Sunday, October 18, 2015

Enola & 4th Dimension Illustrations: Crimson Peak

This may seem hypocritical of me, and if it does, it does, however, I do stand by what I am about to write. Have you ever been talking to someone and they quoted someone but tried to pass it off as their own thought? That is basically the difference between Pan, which we just saw last week and plagiarized nearly its entire film, and Crimson Peak. IF I didn't like Crimson Peak, I could make the argument that Guillermo del Toro (GDT hereafter) was copying the narratives of Notorious, The Innocents, The Shining, The Exorcist, etc., but because I like GDT, I instead say that he is "referencing the film" or quoting them, employing Reader Response theory, but never plagiarizing these other stories; Pan, because I don't like it, is a mindless copycat who doesn't have any original ideas of their own. In my defense, and to substantiate what I truly know and believe to be a legitimate position, I would like to draw your attention to the quote from William Butler Yeats at the top of this blog: "Supreme art is a traditional statement of certain heroic and religious truth, passed on from age to age, modified by individual genius, but never abandoned." Pan did not advocate heroic qualities, but cowardice and lying; it did not support the virtues traditionally held by Americans, such as intelligence and literacy, but instead, perverted heroes and classic films to its own non-traditional theories, and tried to pass it off as core American values; this is known as indoctrination. GDT, on the other hand, supports those values and morals which the Western world has upheld for more than a hundred years, and in the films and history he incorporates into the film, it's clear that he not only understands and accepts the lessons of the past, but possess the individual genius to modify works of  "supreme art" before him to remind us of how those values are still important today and a part of who we are, which is why you can either watch the film without any knowledge of any other films or the historical record and enjoy it, or have total knowledge of the horror genre and history and marvel at its incredible articulation of the modern threats facing the world today as depicted in the struggle of Edith Cushing.  
(PLEASE NOTE: I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE, HOWEVER, I STILL HAVE CONSIDERABLE COMMENTARY TO ADD TO MANY OF THE IMAGES BELOW AND WILL GET TO THAT WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS, BUT I WANTED TO GET UP WHAT I HAD DONE). Great directors and film makers want to communicate with their audiences, which is why they make films: it's the art form which reaches the greatest number of people. When a director is desperate, even really desperate, for audiences to interpret their work and enter into the narrative, they "drop clues," even decoding some of the symbols and metaphors for the audience in hopes they will "take the hint" and interpret aspects of the film on their own; Guillermo del Toro (GDT hereafter) does that for us in Crimson Peak, even on a massive scale and, besides making this horror film frightening, it makes it clever and brimming over with smarts; NOTE this does have spoilers, so if you enjoy a good scare, as always, go see the film (which has received a 5-star rating) and come back later. Another note: if you have seen the film, and you notice I have missed something, be not surprised, good reader, the film is loaded with symbols and I have only seen it once. It doesn't mean that your interpretation isn't valid, just that i didn't catch it.
Now,on with the show,....
After Edith has arrived at Allerdale Hall, Lucille shows her the library and the rarer books they have collected, including one with, what she calls, a "fourth dimensional illustration": showing Edith the edge of the pages, turned slightly, they reveal some Asian erotica. There are three important cultural references which themselves act as "Fourth dimensional illustrations" to the film's narrative that GDT shows us, like Lucille showing Edith the erotica: Arthur Conan Doyle, Notorious, and Enola. Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) has just set up his medical office and Edith visits him there, noticing the books on his shelves are mostly medical, and then there is also Arthur Conan Doyle among the books; why, she asks? Besides also being entertaining, the creator of Sherlock Holmes was also an Ophthalmologist like McMichael. Like Sherlock Holmes, we, too, are supposed to be looking for clues throughout the film, just as McMichael does to the real identity of Lord and Lady Sharpe. Their real identity, if we are looking, is revealed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Just as GDT introduces Sherlock Holmes into the narrative, inviting us to behave like Holmes and look for clues ourselves, the images McMichael shows Edith with ghosts is a clue that there are more ghosts than just the ones we will actually see in the film. Please take note of the slide machine in this scene: McMichael knows how to use the machine appropriately, for the advancement of knowledge and study. In the next scene, we will see Edith typing on a typewriter, not to make her manuscript look more professional, rather, to hide her feminine writing, and that is an abuse of the machine (more on this discussion with Thomas and his mining machine and Lucille and her piano below). Hair is an important symbol is this film, for the moment, please note that McMichael and Edith have the same, light-colored hair, as Thomas and Lucille have the same dark-colored hair. What about Edith's gowns, with those tight sleeves and billowing shoulders as the one above? Arms symbolize strength whereas shoulders indicate the burdens we bear. Beginning on the night of her mother's death, Edith carries a burden of not having a mother; in the scene above, she still carries that burden, but it's multiplied with the dire warning about Crimson Peak, which is why she has the opulent shoulders on her outfits, they express what Edith will not discuss with anyone. Her tight sleeves, however, reveal how small and lacking muscle she is, but it also hides the true strength she does posses to defend herself.  
