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I vaguely remember reading about Rose Red, but only because of the death of David Dukes (an old favorite from Winds of War). Having been disappointed by some of King's mini-series/movie efforts since 1994's The Stand, I didn't catch it when it was on TV. Rented it tonight, and was pleasantly surprised. Kept me interested throughout the entire 4 + hours. Similar, but far superior to the 1999 "Hill House" movies (both of them; I get them confused) I highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys a horror film that involves more than some psycho hacking limbs off with reckless abandon.
I'm actually a fan of haunted house type movies and own most of the classics, Amityville Horror, House on Haunted Hill (w/Vincent Price), The Shining, as well as newer titles such as The Others, The Haunting, etc. Rose Red actually holds it's own among these films. There were a few moments that went a little too far and became somewhat typical horror, but overall, quite an in-depth story with well developed characters. All of the actors, though most weren't well-known, were very believable and true to form throughout the film. One thing I would tell you about this film though is read the book ("The Diary Of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life At Rose Red") before or after you watch it, as it gives you much more insight into everything.
I would have to say that "Rose Red," was an effective movie if you you like horror films. I really don't watch them but because of Steven King's reputation, I decided to watch it. I would frankly have to say that "Rose Red," made 1999's "The Haunting," look like a Disney Movie seeing that it put "The Haunting," to shame as a horror film. What made it so effective was that all the details were subtle but there and it gave you a feeling that someone was breathing down your neck. Believe me when I say, I had difficulty getting some of those mental images out of my mind while trying to sleep.
I was not able to see it very good but I was able to watch it all. It kept me guessing, scared, & surprise all in one. When I get it on DVD I'll watch it right away. This was one of the better of his movies. MR. King knows how to keep me scared. If it had been rated 'R' I know I would have a hard time watching it. I will be glad to add Rose Red to my Steven King collection.
This is one of the most spectacular movies that I have seen in a LONG time. I am SO excited for the movie to come to VHS and DVD in just a few days. I would have anyone who likes a lot of action, suspense, and horror in movies see this movie. This is one movie that will have you on the edge of your seat although it does drag on a few parts. The lights are great and the actors and actresses are wonderful. They all fit their parts wonderfully! This movie is a one-in-a-million!
Stephen King's strength isn't his blinding originality; it's his ability to take familiar, overused ideas and give them a fresh angle. "Rose Red" is a perfect example of this. Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House", Matheson's "Hell House", every haunted house story you ever heard or told, you'll recognize it here. A team of psychic investigators go into a house that not only has a reputation for a few bumps in the night, but also a reputation for causing snoopy investigators to vanish off the face of the earth. The team has the usual suspects; a cynic, a social misfit, an obsessed team leader, mediums of every stripe. Stealing the show is young Kimberly Brown as Annie, an autistic girl with the power to summon spirits, cause stones to fall from the sky, and wake up the sleeping evil of Rose Red. Is this film an original take on the haunted house theme? No. Is it worth watching? Yes. Is it scary? Surprisingly, yes. Well worth the time it takes to watch it. Rating: 8/10
To be blunt, a Stephen King novel turned movie should have been much
The only installment worth anything was the third showing, and even then
was not anything spectacular. It's just your average haunted house story,
in your average haunted house setting. Certainly nothing to write home
Melanie Lynskey, however, was great, and I've always enjoyed her diverse work. Nancy Travis on the other hand sorely bothered me and could only seem to play her part in one way. Simply, she bored me. Quite frankly all of the characters had no real character. They were pretty one dimensional and consequently very predictable.
There were a lot of unexplained circumstances that were just left alone. I found myself not caring very much about them before too long.
I must say the worst was the first episode. I am willing to bed that it lost half of its viewers, because the majority of the two hours was Nancy Travis' character complaining and discussing all of the same boring things over and over.
The only thing that kept me entertained was the "what are they going to do next?" factor. Still, at times, I hardly gave much care for it.
The highlight of the movie was Stephen King's infamous cameo, this time as the pizza guy. He's a good sport, that Steve.
To start with, I really didn't "get" the ending. I'm not sure what we were
supposed conclude about Ellen, April and her maid; nor did the automatic
writing scene, Pam's fate, or the time-line involving the hapless reporter
make much sense. Yet, I don't dislike the movie despite its glaring
short-comings. I suppose the movies you think about long afterwards are
worth seeing even if you don't formulate a solid opinion of it one way or
I was surprised that one of the other comments suggested that the character of Annie would be more realistic had she taken her ideas from Rain Man; Annie isn't an idiot savant. Personally, I found her take to be fairly realistic, at least comparing the character to the autistic children I work with. The scene in which she was requested to say "good morning" could have been lifted from any number of morning circles at school. Admittedly the children I work with are younger(3-6), I didn't think the character was much different from them- though she didn't echo back what people said at all, which I thought was a little odd. I don't think that her take could have been expected to be any more "authentic" in this type of movie, which doesn't give one hours for character development.
Stephen King movie adaptions have become quite a conundrum. He has
lambasted most of them for altering characters and flow. Most notable:
Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining. King purists stick to the
that the phenomena and events he describes simply cannot be captured
visually. Rose Red represents ABC's latest attempt at the horror master's
work. Scripted and executive produced by King, it's more ironic than
terrifying; the only example I've seen where the movie's shortcomings
originate from Stephen King's story rather than the production values or
The three part mini-series revolves around a haunted house, called Rose
Red, in Seattle. Built in the early twentieth century by a wealthy
as a wedding gift to his wife, death and mystery were associated with the
home since its birth. Women disappeared and men were found dead due to
apparent suicides. The wife, Ellen Rimbauer, continued building until she
vanished within the maze of halls and staircases. Over time the Rimbauer
house fell into disrepair, but continued to grow on its own. Enter Dr.
Reardon (Nancy Travis), a pretty college professor eager to prove the
existence of paranormal phenomena. She is transfixed on the place. `It's a
dead cell. We need to wake it up.' Since no one has been there for years,
the good professor signs up a rag-tag group of psychics and clairvoyants,
each with their own special gift, to spend Memorial Day weekend there. The
one she is most interested in is a young autistic girl who can supposedly
summon boulders that fall from the sky. Her older sister wants to get her
into a special school, but alas no money. And so it goes, under similar
circumstances anyway, for the rest of the team; leading them to take the
money and risk their lives.
Right from the introductions we know where the story is headed, but most
surprising is how familiar it all is. The group has the exact same people
in King's The Langoliers. You have the suave European. The troubled little
psychic girl with an illness (autism instead of blindness). The kindly old
man with a secret. And of course the completely unlikable dweeb who starts
sweating and going nuts the moment they reach the front gate. Other
or cheap rehashes include the pompous supervisor who doesn't trust anybody
(ala The Shining's Stuart Ullman) and the out-of-her-head big woman
just a lying dirty birdie!'). The latter is a bit thinly veiled, but King
the whole just comes up short. It's obvious who is going to die, who is
going to live, and what each of them has to face. I wanted to believe that
all of these were in-jokes, but they appear to be serious.
Nancy Travis walks us through the history one step at a time. We watch as a builder guns down the construction foreman. A sheet of glass decapitates another builder. One more chokes on a piece of apple. An old woman on a tour disappears and the cops only find her handbag. A business man is found stung to death in the solarium. Got the idea yet? They become so repetitive that we're left shaking our heads and saying `I know the house is bad already.' In fact most of Part I is dedicated solely to revealing the house's past. Why hint when there's 270 minutes to fill? Therein lays Rose Red's biggest problem. King shows us everything. Scenes are broken up awkwardly, forcing the viewer to keep track of up to four things (some fantasy and some reality) going on simultaneously. Then when matters quiet down the group completely ignores what's happened. The first paranormal event takes place just after they enter. Time passes. They forget. In Part III King seemed to have made a game of having the characters make the worst possible horror movie decisions. `Going off by himself, that was dumb.' The dweeb comments at one point. Uh huh! As always King throws in one of his trademark weapons. He's used an oversized croquet mallet for The Shining, an axe for Misery (yes, in the movie it was changed), a hammer in Needful Things, a scalpel in Pet Sematary. The list goes on. But what do we get this time around? What does the master of horror pull out for Rose Red? A hammer. Pardon my yawn. As usual, King makes a Hitchcock-esque appearance as a delivery man. Most of his past cameos have been limited to peripheral characters. A band leader. A priest. Just someone in the background. Here he is so obvious that it pulls you out of the movie. Real actors and actresses for two hours, then a deathly pale guy wearing glasses and holding a pizza bag. `Oooo look! That's the writer.' Rose Red does have its good points. The casting is solid all around. Nancy Travis comes off as likeable but driven. Her boyfriend, Steve (Matt Keeslar), is fine too. Fans of the Warlock movie series will even enjoy the presence of Julian Sands as Nick Hardaway, the gentleman psychic. (Will this guy ever live through any movie he's in?) They do their best with the script. Usually that entails just falling into one emotion and sticking with it; let the special effects and set designs do the motivating.
Its here that Rose Red shines. (Hint, hint - Nudge nudge) The shear grandeur of the house and the halls carry the emotions of the movie. One room, the gigantic library with a mirrored floor, is incredible to look at. Even the recent big-budget remake of The Haunting didn't have anything close to this. The CGI effects are overall high grade too, save for a few cheap overhead shots. The home, covered with vines and surrounded by untended trees, is beautiful, in that gothic house sort of way. Spark shooting lights and ghastly talking corpses are abound everywhere. Turn of the century Seattle is shown, carts, buggies, the whole shebang. Glass turns to liquid. Creatures walk out of walls. But with all the razzle dazzle, what happened to the plot? It went M.I.A. My personal opinion is that King's energy ran out after he completed the history portion. Maybe he didn't know where it should go after that. The modern day situation just isn't compelling enough. Once everybody is assembled within the mansion's walls it's the same fare previously seen in The Shining, but with the ensemble dynamic of The Langoliers. The problem here is the occupants are aware, or should be, of what the place is capable of, while the Torrence family were innocents. On top of his own self-plagiarism, King throws on visual elements stolen from The Frightners and House on Haunted Hill. It then builds to a climax that feels as if King just said `Ah, the hell with it'. The lights go out. The floor shakes. People get attacked by boogie men. The doors magically open in the chaos with very little time to escape. Who will make it? The real question is: Do we care? Still out of all this I cannot find fault with the direction or presentation. It's pulp, an experiment in mood, but dreaming to be more. The mini-series becomes a collage of all the stuff that should make a great horror movie, even a great Stephen King horror movie, but collapses.
The house Rose Red has a lot to it. Stairways that go nowhere. Doors that open to brick walls. Rooms that change when you're not paying attention. But such is the plot: Interesting to look at, but built with no reason of purpose. At one moment you're sure it's a haunted house movie, then it's a ghost movie, then zombies, and then something else. There simply isn't an intelligible way through the mess. Looking back, it's easy to recall images; flashes of things taking place. But why did they happen? That's up to your imagination. Quite possibly, the only thing about Rose Red that is.
Looks like stephen king was a big fan of Shirley Jackson, Richard
Mario Bava, Karen Black, and American McGee's Alice (VG).
Let me explain. This movie seems to be a clever remake of Shirley Jackson's Haunting of Hill House (which was well made into the Haunting in 1963, and again, but not very well at all, in 1999, same title). However, in reality all Stephen King really did was take some elements of the book Hell House by Richard Matheson, the film Burnt Offerings, starring Karen Black (especially the solarium's plants coming back to life, this is exactly what happens in Burnt Offerings), the video game, Alice (the fortress of doors seems to be a big influence on the set designs), The Mario Bava film, Kill Baby, Kill, where you get a house that leads you where it wants you to go not the other way aroung, and most notably the true life phenomena of the Sarah Winchester Mystery House (she was told at a seance that all the spirits of those who died by Winchester rifles (especially indian spirits) would come back to get her if she didn't continually build the house, resulting in some bizarre rooms, like a staircase that goes to a ceiling and a door that leads to the outside of a very tall tower). Throw all these into the mix, and add some of stephen kings favorite subjects (psychics) and you get Rose Red.
Not to say that there is no originality here, he really added some creepy elements, like the mirrored library, the withered hand, the missing people, etc... But anybody who is a strong follower of horror movies knows its all been done before.
That said, lets concentrate on the best parts of the film: 1 - I was thrilled to see the house at the beginning destroyed by a rain of stones. This is how Carrie White's house is destroyed at the end of the novel, Carrie, and how DePalma wanted the house destroyed originally, but it was not feasible to do so. Glad to see that it is finally possible. 2 - I loved the disturbing images in the second part. Especially the perspective hallway, the movie star's corpse in bed with Emery, and the mirrored library. 3 - Suprisingly there was some good special fx with zombies here! 4 - Finally, the amazing contrast between the birds-eye view of the house and interior shots. You can see a finite structure outside, but inside there is no end to the house.
If this film were being made for theatrical release, much of the first part would be edited as it adds nothing to the story. Also many characters would probably been written out of the story, notably Victor and Pam, as they don't really add much to the story other than disturbing imagery.
Unfortunately the casting is terrible. Julian Sands is great, but his character is completely wasted. Melanie Lynskey looks bored half the time, Judith Ivey is an integral part to the ending, but she's hardly ever mentioned for the first two parts. And Nancy Travis is almost unbearable. As soon as they get into the house, she is so bitchy you are rooting for the ghosts. Finally Julia Campbell, most remembered as Christy Masters-Christensen from Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion is cast as the head villian. I'm sure anyone who reckognized her could only picture her as Christy Masters telling everyone she's a weather girl at the reunion. To the director's credit, Matt Ross is appropriately annoying, Emily Deschanel, (who's character is wasted), is hauntingly beautiful, Yvonne Scio is gorgeous and wickedly evil, and Tsidii Leloka is terrifying and perfect as the bug eyed servant.
Well apart from the problems, there is enough going on here to be more interesting than most made for tv movies, and its a hell of alot better than most stephen king movies (maximum overdrive anyone?).
8 out of 10 as a tv movie 6 out of 10 as a horror movie
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