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Series / Rose Red

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Rose Red is a three-part Miniseries written by Stephen King. The plot revolves around Rose Red, an abandoned mansion in the middle of Downtown Seattle. The mansion is considered to be haunted, and twenty-three people are rumored to have either died or disappeared either within it or on the grounds by the time the miniseries takes place.

Among the body count are Rose Red's original owners John (John Procaccino) and Ellen Rimbauer (Julia Campbell), their daughter April (Paige Gordon), Ellen's African maid Sukeena (Tsidii Le Loka), Mr. Rimbauer's business partner Douglas Posey (Don Alder), and famous actress Deanna Petrie (Yvonne Sciò). Additionally, the house does not have a set layout and number of floors. (How people do not notice the house shrinking and growing as they drive down the Alaska Way Viaduct is never explained. Presumably the growth aspect of the house is only a Bigger on the Inside ability which doesn't show on the outside.) After tours of Rose Red ceased in the 1970s (with another disappearance), the mansion became "dormant."

Joyce Reardon (Nancy Travis), a discredited professor of Parapsychology, wants to "wake up" the mansion by bringing in a team of psychics to connect with the paranormal manifestations that might be residing there. Her team consists of Annie Wheaton (Kimberly J. Brown), Cathy Kramer (Judith Ivey), Emery Waterman (Matt Ross), Nick Hardaway (Julian Sands), Pam Asbury (Emily Deschanel), and Victor (Vic) Kandinsky (Kevin Tighe), along with Steve Rimbauer (Matt Keeslar), the last-known member of the Rimbauer family, and Rachel Wheaton (Melanie Lynskey), Annie's older sister.

The miniseries was followed by a prequel titled The Diary Of Ellen Rimbauer, a tele-movie based on the tie-in novel of the same name. The miniseries aired on January 27, 2002.

This miniseries provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Annie's parents are constantly arguing over her mental disability and telekinetic abilities and they refuse to understand her and communicate with her like Rachel does.
  • Adam and/or Eve: Adam Rimbauer. In her diary entry on the day of his birth, Ellen comments on her choice of name: "Because he is the first."
  • Ambiguously Bi: Ellen, who was married to John and implied to have a lesbian affair with her housekeeper Sukeena. In the tie in novel this is confirmed, with Ellen lusting after at least 3 women, and fighting with John about her affair with Sukeena.
  • Affably Evil: Sukeena's ghost is delightfully charming and devious as she leads first Bollinger, then Miller, to their doom, complete with all sorts of veiled double meanings and implications in her words that would be causing My Significance Sense Is Tingling in anyone other than such devout skeptics.
  • Artistic License – Geography: There is, of course, no 40-acre haunted mansion in the middle of downtown Seattle. Rose Red was filmed in a bed-and-breakfast in Tacoma. Additionally, aerial shots of the mansion show Mt. Rainier as being to the southeast from Elliot Bay when it is actually southwest.
  • Artistic License – Law: There would have to be significant cause for Dr. Miller to try to revoke tenure, not just Joyce doing her paranormal psychology, which is her job. Especially since her class is shown to be very popular, with a large classroom so full there is standing room only and makes the university a lot of money.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Pam, Nick, Vic, Professor Miller, and Mrs. Waterman all die at the hands of Rose Red, but almost everyone else is able to escape the mansion and Annie, finally broken from its control, uses her psychic abilities to destroy it. Joyce is killed by the spirits which inadvertently gives her the very thing she desired (wanting to stay in Rose Red to prove the paranormal). Despite this, the series ends with a six month gap showing the surviving characters paying their respects to those who died to the mansion, which is slated for demolition.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: On two different levels.
    • In the past, it is made very clear how much of a monster John Rimbauer was, and the viewer's sympathy is clearly meant to be with Ellen and Sukeena (and the miniseries is pretty successful in this regard); this is made even more clear in the prequel film and book The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer. But by the time of the present, having become ghosts in the house, both Ellen and Sukeena have just as clearly become depraved and wicked as the house itself, to the point their only motivation is killing/absorbing more people, making the house grow, and in Ellen's case trapping her own great-grandson into becoming part of/fueling Rose Red and helping it grow. The revelation of their murder of John is thus also played as a Dark Secret rather than just a Karmic Death. As a result, even though the viewer can sympathize with them at the start, by the end it's clear The Corruption has turned Ellen and Sukeena into dark spirits that deserve to be destroyed (or at least exorcised/laid to rest).