In 1946, Alfred Hitchcock released Notorious starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains. The film's plot involves Bergman being sent by US government agent Grant to infiltrate his Nazi father's group of friends led by Rains who are all still active in trying to bring down the US (which is one of the famous, opening lines of all films, Bergman's father ranting about "Next time" the Nazis will win). What on earth does this have to do with Crimson Peak?
Everything.
This is the second most important image of the film (even though it's not actually in the film). The wings we see on McMichael invokes him to be like the archangel Michael, whose name in Hebrew means, "Who can compare to God?" Towards the end of the film, after Edith discovers Thomas and Lucille's incest, and Edith falls backwards, over the stair railway, McMichael arrives at the house, rather like Dick Hallorunn in The Shining (which GDT wants to invoke). Even Lucille says it's a miracle that he has arrived because Edith has broken her leg and McMichael has to set it (Lucille obviously doesn't want McMichael there, however, she's putting on a front). McMichael's character, then, is a symbol of the Hand of God or even the Wrath of God (please note his fists in a clenched, fighting position in this poster). Lucille tells Edith how Mr. Sharpe snapped the leg of their mother in two and Lucille nursed her back to health; McMichael, we know, set Edith's leg so she could get out of the house. Legs symbolize our standing in society, and with Mrs. Sharpe's leg broken, that means that, in the socialist-style household of the Sharpes' which feminists think is a safe haven for women, women are actually put down and abused, whereas women are given a new standing when they trust in God. McMichael, in setting Edith's leg, demonstrates that he has forgiven her of choosing Thomas over himself, and wants her to be truly free and truly independent, an argument which most feminists can't stomach in the modern world. 
GDT's employment of two aspects of Hitchcock's film are meant to invoke Notorious in the minds of audience members (Reader Response Theory): Edith's tea being poisoned and the key Edith takes from Lucille's key ring that has Enola's name on it, then puts it back on the ring. Both of these events happen in Notorious, and Bergman's character having the stolen key to the basement wine cellar, where they discover the Nazis have been transporting uranium ore to make a bomb, then being poisoned to get rid of her, is meant to align both Lucille and Thomas with, yes, you guess it: the Nazis. BUT, there is another, even more significant clue of who Lord and Lady Sharpe really are, and that is Enola.
This is the first shot we see of Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain) as she plays the piano at a party. There are three important details about her costume: first, it's red, second, the opening at the back of the dress, and thirdly, the sleeves which cover her hands. First, we know that the color red symbolizes blood: either a person loves someone enough to spill their own (red) blood for love of that person, or someone hates someone enough to spill that person's (red) blood to appease their own wrath and anger against them. We know that Lucille and Thomas symbolize socialism because they manage to make Edith completely dependent upon them with no resources of Edith's own to take care of herself. Red is also the international color of socialism (socialists like to think it's because they are angry with the established business owners and upper-classes, but it's really because of their commitment to killing anyone who stands in their way). This red dress, then, connects Lucille to Crimson Peak but the back of the dress also reveals something Lucille would rather keep hidden: her sexuality. The gaping folds of the cloth resemble a vagina, and just as one would never expose one's sexual organs in public, so one would never commit incest (unless one were insane). The sleeves of Lucille's dress are also interesting: when she's done playing the piano in this scene, she turns the cuffs down to cover her hands again. Hands usually symbolize our nobility, our word of honor because we use a handshake to assure others that we are going to stick by our word; when a person has "dirty hands" or hands they cover, it usually indicates they have done a "dirty deed," or something dishonorable they don't want anyone to discover, like Lucille prostituting her brother-lover to rich young women. (Notes on Lucille playing the piano are below).
