Videodrome, the titular t.v. show in the Cronenberg film, is set in a red room of pain, of murder, of torture cum porn. A room known by any other colour would not make the pain half as real. “Red is the great clarifier,” said Diana Vreeland, who called her red-papered, red-carpeted living room “the garden in hell.”
In Twin Peaks, the Red Room is a limbo, a subliminal place, where dream-people deliver messages and a dead girl is limned. In Japanese urban legend, the Red Room is an Internet pop-up that will x out your life.
I knew of only one red room, the one at Gateshead Mansion to which Jane of Jane Eyre is sent as punishment, when I told my parents I wanted to paint my room red.
“You’re asking to go crazy,” said my mother. “What about something less like blood,” said my father, “and more like watermelon?”
At night I crept to the study and unlocked the door to a chat room, where my name was Alyssa and I was 19, a model and waitress. Greg, a 30-year-old brain surgeon, did not believe me. He wanted to spank me until my bottom “looked like a fire truck.” I fled back to bed. Freshly painted, the walls were a bath against my skin.