Crimson Peak Explained- Your Past Always Catches Up With You
Guillermo del Toro’s frothy horror delight Crimson Peak is like all his other works. Heavily allegorical, brilliantly acted, and stunningly beautiful. The stylish horror film pits abhorrent self-interest and pure, innocent love against one another. The ghosts of the past continuously plague the present when warped love is left unchecked. Featuring a classic twisted love story and a gothic ghost story Crimson Peak is a feast for the eyes and salve to the soul. Sometimes the good guys win. You can’t outrun the skeletons in your closet forever.
English baronet Thomas Sharpe(Tom Hiddleston) and his sister Lucille(Jessica Chastain) have arrived at Carter Cushing’s office to ask him to invest in Thomas’s invention. Carter is a shrewd businessman and doting father to Edith(Mia Wasikowska). Thomas, a bit of a tinkerer, has designed a way to mine the unique soil surrounding his ancestral home and create bricks for building. He claims the bricks are stronger than standard building materials. Edith’s father rightly suspects that the pair are charlatans and that Thomas is interested in his daughter. Thomas would like to marry Edith to get his hands on her fortune. Carter tried to pay off the Sharpes, and they agreed to the payoff, but the following day, a figure dressed in black brutally killed him in the club bathroom.
Although we never see who killed Carter, it looks like Thomas, but it turns out to be Lucille. Not realizing any of this, Edith agrees to marry Thomas, and the pair travel to his home in Cumberland, England. Allerdale Hall is a decrepit place that is falling down around the siblings. It is full of holes and ghosts. As Edith tries to become acclimated, the many ghosts of the massive house come to her. Little by little, Edith begins to realize that the spirits aren’t haunting her, they are trying to tell her something, and she has far more to fear from the humans who call Allerdale Hall home. Here is everything you need to know about the chilling ending of Crimson Peak.
Does the dog die in Crimson Peak?
We never see the dog die. It happens off-camera, but Lucille kicks the dog behind her skirts, and we are assuming she then stomps the little dog to a pulp. No one ever sees the tiny dog again, either in ghost form or as a physical presence, and Edith and Dr. McMichael leave without the dog at the end.
Who are the ghosts that haunt Edith?
Hardly before she has even unpacked her small case, Edith begins seeing ghosts and hearing strange noises. They are gooey, wet creations of blood, bones, and wispy black smoke. The ghosts who haunt Edith, although terrifying, are actually trying to help her. They are all of Thomas’s dead wives and the Sharpe’s deceased mother. The dirt surrounding Crimson Peak that is bright red, hence the nickname, is contaminated by the blood of all of the dead women the siblings had poisoned and then left to rot in the vats in the basement.
Lucille killed Carter Cushing, four wives, her mother, the dog, Thomas, and potentially others. Lucille is a monster. There is no getting around the fact that the gorgeous brunette is a sociopathic murderer. As bad as killing all the women was when she killed Edith’s dog that was the last straw. She doesn’t care who she kills or how many, just that their death benefits her. When Lucille is talking way too much to Lucille after stabbing Dr. McMichael in the final act, she cuts and braids a lock of Edith’s hair. She places this braid in a case with four others.
Assuming there are not more drawers full of hair, she has killed at least four wives, her mother, the dog, and attempted to kill Edith and Dr. McMichael.Those ghosts try to warn Edith about the Sharpes because she can see ghosts. A scene at the beginning of the film hints that she has sensed them since childhood. The final ghosts we see are that of Edith and Thomas forever stuck in their childhood home.
What happens at the end of Crimson Peak?
Nearly three-quarters into the film, Edith steals a key from Lucille’s keyring and finds large vats in the basements full of a red viscous substance and, as we saw, containing at least one decomposing body. We can assume all of the vats hold at least one body. Later that night, she listens to a recording of the Sharpe’s mother, who warns of being poisoned. Panicking, Edith tries to run away but only succeeds in nearly freezing to death in a blizzard. Lucille and Thomas carry her back to bed, and Lucille feeds her more poison. Lucille ominously tells Edith she won’t be in bed long. Leaving the room, the siblings argue about Edith because Thomas has fallen in love with her.
Later that evening, Edith finds Lucille and Thomas locked in an embrace and half-naked. Edith runs out of the room, and Lucille catches her and throws her from the second story onto the floor below. Ironically, Lucille tells a story a short time later about their father, who supposedly broke their mother’s leg in another not so freak accident.
Edith’s friend Dr. McMichael had traveled to Allerdale fearing for his friend and finds her too weak to stand. In the larger expository scene, we learn Lucille bashed her mother’s head in while in the same bathtub Edith has been using but was never punished. Thomas, who was only twelve, went to a boarding school while she was placed in a mental institution. Dr. McMichael tries to leave with Edith, but Lucille stabs him and makes Thomas finish the job. Thomas gives him a nonfatal stab and takes him down to the basement to escape.
Meanwhile, Lucille tries to explain that the monstrous love she and Thomas share created monsters of them both. Their mother beat Lucille regularly. That abuse and probably some serious genetic, mental instability caused her and Thomas to form an unhealthy bond. Their insidious love affair led them both to kill multiple people for their money and to conceal their relationship. When Thomas confesses his love for Edith, Lucille snaps and stabs him to death.
Enraged by his death, Lucille chases Edith through the house. The two end up outside in the snow next to Thomas’s mining machine. His spirit appears behind Lucille in a pivotal moment, and Edith tells Lucille someone is there to help her. When Lucille turns around, she sees her brother and is distracted. Edith kills her with a shovel, and she and Dr. McMichael walk away from the house.
Lucille saw the ghost of her brother because he is the one person she loved. Albeit it was a repulsive, destructive love, but as close as she was ever going to get. All of the other ghosts who lived in Allerdale were powerless to affect her because she didn’t care about any of them. Thomas was the single ghost who could help because he is the only person Lucille killed that she feels guilty about and cared for.
The central themes of loss, regret, and madness are perfectly captured in this clever ghost story. Apparitions are just symbols from the past infecting our present and future. Too many years of violence and abuse tainted the siblings that called Allerdale Hall home and the very ground it stood on. Over time that evil spread and claimed almost every person who entered. Luckily, one true moment of love and sacrifice allowed Edith to escape.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.