The moment (most) Americans hear the name "Enola," there is one and only one Enola they think of: the Enola Gay, the B-29 airplane which dropped the "Little Boy" atomic bomb on Hiroshima and helped to finally end World War II (after Nagasaki as well). The plane was named after the pilot's mother. Why on earth should we connect the World War II bomber plane with the ghost of a Victorian horror film? Because, like the trunk marked E.S. that is locked away in the basement and forbidden, so is the real history of World War II and what we were fighting for and against and why the Allies won. Like the erotica Lucille shows to Edith, these three clues--Arthur Conan Doyle, Notorious and Enola--are prompts to investigate what is really going on beneath the surface, just like Edith taking the iron bar and mixing up the blood red liquid in the basement vat that yields a skeleton. Now, we are in a position to discuss the ghosts.
The house. Allerdale Hall is itself an institution, as old as it is and as many souls have come and gone from beneath its roof. Think of the house in Freudian terms: the attic as the super-ego, the main floors as the ego and the basement as the id. The staircase, then, along with the elevator (discussed in more details below) are the means of consciously and unconsciously moving between those levels or the mind, heart and soul. When characters ascend the stairs, they are entering a higher-level or state of consciousness; when they descend, they are going deeper into the unconscious or sub-conscious, the lower, more animal self and appetites, the part of us we repress and don't want anyone to know about. "Never go below this level," Thomas tells Edith, because it's dangerous, and the house is sinking, i.e., the whole house is becoming base and animalistic. Later in the film, when Lucille pushes Edith over the banister and she falls to the main level, landing back first on the banister and breaking her leg as McMichael knocks anxiously on the door, the sudden drop from a higher level (where she saw Thomas and Lucille sexually active with one another) is Edith's ability to correlate violently the two levels: the higher level that has suddenly realized what is really going on, and the appearance (the main level) of them being siblings. 
"Ghosts are real, this much I know," the first sentence of the film opens, and we learn that Edith's mother has just passed away from "black cholera," and, therefore, Edith's father wanted a closed casket; (PLEASE NOTE: when Edith takes her manuscript to be considered for publication, she tells her critic that the ghost doesn't make it a horror story, the "ghost is a metaphor for the past," which is GDT telling us, the audience, that the ghosts in the film are also metaphors for the past, and we have to figure out which part of the past they represent); then Mrs. Cushing came to see Edith the night of her burial, and told her, "Beware the Crimson Peak." Now, before we get to the obvious question of why didn't Mrs. Cushing say, "Beware Allerdale Hall," "Beware Thomas Sharpe," "Beware the smoldering, dark looks of romantic barons," etc., THE most important detail in understanding her mother's death is "black cholera," because, quite frankly, it should never have happened.
This is imperative: even as Edith mourns her mother's death, and not getting to say good-bye, or have a last kiss farewell, Edith is terrified by her mother's ghost (and she does know it is her mother). Why? Distress over what the black cholera has done to her mother, and the foreboding her mother gives her: is her mother cursing her or protecting her? The ghost coming down the hallway, as one of the women's ghost crawls up out of the floor at Allerdale Hall, signifies a connection, because hallways connect different parts of a house. Edith, in this scene, is too young to make any "connections," and even when she has arrived at Allerdale, she doesn't make the connection to her mother's ghost until Thomas casually mentions the coming winter and snow. 
"Black cholera," the culprit which killed Mrs. Cushing, is caused by sewage-contaminated drinking water, a regrettable disease which effected more people in poorer, rural communities where safety was not considered, rather than the wealthy, upper-classes of cities like Buffalo where the Cushings reside. "Black cholera" is so named because the symptoms are more misleading, but just as violent as regular cholera, however, the body turns black as the person dies, which is why, as in the image above, Mrs. Cushing appears to little Edith as a black ghost. Why is this detail important? Because Mrs. Cushing must have gotten the painful disease from contaminated water; where else is there contaminated water in the film? Crimson Peak, when, as Thomas explains to Edith, the water runs red because of the clay, but then it clears. So, let's talk about the role of water in the film.