    • In the present, Professor Miller is set up as a cruel, cynical, obstructive antagonist to everything Joyce is trying to accomplish, even going so far as to commit crimes in order to help discredit her and destroy her career and reputation; Dr. Reardon thus comes across as a good guy trying to establish the truth about the paranormal in the name of science, albeit understandably obsessed, so that what happens to Professor Miller definitely counts as Laser-Guided Karma (for what happened to Bollinger if nothing else). On the other hand, it also becomes clear that Joyce is so obsessed, so determined, that she not only doesn't care if the members of her team die to achieve her goals but she specifically manipulates and uses Annie to her own ends and actually takes several actions that endanger people or outright result in their deaths; as a result, while her eventual fate is still rather horrific and upsetting, it's not nearly as much so as it would have been at the start of the miniseries, and could in fact be viewed as karmic as well. This parallel is likely deliberate, since at many points in the miniseries it's made clear Joyce and Ellen aren't so different.
    • To a lesser degree this also applies to how Emery is played as a Jerkass for most of the miniseries, and for wanting to kill Annie so they can escape; yet the very real danger posed by the house makes his early refusal to go and demands for more money absolutely justified, and while the others are right to be appalled by his actions toward Annie, he's proven right about her powers, how Rose Red (and Joyce) are using her, and Joyce herself. Add in his having Taken a Level in Kindness by the end, and he comes off as a lot more gray (and on the white end of the spectrum) than he did at the start.
  • Body Snatcher: Annie gets a moment of this when Ellen Rimbauer briefly possesses her. Made more chilling by hearing a normally mute autistic girl speak in full sentences.
  • Bury Your Gays: It's revealed that Posey, John Rimbauer's gay business partner, was forced to commit suicide because of his orientation being shameful to John. Not forced as in he felt he had no choice, it's implied that if he didn't he simply would have been killed. Strangely, Posey himself never appears as a spirit.
  • Creator Cameo: The pizza guy at the beginning is Stephen King himself.
  • Creepy Child: April and Annie, who are also the owners of nearly identical Creepy Dolls. Lampshaded by Emery.
  • Creepy Housekeeper: Even when she was still alive, Sukeena had vibes of this thanks to her exotic nature, her accent and her slow manner of speaking. Once the house took her... In the tie in novel Sukeena kills at least one person while still alive, and defends Ellen from some attackers using vague magical powers.
  • Crisis of Faith: Vic, who is apparently a good Christian based on the Bible he always carries around and the moment he (ironically, it turns out) reassures a scared Pam with an As the Good Book Says... moment, seems to suffer from one of these when he finds Pam's dead body drowned in the garden pool. It is implied that it's this (and the Despair Event Horizon he crosses after) that allows Ellen's statue to come to life, and certainly contributes to his heart attack soon afterward.
    Vic: "Be not afraid, only believe..." No, I don't believe, I don't believe...!
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Many within Rose Red.
    • Three construction workers met gruesome fates while constructing Rose Red: One was decapitated by a sheet of falling glass, another fell from a scaffolding and broke his neck and the last choked on a piece of apple.
    • In the tie in novel, Mr. Corbin, after being arrested, takes out his own eyes in prison and dies from blood loss.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nick and, to some extent, Emery.
    [A rat bursts out from behind a wall]
    Nick: It's the reincarnation of Emery's mother!
    Cathy: [chiding] Nick! [Nick smirks]
  • Dead Line News: Bollinger's fate.
  • Decoy Protagonist: While the miniseries actually has a number of different protagonists depending on point of view and how far along in the story it is, with Steve, Annie, Nick and even Emery taking the role, both the order of introduction of characters and the fact the whole expedition is planned by her makes Joyce out to be the protagonist. By the end, however, it's clear the real heroes, and whom the story is actually about, is Steve and Annie.
  • Delicate and Sickly: Ellen's second child, a daughter, born with a withered arm due to her mother having been suffering from her African sickness from her husband's infidelity.
  • Direct Line to the Author: There was once a fake website purporting to belong to Joyce Reardon and Beaumont University, giving information about the Rose Red project and implying she was a real person. Similarly, the "Making Of" segment which aired on TV prior to the miniseries itself made use of actors to play the "real" Joyce and Steve, told the whole story of Rose Red as if it were real history, and included segments from real-life historians and Seattle public figures acting as if Rose Red were real. Finally, the Diary of Ellen Rimbauer itself, though ghost-written by Ridley Pearson (for a time hints within the text and cagey comments from people at Hyperion made fans think Tabitha King, Stephen's wife, was the writer), had no author indicated when published, instead having a foreword written by its supposed editor Joyce Reardon after the book was 'found' in an estate sale. All in all, a rather complex and well-done effort, if fairly obvious as a fake. According to That Other Wiki, a number of people bought into it and thought Joyce Reardon, Beaumont University, and Rose Red were real.
  • Does Not Like Men: Joyce is implied to be a strong misandrist. John Rimbauer's treatment of Ellen turns her into this. The house takes on Ellen's attitude.
    Joyce: When Ellen gave birth to a daughter with a withered arm, she blamed her African sickness and her husband's sexual appetites, although she wrote, "In my mind they are one", to which she added, "Damn all men".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Rose Red is inspired by the Winchester Mansion.
  • Double Standard: In-story example in Rose Red itself—thanks to the feelings of its owner, Ellen, coupled with John's villainy, the house tends to make women simply disappear and become part of the house while men are outright killed. Nick disappears, though perhaps the need for someone with so much psychic power to feed it outweighed his gender.
  • Driven to Suicide: Douglas Posey. It didn't pay to be a known homosexual in those days, but John Rimbauer's persecution was more due to, it seemed, fears of his former partner being a little too close to his son (or perhaps fear of him coming on to his boss, since they had been such very good friends). The tie in novel makes it clear this death accelerated Rose Red's hauntings, as before then all the disappearances and murders happen in the east wing, slowly spreading out. After Posey kills himself in the west wing, nowhere in the house is safe.
  • *Drool* Hello: Happens to Bollinger in the greenhouse just before he gets taken.
  • Dwindling Party: Unsurprisingly, for both a haunted house film and a Stephen King work. For the first part, nobody dies (except Bollinger), but then in part two, both Pam and Vic bite the dust, as well as Professor Miller, and in the final part, Nick, Mrs. Waterman and Joyce are lost in rapid succession. Unusually, however, there are actually quite a few survivors (five).
  • Eldritch Abomination: Rose Red itself, according to the prequel. Overlaps with Eldritch Location.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Emery.
  • Expy:
    • Annie, of Carrie. Rose Red of the Winchester Mystery House. Ellen Rimbauer of Sarah Winchester.
    • There are several connections to The Shining, the most notable of which are Annie and Ellen being roughly analogous to Danny Torrence and Horace Derwent and Rose Red itself to the Overlook Hotel, in particular how both structures draw power from psychics. With his array of psychic powers and sarcastic but protective nature, Nick Hardaway seems a bit like a younger, race-lifted Dick Halloran (and even have similar-sounding names). He's also clearly inspired by (and was for a time theorized to be) Nick from The Langoliers.
  • Eye Awaken / The Eyes Have It: Ellen Rimbauer's statue in the garden, complete with tear-away face.
  • Fanservice: Steve sleeps shirtless, has a carpeted hairy chest and a slim figure.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Well, it's still death of a sort, but while becoming "one with the house" is played as a more humane alternative to being killed by it, the reactions of Mrs. Waterman and especially Joyce suggests that the experience itself is quite horrific.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Vic's heart problems.
    • Annie and the falling stones.
    • When the group first gathers at the college to set off for Rose Red, Emery's mother warns him away from Pam by muttering, "Stay away from that blonde girl, she looks like a tramp." Once she becomes absorbed by the house, Pam's ghost does in fact attempt to seduce him, and she lampshades the reference by telling Emery his mother was right about her.
