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A Strongly Worded Letter to Universal's Marketing Department on the Subject of 'Crimson Peak'

By Rebecca Pahle | Miscellaneous | October 19, 2015 |

By Rebecca Pahle | Miscellaneous | October 19, 2015 |

Hey, Universal. What’s up? You’ve had a really good year so far with Jurassic World, Straight Outta Compton, Pitch Perfect 2, Trainwreck and Furious 7, but if you could take a second away from Scrooge McDucking into a swimming pool full of money, I’d really appreciate it.

What the diddly dipping shit is wrong with you?

Did Guillermo del Toro kick your dog?

You had a really good movie out this week, Universal. It’s called Crimson Peak, and it flopped, because you suck. You took a Gothic romance and made trailers for it that presented it as a generic horror film, and then you stand there all Kevin McAllister-in-Home-Alone-face when people go to a movie that they reasonably expect to be scary… and it’s not scary.

Practically all the scary bits are in this trailer. And you know why? Crimson Peak was never supposed to be scary. Creepy, yes. Atmospheric, yes. Mysterious, yes. Scary, no. It’s an R-rated Jane Eyre with a few ghosts and Tom Hiddleston’s ass. Even the ghosts aren’t particularly shivers-inducing. As Dustin (You know Dustin, right? Cool guy, weirdly obsessed with Ryan Reynolds’ abs) noted in his review, for all that Crimson Peak is a gorgeous film, it’s also quite predictable, and we can guess from the very first scene where there is a ghost that [Spoiler if you haven’t seen your own movie, which I normally wouldn’t think is a possibility but who the fuck knows in this case?] they don’t mean Edith any harm; they’re mostly there to warn her about shit and be ooky window dressing.

Look, I get that the audience for “R-rated Gothic romance” is a lot smaller than the one for “horror movie with ghosts! Scary!” And I get wanting the largest amount of people to be interested in your movie prior to its release. And I get that Crimson Peak must be particuarly hard to market given most fans of costume dramas aren’t used to gory scenes where the main character’s soft-hearted curmudgeon father gets his head smashed against a sink until his skull literally cracks. Emma excepted, of course. But when people go in expecting a horror movie and are instead are presented with a first half-hour that’s straight out of Bronte, a lot of them are going to be disappointed! And your reviews might suck and word of mouth will be bad, and no one wins except the dark shaman whose purpose in life it apparently is to keep Guillermo del Toro from making things!

There’s an audience out there for Crimson Peak. It’s a smaller one than you, Universal, would maybe like, but it is there. And if you weren’t willing or able to market the movie to them, then why in the sweet frisky heck did you agree to release Crimson Peak in the first place? As it stands, a lot of people who wanted horror were disappointed, and some people who do like Gothic horror and Rebecca and all manner of Bronte shit didn’t even know that Crimson Peak fell into that genre. Because you know what, Universal?

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And you have no one but yourself to blame.