One of the last shots of the film, it's Lucille's ghost, still playing the piano, and she's as black as Mrs. Cushing's ghost who died of black cholera; Thomas, in contrast, is much paler; so why the difference? Lucille has black cholera of the soul, whereas Thomas used his free will to cure himself of his terrible impulses to use others. The first scene of Lucille and the last scene of Lucille is her at the piano; why? Lucille plays everyone just as she plays the piano, knowing what to say in order to hit the right notes, so to speak, as when Thomas asks her why they can't stop and if they have to go through with killing Edith. Thomas, likewise, treats everyone like a toy, something with which to amuse himself (which is probably how he and Lucille started messing around with each other) but also his machine is a mining machine, so he's "mining" the women for all they are worth, literally. Earlier, when Edith was meeting Thomas for the first time, she was typing her manuscript on a typewriter instead of using the gold pen her father had given her because she didn't want her feminine writing to give her away, which was an abuse of the typewriter the way Lucille abuses the piano and Thomas abuses the mining machine. There are many interpretations possible for this, however, I would like to suggest that the reason Edith signs her name on the asset papers, then uses the gold pen to stab Lucille in the shoulder, is because Edith realizes that she herself is more than her assets, 
Water.
Water, fog and snow.
All three of the forms water takes are in the film because, among other things (such as baptism, sex, The Flood, cleansing, etc.) water also symbolizes--when present in two or more forms, the process of consciousness. "Water" in liquid form (ponds, streams, running water, rain, bath tubs, etc) symbolizes the first stage of reflection upon something because you can look at the surface and see yourself (like Narcissus). Fog, vapor, clouds, dew, hoarfrost, etc., symbolizes the second stage of consciousness, because you have entered into a deeper state where the boundaries between yourself (which you clearly saw in the first stage of the watery reflection) and something or someone else, have become blurred, mixed or ambiguous.
Snow, the final state, is when the thoughts have become solidified, the person knows what they think about something, they aren't confused (like the fog) anymore, they have arrived at their conclusion; this doesn't mean they are all right and everything is okay, there is still healing to achieve but at least the lesson the character was intended to learn has been learned, understood and made a part of the character's innermost being, which is why we are now in a position to address Mrs. Cushing's warning to her daughter, "Beware the Crimson Peak."
The obvies: Why didn't Mrs. Cushing provide a more straight-forward warning to her daughter that would have prevented her from going to Allerdale Hall to begin with? Because Edith had to go to Allerdale Hall. The warning wasn't to prevent Edith from going, it was to help her protect herself once she got there. What am I talking about? The opening scene of the film (below). A parent does their child a great disservice when they don't teach them how to defend themselves, and Mrs. Cushing, from the death she just experienced (I'll elaborate below) knew her daughter would face a similar trial and so came to strengthen her daughter for the lesson she would have to learn. Remember what Edith's father said to Thomas Sharpe when Thomas was trying to get the men to invest in the clay mine? All of our hands have built something, but you have the softest hands I have ever touched. When we first see Edith as the film opens, she is looking at her blood-stained hands, because she has protected what her father (a symbol for the Founding Fathers) has built, and being able to protect is just as important as being able to build. THAT IS WHY Edith had to go to Crimson Peak and her mother wasn't clearer so Edith would marry Thomas Sharpe and learn the lessons of socialism and wealth re-distribution for herself, because that's the only way to do it.
How does Mrs. Cushing's death by black cholera tie in with Edith's experience at Crimson Peak? Mrs. Cushing, even though the film doesn't go into this, would have had to intentionally been given the contaminated water in order for her to die, just as Edith was intentionally given the poisoned tea; no, I am not suggesting that the Sharpes killed Edith's mother, but Mrs. Cushing was murdered; why? As an older woman who has born a child, Mrs. Cushing symbolizes "the motherland," America, and the US has been forced to "drink sewage" by the liberal party; remember, "Ghosts are a metaphor of the past," and Mrs. Cushing is a metaphor of the past of the US being poisoned by liberals tainting the history of this country and its purpose. Likewise, we can say the same of Enola: the Sharpes burying her, her dead baby (symbolic of the "fruits" of the Allied victory of World War II that were destroyed by liberals who wanted the Nazis to win) mirrors the work of professors and teachers through the US who have falsely instructed and indoctrinated Americans with values that have not been traditionally our own. What about Mr. Cushing and his death?
