermo del Toro feels that in today's world, the biggest taboo is pure love.
I was part of a recent press conference with the cast of Crimson Peak, and among the attendees was del Toro himself – who was a fount of information about projects past, present and future. But front and center was his beloved Crimson Peak, a film that the director is so passionate about – all thanks to his obsession with the Gothic romances of the Victorian era. While the film is steeped in the polite and "proper" behavior of the period, Guillermo del Toro used the film as a sort of an antidote to the modern notions of romance. More specifically, del Toro explained the juxtaposition as follows:
I thought, curiously, in the era that the Victorians were enjoying at the peak of Gothic romance, they were afraid to talk about sex. So sex became the sort of hidden subtext of Gothic romance. Now, I think we're afraid to talk about love. It becomes a corny emotion in an era that's so cold and cool ... distant and aloof.
For as much as Guillermo del Toro is all about shock value, he never abuses the audience's tolerance. Even in Crimson Peak, not all of the scares are simple exercises in loud noises and sudden starts. So naturally, his take on the salacious material that a modern love story would portray is more restrained, and much more passionate. Though you may see Tom Hiddleston's ass, it's not a gratuitous shot, but merely a natural inclusion in a sequence where his character, Sir Thomas Sharpe, and Mia Waskiowska's Edith, are making love. In a more modern film, the sex angle would probably be played up in a more erotic way, but that would only feed the point that del Toro is making about films today.
Listening to del Toro speak about how much he loves the Victorian era of writing, as well as putting together every facet of Crimson Peak, you can tell that this man loves what he's doing. He was even up front with everyone in the room, as he laid out his main tenant of genre film-making:
I happen to be a filmmaker that is not post modern. I'm not ironic, I'm completely high on my own supply. Everything I do, I do with passion, and earnestly.
While he tackles genres that are off the beaten path, and certainly off the path of your typical high brow Academy voters, Guillermo del Toro approaches his films with the intensity, and the verisimilitude, that a director that tackles historical epics would similarly employ. Crimson Peak is probably the most grounded film he's tackled, despite the presence of ghostly apparitions throughout. It's a true treat to experience first hand, and you'll get the chance to do just that when the film opens this Friday. Stay tuned to Cinema Blend for more of our Crimson Peak coverage throughout the week.