Archive | Romantic Suspense RSS feed for this section

Crimson Peak: More Bloody Than a Tampon–And I Relished it

18 Feb
Got a sinister hero? Then you've got my interest.

Got a sinister hero? Then you’ve got my interest.

by Madeline Iva

I was attracted to the preview for Crimson Peak, and even more attracted to Tom Hiddleston, who stars in it. Yet I couldn’t tell from the preview if the movie was a horror film or romantic suspense.  Not loving horror films, I waited to watch it on video where I could fast forward through the scream-y parts if need be.

I shouldn’t have worried. Crimson Peak is a Gothic Romantic Suspense movie—capital G, emphasis on the ick.

Gothic? Horror? Gothic-horror? What’s the difference, you’re wondering. Some say it’s not horror if there’s no blood splatter on the wall. Oh, Crimson Peak has blood splatter a-plenty. Not just on the walls, but also the carpet, the snow, the clothes, the skin. Never since Carrie has a movie audience been so drenched in red dyed corn-syrup.

But a Gothic sensibility is all about the build up. We revel in the hints of secrets, and spend a lot of suspenseful time wondering what—what chilling secret could be in the creepy investigator’s file? In the locked rooms of the ancient hall, in the gooey red brick pits in the basement, in the locked luggage next to the gooey pits…

We’re looking for twisted hidden secrets. We want them revealed and brought out into the light of day–or at least twilight if that’s all there is to be had in the gloomy climate of Northern England. The dangerous horror part is only a small component of the whole.  We’re much more involved in the building psychological strain and suspense. (What could it beeeeee in that bedroom?)

Excellent Gothic stories always ends with a goodly amount of implosion. We want the mansion destroyed by fire, we want the mad-woman jumping off the roof–only to drown in the pond.  We want the carriage plunging over a cliff. (Bonus points for managing such a feat without harming the horses.)

In this way, CRIMSON PEAK is most definitely a gothic movie. I was worried about horror elements, when in fact (SPOILER ALERT!)

what we have here is merely……really ugly ghosts, trying to deliver helpful messages.

What the movie doesn’t deliver in horror, it delivers in gothic architecture and gowns. Is there any better satisfaction for the Gothic enthusiast than a once-gorgeous house pocked with decay like swiss cheese? Better yet is the house that delivers some weird and extravagant folly. Fluttering moths on the walls? Check.  Mine shaft in the basement? Check. (Yes, I’m not kidding, there really is!)

HouseCrimson Peak’s also got gothic quatrafoil bannisters, fan vault trim, and oculus glass up the wazoo. Spindle carvings drips from beamed ceilings panels, and gingerbread sprawls across the stairwells. It’s like being in heaven for those who know they really belong in hell.

Gowns billow in haunted breezes, Nightgowns hug the neck like a confining clasp of a strangler.  Robes of silk outline heaving breasts, and glorious hip length locks run in a dark river across the neck and down the ribs. Do I sound orgasmic? I was. I still am, a little.

TomTom Hiddleston is the anti-hero who stands in the center of all this wanton glory. Is there any better man to play a twisted romantic hero? I think not.

Tom…Tom…let me count the ways.

His intelligent sensitivity, his understated sensuality…his ice blue eyes that nevertheless melt with innate sympathy, yet tragic acceptance that no…there’s no help for you.

I get ovary spasms just from listening to the way he explains what Gothic romance is on Charlie Rose and how repressed sexuality bursts forth in ghosts, mayhem and horror —

Jessica Chastain, meanwhile, plays his evil sister in a repressed matronly way worthy of Mrs. Danvers (The nasty housekeeper in REBECCA). We’re not quite so interested in her while Tom is on screen–how could we be?  But at the same time, yeah, she’s workin it.

Frankly, I would have been just as happy if they decided to change the tale to that of a twisted incestuous couple who rid themselves of the shallow American heiress so they can live in lecherous macabre delight—an alternative HEA. (What’s that I hear?—It’s the sound of a thousand fan fiction posts launching on Wattpad.)

JessicaBut Crimson Peak is not a perfect movie for us Gothic fans. Alas, there are bad American accents, cheesy overdone bloody effects.  I like over the top as the much as anybody, and didn’t mind the costumes and sets (who doesn’t like a mind shaft in a basement? Or leaves and snow falling gently through the gaping hole in the ceiling?) But the blood-like clay seeping from the walls? Okay…a leetle bit over done. Actually WAY overdone. Why Guillermo? Why? The writer/director crossed the line a few times, and in doing so seemed to aim his movie towards a less refined audience. Sad.

