I am, myself, an oxymoron. I absolutely love Halloween, the spooky-vibes, the dark mysteries, but I am also a complete scaredy-cat who turns horror movies into sleepless nightmare fuel. The Saw movies, hard nope from me. However, I do love the physiological thrills of movies like Rose Red, by the Master, Steven King. If you haven’t watched the movie, highly recommend!
Since this is probably my all-time favorite scary movie, I was excited when I came across the book ‘The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer’, which acts as the prequel to Rose Red.
At the start of the Diary, Ellen is a rather innocent and submissive woman. Her classically rick, oil-tycoon husband John Rimbauer buys land with the goal of building mansion home for them. This land turns out to be a Native American burial ground, in turn the construction continues to suffer gruesome deaths and unaccountable disappearances.
Ellen captures the journey in her diary, referring to the house like another living character. Throughout the story Ellen herself changes just as dramatically as her home, from meek into frighteningly powerful. Her frustration with her husband also gets vocalized, he is unfaithful and practices voyeuristic activities. From here she starts to question her own sexual identity as her attachment to Sukeena, her handmaid, grows. These are all used by the mansion to turn the character’s against one another and feed from the power of their conflicts.
The ‘diary’ reads very much like a novel thanks to the flourish of language used by the protagonist Ellen. While this story is the prologue to Rose Red, it definitely reads like a ‘found’ artifact of her personal confessions. In tie-in to Rose Red, the book also has an accompaniment of ‘notes’ seemingly added in after by Joyce Reardon (from the movie).
I saved this bit for last, because the question of who penned the actual text of the diary? Is a mystery itself. Steven King is the likely author, but, he has never taken official credit for the work and it is not found anywhere on the print copies. It officially lists credits as:
THE DIARY OF ELLEN RIMBAUER:
My Life at Rose Red
Joyce Reardon, Editor,
Steven Rimbauer, Afterword by
So if you are a scaredy cat like me, and don’t really jive with the outright horror that typically defines the spooky genre, I recommend giving this book a read and then picking up the movie for a watch, be prepared to devote some time to it too. The book is a page-turning 272 pages, while the movie is 255 minutes… and maybe, don’t venture into them alone.