The Classic Horror Cast: House of Usher

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1 Response

  1. FictionIsntReal says:

    Corman’s House of Usher seemed great in contrast to Jean Epstein’s 1928 version. The added conflict worked for me, giving more justification for the guest’s original & continued presence (other than merely to be the survivor reporting what happened), and also means Madeleine can be torn between the optimism & pessimism of the two other characters. I wasn’t bothered by her having been in Boston, one can imagine that either she actually got worse or her brother convinced her of that. I agree that Roderick is sort of the villain in this version (although he’s implied to have known she was alive when he buried her in the story as well), but this addition of a villain didn’t bother me nearly as much as in Corman’s “Tales of Terror” segment for M. Valdemar. Since I watched that film right after, that’s another way in which contrast may have made this seem better.

    You complain that the house isn’t “split in half”, but we do see the walls cracking, even horizontally though I wouldn’t really expect that to be the case unless it was off balance. This is again better than Epstein’s version, where it’s just a fire caused by lots of wind & candles. Without actual onscreen characters, the crumbling house constitutes much of Jan Svankmajer’s stop-motion short film of the story. Speaking of which, he did a fantastic version of The Pit & the Pendulum by combining it with the classic non-Poe story “Torture by Hope”.

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