The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer (miniseries)

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The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer
DVD cover
Distributed by ABC
Lions Gate Entertainment (US DVD)
Warner Home Video (worldwide DVD)
Directed by Craig R. Baxley
Produced by Thomas H. Brodek
Written by Stephen King (characters)
Ridley Pearson (novel and teleplay)
Starring Lisa Brenner
Steven Brand
Tsidii Le Loka
Music by Gary Chang
Cinematography João Fernandes
Editing by Sonny Baskin
Language English
Release date
  • May 12, 2003 (2003-05-12)
Running time 88 minutes

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer is a 2003 television miniseries prequel to the film Rose Red (2002). Directed by Craig R. Baxley, the film stars Lisa Brenner as Ellen Rimbauer, Steven Brand as John Rimbauer, and Tsidii Le Loka as Sukeena.


The miniseries is an adaptation of The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red (2001), written by Ridley Pearson under the pseudonym Joyce Reardon, Ph.D. Pearson's novel was based on the script of Stephen King's Rose Red.

The plot revolves around the construction of the Rimbauer mansion, Rose Red, in Seattle, Washington, USA. The film traces a series of mysterious accidents throughout the mansion's early history which eventually leads it to being haunted.

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer is a prequel to the 2002 TV miniseries Stephen King's Rose Red. In its efforts to "explain" the supernatural events in the earlier project, it is set at the turn of the 20th century, when the stately, sinister Rose Red mansion is constructed by powerful Seattle oil magnate John Rimbauer (Steven Brand) as a wedding present for his timid, submissive young bride, Ellen (Lisa Brenner). Rimbauer owned an oil company, and used much of his wealth to build the mansion, which was in the Tudor-Gothic style and situated on 40 acres (160,000 m2) of woodland in the heart of Seattle, Washington, in the United States. The site was a Native American burial ground (a common motif in early works by author Stephen King). The house appeared cursed even as it was being constructed: Three construction workers were killed on the site, and a construction foreman was murdered by a co-worker.

Shortly after her marriage to Rimbauer, Ellen began keeping a remarkable diary. This diary became the secret place where Ellen could confess her anxieties about her new marriage, express her confusion over her emerging sexuality and contemplate the nightmare that her life was becoming. The diary not only follows the development of a girl into womanhood, it follows the construction of the Rimbauer mansion—called Rose Red—an enormous home that would be the site of so many horrific and inexplicable tragedies in the years ahead.

At first impressed by her husband's extravagance, Ellen eventually comes to hate and fear John, especially when learning a few unsavory facts about his past. Meanwhile, the mansion seems to be festooned with ghosts, possibly those of the many people close to John who have mysteriously vanished. The eerie moanings and manifestations are interpreted as a warning to Ellen that she, too, may some day disappear without a trace.

As revealed in the miniseries, Ellen Rimbauer and her maid and closest friend Sukeena continue to live in the house. Ellen believed that if she continued to build the house, she would never die. Rimbauer used nearly all of her dead husband's fortune to continually add to the home over the next several decades, enlarging it significantly (in a plot element reminiscent of the real-life construction of the Winchester Mystery House). Mysterious disappearances continued: Deanna Petrie, an actress friend of Ellen Rimbauer's, and Sukeena both disappeared over the next few years. Ellen Rimbauer herself disappeared in 1950, though through supernatural means, the house continued to grow, with new rooms, hallways, and staircases appearing overnight.

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