However I respect any movie in which two women, heroine and villainess, battle it out at the end. I warn those of you who couldn’t hack the Psycho shower scene to quickly avert your eyes during their epic throw down. Talk about death by a thousand cuts—and in billowing bloodstained nightgowns!

Back to our Gothic Rules of Attraction. I like it that the heroine loves the bad guy, Tom Hiddleston (again a favorite trope) even after she discovers his dark secrets. Does he loves her? Agh! We sit and wonder. And! If he does love her–can they get out of that house alive together before it tumbles down and sinks into the oozing clay, a la The House of Usher?*Gown

That’s the question that kept me going all the way through the gory ending.

Alas, this movie was a little watered down for my taste. A little more lowbrow than it needed to be. I liked chewing on parts of it, but the best of gothic suspense tradition is not about hack and slash, it’s all about the revealing twitch of an eyebrow, the moment the locked door creaks open and our heroine will never again be innocent again.

*I’ve always wanted to own a house that comes with a black tarn.

Thanks for tuning in, readers! And follow us at Lady Smut, where we devote ourselves to bringing you shivery, sexy fun.

Madeline Ivaimgres writes fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance.  Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, and her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, will be out Spring, 2016.

Sweaty Dirty Fun: Avery Flynn’s Treasure Hunting Erotica PASSION CREEK

2 May
PassionLady Smut put five questions to Avery Flynn, author of PASSION CREEK. Flynn was praised for “totally erotic hot scenes” by one reviewer.  Here’s a blurb:
 
Uptight history professor Sam Layton may have the abs of a movie action hero, but he stopped believing in the joy of adventure a long time ago. However, when a one-night stand with a tattooed bombshell leads to a treasure map for the long-buried Rebecca’s Bounty, the call to action is too strong to ignore.
All Las Vegas cocktail waitress Josie Winarsky wants to do is paint. But when she lands smack dab in the middle in a mob plot, she has to push aside her dreams to find a treasure in Dry Creek, Nebraska and save her family from harm. With Sam at her side and a Vegas loan shark on her tail, the treasure she finds turn out to be much more valuable than emeralds and rubies.
 

SeductionMADELINE IVA: I’m always drawn to erotic romance authors who like including mucho hot sex, but also a solid plot.  Are you the same way as well? Tell us about the plot of Passion Creek?

AVERY FLYNN: Oh yes, every book needs a plot. For Passion Creek the plot centers around a treasure that has been missing for more than a hundred years. Even though Sam doesn’t want to work with Josie they end up going on a treasure hunt together.
 
MADELINE IVA: One of your books stars a Hot Nerdy Guy – I LOVE hot nerdy guys!!!! What do you think is the appeal of a hot geek?
 
AVERY FLYNN: Smart is sexy. Oh my God, is smart sexy. 🙂 Add a great butt and you’ve got my favorite type of hero.

TemptationMADELINE IVA: Did you face struggles on your road to publication?

AVERY FLYNN: It did involve a couple of nights of crying into my beer. 🙂 I’ve always wanted to be a writer. The first stories I wrote were about my stuffed animals. These were not romance (thank God). My love of romance wouldn’t come until years later when I discovered Johanna Lindsey’s Mallery family. Temptation Creek was the first book I ever wrote. Evernight took a real risk on a new author who mixed in smartass with suspense and a whole lot of steam.
 
MADELINE IVA: Tell us a little more about Evernight Publishing.
 
AVERY FLYNN: Evernight is open to authors who want to take risks and mix genres, which is so much fun.
 

JackMADELINE IVA:  I love humor in romance myself, and I’m always scanning the horizon for funny erotic romance authors.  Who’s out there writing the smexy that makes you laugh?

AVERY FLYNN:  One of my favorite funny authors is Dakota Cassidy. She is hysterical. My favorite erotica author is Maya Banks. Damn is she hot.
 
–Thanks so much for having me over. It has been a blast!
 
MADELINE IVA: My pleasure!
 
You can find Avery and her books at any of these links: WebTwitterFacebookWaterworld MermaidsThe Naked Hero Temptation Creek,  Seduction Creek & Passion Creek
 
%d bloggers like this: