A Trailer a day keeps the Boogeyman Away!! Fall of the House of Usher (1960)


Take a story by Edgar Allan Poe adapt it to the screen by Richard Matheson, let Roger Corman get his hands on it, then turn it over to the inimitable and urbane Vincent Price, and see several memorable masterpieces of the 1960s unfold in glorious color. One of my favorite Poe pieces Fall of The House of Usher! The marvelous film score is by Lex Baxter, and production designed by Daniel Haller (Die Monster Die 1965, The Dunwich Horror 1970)

Price inhabits the character of Roderick Usher with his ineffable agility to be both fierce and sympathetic all at once. Tortured by a family curse, a mysterious and tormenting affliction that makes even the slightest sound, taste, sight or touch abject torture for his senses, experience them so acutely that it’s maddening.

The story opens with Philip Winthrop played by Mark Damon arriving at the Usher estate seeking his beloved Madeline (Myrna Fahey) While Roderick spirals into a broken and stricken man, Madeline becomes catatonic. Reluctantly Roderick relates the history of the Usher family curse to Philip, hoping to send him away and spare Madeline and himself from any further anguish. They can never be together.

Also underlying is a very strong incestuous undercurrent to Roderick and Madeline’s relationship. The Ushers are doomed to go insane and die a horrible death!

See this Gothic tale of madness brimming over with ancient curses, torture, incest, premature burial and necrophilia!

The atmosphere, the effectively creepy paintings by Burt Shonberg ,set design, cinematography by Floyd Crosby who also worked on Pit And The Pendulum 1961 and High Noon 1952)both beautifully photographed…

And the use of color that Corman uses in his pallet create these Gothic pieces based on the master Poe, offering a deliciously sinister realm, that is both haunting and terrifying at times.

“I heard her first feeble movements in the coffin… we had put her living in the tomb!”

Happy Trailers MonsterGirl!

2 thoughts on “A Trailer a day keeps the Boogeyman Away!! Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

    1. I agree Mike, next to Pit and The Pendulum, House of Usher has a slick self contained pace that boils until it explodes into a nightmarish colorful opera. Love it! Price is a master, and thank god Corman took wonderful risks!

Leave a Reply