In the 1960's, director Roger Corman decided to make eight movies based on the works of the legendary Edgar Allen Poe. The first of these films was House of Usher, based on the Poe short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher." This movie was made by MGM Studios, shot in just 15 short days, and had a budget of $300,000. For comparison, take the Frankenstein budget of $250,000 almost 30 years sooner, which was in the middle of the Great Depression for a major movie production, and it's clear that the budget for this film was incredibly small. Yet, what would come from that would be one of, if not the greatest, adaptation of a Poe work ever made on film.
|That house just looks like crazy stuff goes on inside|
|Winthrop, Roderick, and Madeline.|
|Mourning the death of Madeline|
died. Winthrop searches for and eventually finds Madeline, who, angry that Roderick would bury her alive, seeks revenge on her brother. During the ensuing fight, the house catches fire and both Ushers perish. Winthrop escapes and sees the house sink into the swamp.
|Madeline strikes back|
In terms of special effects, this movie proves that less is more. For the most part, the only special effects are the use of different colored filters, doors closing by themselves, fog, and a little fire. Nonetheless, this movie was really psychadelic and trippy in spots. The dreamlike sequences made me feel like I was going a little crazy myself while watching this film. My favorite part of the movie, though, was the atmosphere that every scene had. The creepy Usher house, along with the soundtrack, really set the stage for a Grade A chiller that had me wanting to turn the lights on. All in all, this is an incredible film, and a true classic. So good, in fact, that in 2005, the film was listed with the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." If you ever have a chance to watch this movie, I highly recommend it.
|The always incredible Vincent Price as Roderick Usher|
House of Usher receives a 5 out of 5.
Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone.