Book Review: Crimson Peak: The Art Of Darkness
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Crimson Peak: The Art Of Darkness
Written by Mark Salisbury
Foreword by Guillermo del Toro
Insight Editions
Release date: October 13, 2015

Cracking open the pages of Crimson Peak: The Art Of Darkness for the first time yields the same type of eerie creaking sounds heard throughout much of Guillermo del Toro’s latest feature film, Crimson Peak, providing the perfect introduction to this art book. Contained within this 160-page full-color hardcover tome are details behind the filmmaker’s gothic romance, starring Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, with sections on the attributes of each character and their extensive biographies hinted at but not disclosed in the film. There’s also behind-the-scenes information on the casting, costumes, and motivations of these characters, for the story taking place in late 18th century in northeastern America (Buffalo, NY), and Northern England.

Del Toro provides the Foreword for the book; he’s the kind of filmmaker who has his hand in every single aspect of the projects he takes on, including the script and art direction. His films are always a sight to behold, and Crimson Peak is no different. Just how much del Toro is involved is evidences in this book, that contains a lot of his notes and sketches.

While this is very much an art book, with plenty of concept art, sketches, photography, and more, there’s also a lot of text, written by Mark Salisbury, that really gets into del Toro’s mind, as well as those of the actors, who all had to dig deep for these roles.

At first glance, Crimson Peak seems like a horror story. There’s darkness and danger; there’s an old, dilapidated mansion with bubbling blood-like red clay creeping up through the floor; there’s murderous villains, and there’s ghosts. But, it’s not a modern-day horror, but rather it follows more the atmospheric gothic stories of Jane Austen and the like. With The Art Of Darkness, we find out exactly what del Toro had in mind for this tale, and how he brought the ghosts to life, as well as had the mansion become of a character itself.

The Art Of Darkness provides a lot of information on the making-of the film, and as an added bonus, includes pull-outs with the biographies, histories, sketchbooks, letters, memorabilia, and more. Unlike other art books with such features, this one has a large envelope in the back in which the aforementioned pull-out material can then be housed; there’s also a fold-out film poster featuring Mia Wasikowska in this envelope. My only complaint is that on just a few pages, I found the type difficult to read, especially on the one page that had white text set against a very light wallpaper design background. Also, although there was a small section about the wedding dress Wasikowska’s character Edith wore, I was disappointed that there were no photos it.

I loved the film, and devoured this art book in one sitting, reading every word, and pouring over the photos and other items within. If you enjoyed Crimson Peak, and you love going into the mind of Guillermo del Toro (which, if you are a fan of his films, then you know what a treat that is), then Crimson Peak: The Art Of Darkness will certainly be a treasure.

Presented by Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures, Crimson Peak launches in October 2015. This deluxe book explores Guillermo del Toro’s breathtaking supernatural mystery in unparalleled detail, from the creation of its sumptuous sets and costumes to the dark themes interwoven into its story and stunning visuals.

A powerful blend of psychological thriller, gothic horror, and seductive romance, Crimson Peak sees del Toro return to the genre he helped define.

Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness chronicles the creative journey behind the film. Featuring interviews with the director and key crew members, the book examines the themes at the heart of Crimson Peak and shows how these motifs are woven into every frame.

Bringing del Toro’s imagination to life, the book also features a number of special removable items, including authentic period letters from key characters, daguerreotype photographs, newspaper clippings, journal pages, and more. In keeping with the mysterious and thrilling nature of the film, Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness houses many secrets, all waiting to be discovered.

Featuring a broad range of spectacular concept art, storyboards, unit photography, and other visuals, this book is an unforgettable exploration of one of 2015’s most eagerly anticipated movies.

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