“Edgar Allan Poe’s overwhelming tale of EVIL & TORMENT”
House of Usher (also known as The Fall of the House of Usher and The Mysterious House of Usher) is an American horror film directed by Roger Corman and written by Richard Matheson from the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe. The film was the first of eight Corman/Poe feature films and stars Vincent Price, Myrna Fahey, Mark Damon and Harry Ellerbe.
In 2005, the film was listed with the United States National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Philip Winthrop (Damon) travels to the House of Usher, a desolate mansion surrounded by a murky swamp, to meet his fiancée Madeline Usher (Fahey). Madeline’s brother Roderick (Price) opposes Philip’s intentions, telling the young man that the Usher family is afflicted by a cursed bloodline which has driven all their ancestors to madness. Roderick foresees the family evils being propagated into future generations with a marriage to Madeline and vehemently discourages the union. Philip becomes increasingly desperate to take Madeline away; she agrees to leave with him, desperate to get away from her brother.
During a heated argument with her brother, Madeline suddenly dies and is laid to rest in the family crypt beneath the house. As Philip is preparing to leave following the entombment, the butler, Bristol (Ellerbe), lets slip that Madeline suffered from catalepsy, a condition which can make its sufferers appear dead.
Philip rips open Madeline’s coffin and finds it empty. He desperately searches for her in the winding passages of the crypt but she eludes him and confronts her brother. Now completely insane, Madeline avenges herself upon the brother who knowingly buried her alive. Both die as a fire breaks out, ending the Usher bloodline, and Philip escapes and watches the burning house sink into the swampy land surrounding it. The film ends with the final words of Poe: “…and the deep and dank tarn closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the ‘House of Usher'”. [Wikipedia]
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