Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rose Red: A Different Kind of Haunted House

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.


Pax Romano said...

I've never been ever able to make it through this movie as it always seems to be on SyFy which seems to show five minutes of programing and then follows it up with ten minutes of commercials. But from what I have seen, it appears that King might have been inspired by Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House" as well as the infamous Winchester house. Some day, I'll get to see this all the way through and have a more informed opinion!

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

I also read that he was inspired by Marston House as well. So it would appear that he really touched base with the haunted house realms.

girl who is_Obsesed with this S#*t said...

This is an amazing movie more like a novel on screen. this a loose adaptation of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, King had said before that she is an insperation to him. if not for the remake of The Haunting in 1999 we would not have Rose Red but the best Hill House remake in history unfortunately the right to the story were too expensive ( because of the 99 adaptation) so king made enough changes to his so no one would be sued.

Anonymous said...

iI am trying to do research for an idea I have for a photography project along these same lines where I'm trying to personify homes. does anyone have any ideas of what I would look up for research about psychology for this? I'm looking and can't seem to find what I'm looking for besides this.

Anonymous said...

I never understood this story. Where the people who vanished zombies or vampires...?

Anonymous said...

I watched maybe the first half. Freaky! I actually thought it was an original movie that was SUPER long. :) Apparently, it was a TV show. Huh. Anyways, so far it is good. Also, if you look on Amazon and search Rose Red, the DVD is about $75! My dad got a copy for like $6 on amazon. Does anyone know why it is so extremely expensive?

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