Like most horror films, Crimson Peak is predominantly about women; that doesn't mean the men don't play important roles, but they are somewhat,... "supporting roles." Mr. Cushing, rather than being "his own character," is a mirror image of his (largely) absent wife, Mrs. Cushing. Like the ghost of his wife who gives Edith her apparition so she has writing material, so Mr. Cushing gives Edith the pen (which is, I daresay, a reminder to audience members about another Mia Wasikowska film, Stoker, a brilliantly anti-socialist film with some similar themes to Crimson Peak). As Mrs. Cushing's death is caused by water (contaminated), water is overflowing the sinks when Mr. Cushing dies; the smoky, black, long appendages of the ghost of Mrs. Cushing is echoed in the shower stall marble as Mr. Cushing looks around to locate the source of the ominous noise he heard.
The corpses of both parents are terribly disfigured in death, Mrs. Cushing by the ravages of the black cholera and Mr. Cushing by the massive trauma inflicted to his skull. When Edith is identifying his corpse, she mentions that he didn't want to look old and was concerned about how he dressed; is that his vanity? No, because he symbolize the Founding Fathers (as when he addresses Thomas Sharpe about his "toy" he is showing them, he acknowledges the other men in the room who are like him that helped to build the country with their own hands) it's important that we understand the Founding Fathers are not old, nor cold in their graves or outdated, rather, just as important, alive and valid as ever in our country's history. Why is it, then, that it's Lucille who kills Mr. Cushing?
Lucille kills Mr. Cushing for the same reason that Thomas thought Edith would be an easy victim: feminism (we are not talking about civil rights or civil liberties, but the Hillary Clinton kind of "I'm a feminist because I'm a victim" feminism). The women targeted by the Sharpes all were wealthy and had no other family; but they also had something else in common. At one point, Edith is in her bedroom and when her maid calls, we see that Edith had looked up Allerdale Hall and the Sharpes in a book; this is a direct reference to the 1956 film classic Giant, starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. Taylor's character also looks up Texas and Hudson's ranch in Giant, demonstrating she's "shopping" for a husband and is taken from the beautiful Maryland farm to the solitary Benedict mansion in a desert of grass. What's the point of this reference? To show that Edith wants a title, like the other women Thomas married, because Edith, like many modern women who support socialism has a sense of ENTITLEMENT.
Let's discuss an important issue which bothered me while I watched the film: the reception Thomas received in Cushing's office when he presented his ideas for mining the red clay. The proposals and investment all seemed sound and his working model demonstrated his concepts well; businessmen in Buffalo, New York are always interested in investment opportunities so why was Mr. Cushing so crushing to Thomas and his proposal? Intuition. As Cushing tells Thomas and Lucille when he presents them with the marriage certificate of the last woman Thomas married, Cushing knew he didn't like Thomas, but he didn't know why he didn't like him. What's the point of this? It validates intuition as a legitimate form of knowledge. "Intuition" is non-scientific, it generally can't be quantitative or proven, which is why GDT wants to elevate it: it exists, and systems of thought which deny non-scientific aspects of existence such as intuition, are themselves being deceived.  
"You have no where else to go now, this is your home," Lucille tells Edith after Edith has seen one of the women's ghost pulling herself up out of the floor. Just as Edith is suckered into making the Sharpes her complete and total protectors and family, so people signing up for socialism make the government, the State or Party their complete protectors and have no one else or no where else to turn when the State begins using that authority to their own ends, just like the Sharpes waiting for Edith's assets to arrive. In spite of having devoured the fortunes of four other women, Thomas and Lucille still have no money; why? Socialism has an insatiable appetite for money, but the money always runs out, which is why socialist countries are always so terribly, terribly poor and underdeveloped (like Allerdale Hall). The Sharpes choose women who, like them, have no family or anyone else, which leads us to the question, why did Lucille and Thomas kill their mother?