    • When they first find the mirror library, Steve mentions he was afraid to go in as a kid because "I thought I'd fall in." Later Cathy almost does, when the floor turns to mercury and she starts sinking.
  • For Science!: By the end of the miniseries, Joyce seems a lot more motivated by this than by wanting to genuinely understand and explain the supernatural; this is particularly exemplified by how willing she is to use and manipulate Annie, making use of her former insight as a child psychologist in ways that end up hurting Annie rather than helping her.
  • Garden of Evil: The ominously dead, then ominously and richly alive, solarium. In the prequel novel, the solarium actively starts eating people and is one of the first rooms to be actively supernatural. Sukeena feeds it at least one victim, and eventually it eats her.
  • Genius Loci: Apparently, the house is smart enough to be able to alter Steve's message on Professor Miller's answering machine, thus luring him in. It takes April to keep Ellen there, and actively pushes people to build.
  • Glamour Failure: Whenever the house uses the image of someone to lure someone else to their death (Cathy for Pam, then Pam for Vic and Emery), they get a flash of red in their eyes. Done in a subtle, blink-and-you-miss-it moment for the Cathy example.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Bollinger's motivation, in a sense; Miller promises him if he can break the story of Joyce's folly in attempting to wake up Rose Red, he'll get such notoriety he'll be able to make it big as a reporter (presumably after he graduates). Unfortunately for him, by the time he starts having doubts and realizes there may be more to the situation, it's too late.
  • Gorn: Emery losing his fingers. Stephen King even admitted he included this scene expressly to see how much the network would let him get away with. (And to show the house "had teeth" so it would be taken as a serious threat.)
  • Haunted House: Obviously. However, it is inverted in at least one literal respect: the inside of the house is not scary at all at first, with warm colors, beautiful furnishings and artwork, and only some cobwebs and dust cloths to show the place isn't lived in. This was intentional, as one of the producers stated "We wanted the place to feel inviting, to feel like a's only after you're there for a while that the chill starts to set in and grab hold of you..." In the book, Ellen calls the house Rose and says it is her friend.
  • Haunted House Historian: Joyce Reardon takes this role for most of the movie, with Steve occasionally stepping into the role... to her jealousy.
  • Heir Club for Men: John Rimbauer didn't care for his wife and children. Feeling that Ellen fulfilled her role in giving him a son, he then pursued numerous affairs with women, leaving Ellen alone with their children.
    Steven: Nothing. She gave him a son in 1909, a daughter in 1911. The girl had a withered arm, but the son was fine. It was the son John Rimbauer cared about. In his mind, Ellen had fulfilled her function, and could do what she liked.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: While Bollinger was happy to help Professor Miller discredit Joyce with his photographs, he seems to sense something is off about Rose Red once they get there and voices his doubts to Miller... Who immediately drives away, sealing Bollinger's fate.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Ellen and Sukeena's close relationship. As revealed in the miniseries, Ellen and Sukeena remained close and it is hinted their relationship may have been something more than just friends. In her diary, Ellen never refers to Sukeena as her servant. She calls her "my friend" and later "my Sister".
  • A House Divided: At first, everyone against Emery for being a Jerkass and wanting to kill Annie. Then it becomes everyone against Joyce. In between, other than Steve and Rachel, Nick and Steve, and then Nick and Cathy, it's everyone fends for themselves.
  • Hypocrite: When Steve reveals that he is allowing developers to tear down Rose Red and build condominiums because "history don't pay the rent, and the kid is broke," Emery criticizes this as "hardly the most noble of motives"...but he was the one who accepted Joyce's offer (and refused the postcognitive spirit warnings) because of his mother's spending habits, specifically with the words "save it for someone who's not broke." For further irony, Steve is one of the group members Emery dislikes the most, apparently right from the start.
  • Indian Burial Ground: The explanation for the haunting as explained in the book prequel.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "I'm a Little Teapot"
  • Jerkass:
    • Emery starts out as this, especially towards Nick. After all the terrible experiences he goes through in the house, though, he seems to be on good terms with the other characters at the end.
    • At least in the backstory, John Rimbauer. His carelessness during adultery led to Ellen contracting some sort of venereal disease which was responsible for April's withered arm, he plotted with the stable boys to hide his assignations with the maids, his reaction to one of the maids disappearing being worry that she'd fled to the police and would rat on him, and his driving his business partner to suicide because the latter was gay. He also orders the arrest and torture of Sukeena for April's disappearance, as revenge for the affair Ellen is having with Sukeena. He only agrees to allow Sukeena back if she and Ellen have a threesome with him. Whenever he wants. His fate is definitely a case of well-deserved Laser-Guided Karma.
    • Professor Miller. He constantly insults and belittles Joyce for her interest in the supernatural, and used Kevin Bollinger to spy on and mock Joyce and her plan in the school newspaper. While it is understandable that he's skeptical, it seemed more like he was desperate to ruin her. And he yelled at a student who was pretty much observing him after Joyce scared him shitless.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: If the group had knocked Annie out as Emery suggested, they might have been able to escape before the house took Nick and Mrs. Waterman.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nick. He routinely uses Emery as a target for his snark, but he shows many times that he is a great guy nevertheless. Including a moment or two for Emery, surprisingly.
  • The Load: Rachel, most of the time, and lampshaded by her actress: "I spend all my time saying 'Annie, are you okay? Steve, are you okay?' I'm not a psychic, so I'm not any use when all the paranormal stuff starts happening." In the end, however, her status as The Heart and Morality Chain for both Annie and Steve may be what saves them.
  • Madness Mantra:
    • Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!
  • Malevolent Architecture: Rose Red has freaky architecture by design thanks to Ellen and Sukeena's overzealous desire to please the house, ranging from a perspective hallway and a mirror library to an upside-down room and a rose window tower. But when the house awakens and draws on psychic energy, it can, as Nick says, "be as big as it wants." Corridors change direction, people can get lost just going around a corner, whole sections of the house switch places, at one point an endless stairwell freaks out Emery, and even having a ball of string to follow won't take you back where you started without cleverness and telekinesis. While Rose Red was inspired by the Winchester Mystery House, the most ominous aspect here is that even after Ellen and everyone else had died, the house continued to grow and build itself.
  • Manchild: Emery has shades of this, due to the fact that he's still under the thumb of his mother.
  • Meaningful Name: Invoked in-story with Ellen's son: "I shall call him 'Adam,' for he shall be the first."
  • Mind over Matter: Annie is telekinetic.
  • Mind Screw: Aside from the Malevolent Architecture of the house (complete with a room where all the furniture is nailed to the ceiling and the light fixtures to the floor to appear upside down), the entire sequence of events surrounding Pam's death is this. From the series of nested Dreams Within A Dream that makes it unclear what is really happening (Pam awaking from a Catapult Nightmare is actually still within the dream), to Cathy's Evil Twin juxtaposed with her real self being menaced by...something, to the overlay of images in the garden with Annie watching April in her closet, it's very surreal and disjointed, surely intentionally so. It gets to the point that many viewers didn't even realize Pam had died, and didn't figure it out until her evil ghost self led Vic to his doom, or until it was confirmed by Emery at the start of part three.
  • Miss Exposition: Joyce is this for the whole first part of the miniseries, explaining the history of the Rimbauers and Rose Red to her party of psychics. While she was a university professor so the location was a natural choice, the fact she briefed them in an actual lecture hall may count as a Lampshade Hanging. She continues to be so while giving the tour of Rose Red (something Emery remarks on snidely later), until Nick and Steve take over her duties when the house gets to her.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: An interesting variation, to say the least, in the case of Emery's mother.
  • Mood Whiplash: Night one at the house—the group goes from hearing the story of Posey and witnessing ghostly phenomenon to...dancing to Glenn Miller, complete with levitation provided by Annie and pizza delivered by Stephen King himself. Then they all go to bed...and start having nightmares and creepy experiences. Of course, if you know your King, this is to be expected.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Steve and/or Nick, depending on your preference.
  • Murder by Inaction: Because of Emery's refusal to help him due to Sanity Slippage, Vic dies from a heart attack.
  • My Beloved Smother: Mrs. Waterman. Even from beyond the grave.
