Friday, October 16, 2015

Conan Doyle spoiled "Crimson Peak" for me!

A Sherlockian could do a lot worse than see the gothic ghost story Crimson Peak, which hit theaters this weekend.

It features the actor wishfully rumored to one day play the third Holmes brother in Sherlock, Tom Hiddlestone. It's main character has the last name of Cushing, which evokes both Holmes and horror. And there's even a mention of Conan Doyle early on in the film for both his detective tales and his opthamology -- though interestingly not his spiritualism.

Crimson Peak is a beautiful homage to all things gothic and horrible, and therein lies it's main flaw . . . it's hard to be surprised by something so familiar. In fact, the mention of Conan Doyle's name early on put me in mind of his works and had me thinking about a certain tale which, while not copied entirely in Crimson Peak, has an aspect that plays out in the plot.

Of course, if you're doing a full-on old-style gothic, certain familiar things are bound to happen.

"Don't go in this part of the house," for example, always means there's someone or something or both in that part of the sprawling manor house.

"Oh, you just were having a nightmare!" means somebody saw something that nobody wants to think about.

And "We've lived here all our lives!" means . . . well, never anything good.

The world of Crimson Peaks is a world in which Conan Doyle lived, but Sherlock Holmes never could. "No ghosts need apply," and all that. Holmes was a ghost-atheist, so to speak, if ever there was one, and in his world, there was always a rational explanation if you were just rational enough to find it . . . which Holmes was. Still, if you want to be swept away to a time and a place that will make you think Holmes could have been perfectly at home there, debunking ghosts, it's not bad.

Just don't expect to be too surprised by anything. You're a Sherlockian, after all.

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