There was always something that fascinated me about Stephen King’s Rose Red. Perhaps it was the fact that King wrote it, or maybe it was because the story was about a haunted house, maybe it’s because it dealt with paranormal investigation or because it was the first TV miniseries that I watched live. It was actually neither. The main reason why I loved Rose Red so much is because it’s about an evil house; it wasn’t haunted or possessed by demons but just a wicked house. It was Christine in house form and I think that’s what attracted me. Up until then, I only knew about houses with ghosts but then Rose Red came along and changed my view on haunting as well as spirits.
Throughout the film, Joyce tells us (via voiceover) that houses are alive, which is a trait that we often associate with houses when we hear them creak and groan. Rose Red personifies the house and literally turns it alive. She tells us that Rose Red was born evil, that it wasn’t the ground it was on or the area it was built it… it was just simply evil and that it feeds off of the people who come in. She tells us that it breathes, it feels, it hears and it grows on the inside but not on the outside. It’s a frightening aspect that always made me think about Monster House. We hear Rose Red change and groan as the show progresses and we see it manifests it’s evil into living forms.
This leads me right to my next observation. As I stated, this film is not a haunted house movie and the things in this house are not demons or ghosts per say but rather manifestations. Rose Red is an empathic vampire (a type of vampire known throughout King’s world) that feeds off of the emotions and feelings of its guests. When the psychics visit it uses their energy to bring itself out of a sleep. The ‘ghosts’ in this movie appropriately look like rotting, vampire corpses and considering the house is a vampire… I’d say it fits. This was always an aspect that scared me because of the way they look and the fact that they aren’t spirits but rather living forms of evil. They torment and torture the guests to the breaking point and turn them into capacitors for the house to drain. By this point, the house is literally alive
Finally, the one thing that separates Rose Red from typical haunted houses is that it continues to grow on the inside but doesn’t change physically on the outside. Most haunted houses play with its victims giving them the illusion that they are going around in circles or walking through a maze. This house literally turns it’s rooms into mazes, shifts it’s rooms and creates never ending stairwells and hallways. It enhances the idea that the house is alive and psychotic. Anyone who has been in a large house would know that getting lost in one is pretty scary when your alone and it’s dark; imagine being in a large house that changes rooms on you. It’s frightening.
I guess you can say that houses are alive. We make our houses part of our life and part of our family and the house usually reflects on the people who occupy it. There is something about houses that make them seem anthropomorphic so I guess in a sense… houses do have spirits in them.