  • Never Suicide: As Cathy and the team soon discover, Rimbauer died in an apparent suicide by throwing himself from an upper stained-glass window; in actuality, however, he was murdered by Ellen and Sukeena. The tie in novel clarifies it was actually the house and/or April who killed him for getting in the way of construction. Ellen and Sukeena absolutely intended to murder him. Averted with Posey.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: In the opening scene, Annie causes a house to get pelted with large stones by drawing black vertical lines on a picture of it.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Not just the fact that, as is often the case when a failure of special effects comes into play, seeing the ghosts/zombies is actually less scary than the unknown of not seeing them. It also applies in the sense that many of the more ominous shots, if they don't involve Darkness Equals Death (and often even when they do), are ones in which nothing is happening and a great deal of empty space and quiet is featured.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: An effective but painful variation with Annie; thanks to her incredible powers, she has a better understanding of the house than anyone else and even witnesses things none of the others do, or can...but she can't tell anyone because she's autistic. This becomes especially upsetting when she sees Vic with Evil!Pam but cannot see the latter, only Vic talking to himself; she tries to get Steve and Rachel's attention, but they don't understand, leaving her to sit down in a crying huff and Vic to be led to his death.
  • Only Sane Man: Nick. In the prequel, Sukeena plays this part for most of the novel.
  • Parental Favoritism: Ellen loved both her children dearly, but John only cared for his son Adam.
  • Parental Neglect: Annie's mother ignores her due to fear over her child's autism and telekinetic abilities.
  • Pet the Dog: In a way, the house could be said to have one when the group first arrives, and Annie starts the old fountain running. Helped by the gentle, almost wistful music.
  • Psychic Powers: Unsurprisingly, since Joyce wanted to have the best team she could get for her excursion, the members of the team are all varied and have a number of useful powers, though not all of them get used to their full extent thanks to the Dwindling Party:
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Originally, Professor Miller was supposed to have a much larger role in events at the mansion. However, when his actor, David Dukes, died unexpectedly, the director was forced to enlarge the part of Mrs. Waterman and finish off Miller's role by using clever editing of the footage they had, plus a body double with a latex face mask. It's actually fairly seamless.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Joyce goes through this during the miniseries. In part one, she shows signs of the wacky. At the conclusion of part two, she becomes Laughing Mad. In part three, it's clear that she's Ax-Crazy, even showing that she's willing to let the house kill all of them to get what she wants. By the end she's determined to stay even after multiple people died in the place, they had just gotten the doors open again and it was clear that the house would kill them all if they stayed. She finally comes to her senses but way too late as everyone else has already left and she is taken by the house.
    • Emery also goes through this. After witnessing Vic's death of a heart attack, he convinces himself that it never really happened, despite everybody else's objections and goes off into the mansion himself, where he is tormented by Deanna and ends up in an apparently bottomless stairwell. He keeps slowly losing his mind, loses his fingers when the doors seal shut and begins considering killing Annie just to get out of the mansion. He then has to confront the spirit of his now-dead mother as she tries to pull him into a mirror and presumably eat him. He's shown to be back to normal afterward and seems to have made up for his Jerkass attitude toward the rest of the cast.
    • In the prequel, John and Ellen, though neither are super sane to begin with. John eventually develops a nasty opium habit and outright threatens murder for petty things. Ellen actively begins to wish death on people and feed the house.
  • Sapient House: Red Rose is alive.
  • Scenery Porn: Many of the interior shots of the mansion, particularly the foyer.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To a number of films and books, especially horror or Haunted House ones. Of note is Joyce's quote from Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House: "Some houses are born bad."
    • Emery considering the possibility of killing Annie to resolve the problems is very similar to The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "It's a Good Life".
    • The choice for Thornewood Castle as the physical stand-in for Rose Red, with it being designed in the Gothic Revival architectural style, causes it to look a great deal like the infamous haunted house Borley Rectory, and some of the black-and-white "period" images of Rose Red play up the similarity even more.
    • A student Joyce speaks to at her university has the last name Spruce, the maiden name of Stephen King's wife Tabitha.