The nightgown Edith wears can be interpreted as a wedding gown: when she first sees a ghost (her mother's) she is wearing a nightgown, and most of the ghosts she sees thereafter she is also wearing a nightgown; why? She is becoming married to the real purpose of her existence which the ghosts of these women--her mother, Enola, Margaret, Pamela and Lady Sharpe--are all trying to "herd Edith" in the direction she needs to go in order to save herself, her fortune and make a career for herself, which, even though they are trying to help her, still scares the wits out of Edith, but that's why she's becoming "married" to her real purpose and her real self, the self of Edith that knows and understands the world (which is what Thomas accused her of not knowing when he had to thoroughly break her heart). Edith frequently carries the candles with her; why? Well, of course, yes, so she can see, but recall, the first candle she held was during the waltz with Thomas, and he danced it so well that it didn't go out, Edith had to blow it out once they were finished, and that is heavily symbolic. The light of the candle was supposed to illuminate what a good dancer Thomas was, and that was important in Victorian society as it demonstrated the good manners and upbringing one had; if you have read Jane Austen, you also know that whenever a man and woman dance together, it's symbolic of the mating dance of nature and they end up married. So, when Thomas says, "Will you be mine?" he does mean it, and after Edith blows out the candle, she is also willing to close her eyes to anything else that might attempt to change her mind about him (until he has to break her heart, but even then, she takes his apology letter at face value and runs off to basically marry him). Now, at Allerdale Hall, she has the lighted candles, that is, the candles are once again lit to "illuminate" the darkness of Thomas and the Sharpes in general, and that's why the candles are important. As we mentioned above with McMichael, hair in the film is important, since McMichael and Edith have the same color of hair, as do Thomas and Lucille. The lighter color of hair literally means they have "lighter" thoughts (as in, more light penetrates their being, light as coming from God, remember the name McMichael) whereas no light penetrates the thoughts of Lucille and Thomas, their thoughts being dark and perverse (take note, please, how much paler Thomas' ghost is at the end then his sister's ghost, meaning, that by his sacrifice and change of heart and will, he was able to erase a great deal of the darkness from his soul). 
Lucille goes into detail about how she nursed her mother back after her father's heavy boot snapped her mother's leg in two, but then, Lucille killed her with the meat cleaver later. The father symbolizes the founding father of socialism, either Mao, Lenin or Stalin, it doesn't matter, they all squashed everyone under their boots like they were nothing but bugs, and this is what Lucille learned to do herself: destroy. Lucille and Thomas killed their mother because socialism always purges the first ones (the mother and father), turning the children against the parents so the children--Lucille and Thomas--would become the "children of the State," socialism. This is the reason why Thomas and Lucille commit incest, the next imperative issue in the film.
Doors opening and closing,, or hands reaching through them, are prevalent throughout the film; why? For the same reason Thomas comes to Buffalo, the "door of opportunity," which is why the door opens and the handle begins shaking up and down when Mrs. Cushing visits Edith again warning her about Crimson Peak: it's the opportunity Edith needs, not only as a citizen of the country to realize the threats that face it, but as well, as an individual so she can become stronger and understand human nature better for her career as a writer. When Edith thinks the dog has gotten itself stuck in a room, and she opens the door and one of the red ghosts pushes it closed again, that's when Edith discovers the wax cylinders that will provide her with the story of what the Sharpes have been doing to the other women. In this scene above, opportunity is literally "grabbing" Edith and trying to get her to open the door so she can take advantage of what she needs.
Incest is sexual relations between people of the same family. When, however, the family is eradicated, then incest is also eradicated: if there isn't a father, because the state has become the father, then he can't molest his daughter/son, because he doesn't have children, they belong to the State, so he can do whatever he wants to them. When God is eradicated, morality ceases to exist. When murder becomes the law (Edith was brought to Allerdale Hall for the purpose of murdering once they received her inheritance), shame and the soul cease to exist. Lucille tells Edith that, as children, she and Thomas had to stay up in the attic and play, they weren't allowed downstairs; why not?
THIS is a fantastic scene: Lucille is desperately trying to kill Edith, and Edith has retreated into the elevator. The elevator appears to be a cage, as in, it traps Edith inside, however, as this scene illustrates, it is now protecting Edith; why is this important? Many people complain about things like the Constitution being such a cage and it holding the country back, or the Ten Commandments being so restrictive, but this scene illustrates how, if you take refuge in the Constitution or the Ten Commandments, it will protect you from those psychopathic demons trying to slash you to bits and tatters.
