Great Halloween Movies: ‘House of Usher’
It’s that time of year again, kids. Welcome to the Defective Geek’s Second Annual “Great Halloween Movies” serial. I, your blogging host, will be sharing some of my favorite flicks to watch during the lovely month of October. I may not have Elvira’s amazing… attributes, but I’m sincere. That’s got to count for something, right? Hello?
I want to start off this year’s set with one of the greatest horror films out there, House of Usher.
House of Usher is based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, a man who in my opinion set the bar for the horror genre. The movie is about Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon), a young man who has traveled to the grand yet desolate mansion to propose to his love, the beautiful Madeline Usher (Myrna Fahey). The only problem is her possessive older brother, Roderick Usher, and the curse he claims has afflicted the Usher family for generations.
Rockerick is played by legend Vincent Price. Price had an uncanny ability as an actor. With a simple word and flicker of expression he could convey emotion with such delicacy and elegance. In this role he plays an older brother who’s protectiveness for his younger sister at times crosses the line of comfort. This clip displays Price’s incredible talent and the macabre atmosphere of the film:
This film is dark, the atmosphere gothic, and will leave a shiver in your spine. One of the reasons I am so fond of this story is because the “monster” is not a ghoul or goblin. Some could argue it’s the Usher curse, others could argue that the evil is set within the walls of the Usher mansion, or perhaps the monster is an idea in Roderick’s head. It will make you ask yourself if there is such a thing as curses, or do they only exist because we believe them to? Either way, the story will manage to make you cringe and leave the light on at night.
House of Usher was directed by Roger Corman, the man responsible for The Pit and the Pendulum, 1963’s The Raven, among other iconic horror films. This is one of my favorite films that he has done and I believe perfectly captures the essence of the short story. By the end of the film the events of the story come crashing down in an eerie fashion. To me this film is the epitome of gothic horror. Characters creep around at night in this dilapidated mansion using only the light provided by candles, the wind whistles through the curtains, and the prison is not the mansion, but the character’s minds.
Do yourself a favor and watch House of Usher. It’s the kind of story that gets under your skin and if you’re an only child, makes you very pleased to be so.