  • Smug Snake: Professor Miller for certain. Bollinger has aspects of it as well, though they fade once he is forced to enter Rose Red.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The miniseries' "theme song" could be said to be the Theme from "A Summer Place". Aside from being one of Annie's favorite songs, however, it plays at various points during the supernatural happenings, is sung by April's ghost to Annie (and confused by Rachel for Annie's record player), and at the last is hummed by Joyce's ghost as the others leave and the house is slated for demolition.
  • Spooky Photo: While there is a painting of Ellen Rimbauer in the foyer of the house, it is never viewed as particularly ominous even with the tracking shots and the play of light and shadows on it. However, the wedding photo of the Rimbauers in the attic becomes positively nightmarish when Ellen's face morphs into a fanged corpse, which then lunges through the shattering glass at poor Cathy.
  • Stalker Shrine: Downplayed, and crossed with Shrine to the Fallen since the subject is dead, but the wall of photographs in Joyce's office depicting shots of both Rose Red and Ellen Rimbauer certainly has this vibe...especially in one shot when, after believing she's succeeded in getting Rachel and Annie onboard and is admiring the wall, she sits back in her chair with a disturbing and unsettling smile; the viewer can practically hear her thinking, "I'm coming (home), Ellen" as a parallel to Ellen's own enraptured words upon first seeing the completed mansion, "How beautiful you are, Rose Red."
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Deanna Petrie, Ellen Rimbauer and Pam.
  • Telepathy: Nick and Steve.
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: Whilst on their honeymoon, Ellen nearly dies from a foreign disease. In her diary, she called it "an unmentionable disease carried by men and suffered by women". Most likely African Sleeping Sickness due to John's infidelity.
  • Touch of the Monster: Deanna and Pam try to get Emery to leave his Plane of Existence by seducing him.
    "I'm hard up ladies, but I ain't that hard up!"
  • Trash the Set: What happens to Rose Red after Annie unleashes the stones upon it at the end.
  • Tyke Bomb: Joyce sees Annie as this.
  • Unrequited Tragic Maiden: Downplayed with Pam. It's made clear during the Establishing Character Moment scene in the bar between most of the psychics that she secretly has a crush on Steve...but thanks to him being involved with Joyce, she naturally never acts on it. For most of the miniseries Pam spends all her time worrying about Bollinger, rooming with Cathy, and being haunted by creepy dreams; she and Steve never even interact, with Pam tending to hover silently in the background (save for one scene, quickly ended and forgotten, when she takes advantage of the cluster manifestation in the parlor to grab onto Steve), and the one time they could have done so more romantically (the fun dance party when they order pizza the first night), he dances with Annie instead and she is left to dance with Vic. By the time Steve and Joyce are starting to drift apart due to the latter's Sanity Slippage, Pam has already died and it's Rachel Steve is getting close to (maybe). The tragedy is then inverted as Evil!Pam not only leads Vic to his doom, but turns into The Vamp to put the moves on Emery, and to cap it all off Pam's watery death makes her not only a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl but an undead version of The Ophelia.
  • The Voiceless: Annie, most of the time. Like The Quiet One, when she does speak, it is usually to impart something very important, at least to her. April is like this for a while in the prequel after Posey dies. It's implied the house used her as it used Annie.
  • Walking Wasteland: Both the grounds of Rose Red and the solarium/greenhouse, thanks to the place having been neglected for so long. Subverted, however, once the house begins feeding on everyone's psychic energy, resulting in a profusion of flowers and plant life in the greenhouse.
  • Where da White Women At?: Sukeena uses the inversion of this trope (at Ellen's behest) to lure John Rimbauer to his death. "And still I entice you!"
  • Whispering Ghosts: Appears at various points, usually whenever Annie is communing with the house (including before she ever even gets there, when she sees a reflection of its gargoyles in her wind chimes) or the house's power is on a rise, but the most common (and disturbing) version occurs at the end of part one when all of them are standing in the front courtyard and Steve declares the house is waiting for and wants them.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Emery, when it looked like the only way to escape. Joyce, once Annie was broken free of the house's control.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Everyone else is horrified when Emery suggests knocking out or even killing Annie to allow the group to escape Rose Red.