The house is a character in the film: a house this old, Thomas tells Edith, becomes a living thing all its own, and as such, we can say that the cellar is like the bowels: the dead the house has consumed and defecated out into the red vats of liquid clay, while the attic, the uppermost story of the house, would be like the head: the head is open to all the elements, and anything can get inside; this is the problem with being "open-minded": if people are too open-minded about things, they become like the Sharpes, insane with progressive views of incest, murder and their own entitlement. Having grown up exposed to all the elements in the attic, as well as the erotica in the books Lucille shows Edith, it's no wonder they experimented on each other and prostituted one another for their own sexual gratification. In other words, just like children growing up in socialist or communist societies, they are exposed to everything, but all the good things (God, morality, the natural order, the soul, etc.) is forbidden to them, so they grow up, as their mother said, like monsters.
Our last topic of discussion, even though there is a plethora of symbols and meanings still to explore in a well-crafted film such as this: why does Lucille stab Thomas in the face? I think there are two reasons. First, Thomas means "twin," and we have seen how Thomas has cultivated a "twin" throughout the film: even though he was a baron, he had to portray a business man, when he had to break Edith's heart for her father to give them the check, when he consoled Edith for the loss of her father even though he was a conspirator in his death, he was Edith's husband but Lucille's lover, etc. The face is the most potent place of our identity, people know who we are because of our facial features, and identify us as such: to be marred in the face, as Lucille also causes a deep gash on Edith's face, is to be "defaced," first of all and, secondly, as with Thomas, the knife Lucille implanted in his face is "pinning him down," pinning his identity (as she does with the hair of her victims) as HER LOVER and HER BROTHER, not the husband of Edith, or the inventor of the mining machine, but her possession. He can't be two things anymore, he has to choose, which is exactly what Edith foreshadowed when they spent the night at the depot and Thomas asked her about her character Cavendish and whether or not he would make it and Edith replies, "It's entirely up to him," and Thomas knew that was meant for himself, too.
Serious damage to skulls, as well as "bizarre injuries" as in this poster, is a theme throughout the film; why? Socialists don't look at humans as being humans, rather, as animals, and head trauma indicates more "butchering" (like their mother with the meat cleaver stuck in her head) than a suitable death for a person with a soul created in God's image. The massive cranial injury also indicates, however, possible brain damage for those who go along with the Sharpes. Wait, you might say, what about Mr. Cushing? He wasn't going along with them and Lucille utterly destroyed his skull when she killed him. Mr. Cushing, regrettably, went along with the Sharpes believing they would hold to the agreement he made with them when he wrote them the check, instead of saying, get out of town and I will forward the money once you have left. The skull of Enola, the ghost in the image above, shows her skeletal eye sockets missing, indicating that she "lost her head" because she didn't want to "see" the truth. The image created by the spears, or the "sharp points" is echoed throughout the hallway where Edith sees the ghosts most frequently and it forms the "negative image" of a person (that is, standing, the person's head and shoulders are fitted into the negative space, as we see with Enola's ghost above). That's because the Sharpes themselves don't see people as people, but as objects to be used for their own ends. 
We know this is a story about love, but whose love story is it? Is it between Edith and Thomas? Thomas and Lucille? McMichael and Edith? I would like to argue it's the love story of Mrs. Cushing and her daughter, because the mother loved her daughter enough to protect her, but also enough to let her learn for herself, the kind of tough-love that God distributes to those He Himself loves. It's also about Edith learning how to properly love herself, and know how to become self-sufficient and truly independent. In conclusion, this is one of those grand films which we can watch dozens of times and we will still be picking up on nuances and symbols, connections and references. GDT has created a masterful statement of why socialism has been kept at bay by the civilized world and why the youth and women especially, need to learn about the horrible evils awaiting them if they follow terrible trail which leads to nothing but bloodshed, immorality, deceit and death.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
This is a fantastic image in the film. Earlier, we have seen Edith wearing her eyeglasses, but she takes them off after she receives the letter of apology from Thomas and then doesn't put them back on until she finds the gramophone in Enola's trunk and she begins listening to the wax cylinders (I know there is another, fairly recent film which utilized the same technology, however, I can't for the life of me think of what that film was,... sorry). So, what is it Edith is doing? She's finally in a position to see "objectively" (the clear sight the glasses provides her) and understand the historical record of the photographs and the recordings so that she can understand the complete context of Lord and Lady Sharpe, something many in the US have yet to do with socialism.