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, tracing a series of mysterious accidents throughout the mansion's early history which cause it to become cursed. Set at the turn of the 20th century, the stately, sinister 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 uses much of his wealth to build the mansion in the Tudor neo-Gothic style and situate it on 40 acres of woodland. The site has been a Native American burial ground. The house appeared cursed even as it was being constructed: three construction workers are killed on the site, and a construction foreman is murdered by a co-worker.
Shortly after her marriage to Rimbauer, Ellen begins keeping a diary in which she confesses her anxieties about her new marriage, expresses her confusion over her emerging sexuality, and contemplates the nightmare that her life is becoming. Ellen soon has two children which helps soothe her painful relationship with her husband. First, a boy named Adam, and then a girl (born with a deformed withered arm) named April. At first impressed by her husband's extravagance, Ellen eventually hates and fears John, especially when learning unsavory facts about his past. Meanwhile, the number of individual hauntings in the mansion increases, possibly including ghosts of the many people close to John who have mysteriously vanished. Ellen interprets the eerie manifestations as a warning that she, too, may some day disappear without a trace.
Years after her young daughter April also vanishes inside the estate, Ellen and her maid and confidant Sukeena still continue to live in the house. After John's death, Ellen believes that if she continues to build the house, she will never die. She uses nearly all of her inherited fortune to continually add to the home over the next several decades, enlarging it significantly. Rose Red begins growing by itself, adding new hallways, new corridors, new rooms and new staircases seemingly overnight. But mysterious disappearances continue: Deanna Petrie, a famous actress friend of Ellen's, and Sukeena both disappear over the next few years. Ellen herself disappears in 1950, never to be seen again.