Monday, October 27, 2014

The Fall of the House of Usher

(1960)
***1/2
Combining the two best things about October: Vincent Price and Edgar Allan Poe. Thrrrrilling! I had read the book as a kid who had just discovered Poe via The Simpsons (I know, I know, damn Millenials!) and wanted to know more about the writer that dabbled in the macabre. 

Philip Winthrop (a character created for the movie) has ridden all the way from Boston to call upon his fiancee Madeline Usher; however, her overprotective brother Roderick does everything in his power to prevent Winthrop from riding away into the sunset with his belle. Madeline has allegedly fallen ill and is nearly bedridden, won’t eat, and isn’t interested in going out or doing anything. I don’t know what Philip sees in this girl: she’s cute as a button, but they just didn’t seem to have much chemistry.

Vincent Price as Roderick Usher is surprising as he bears no mustache and a head full of hair bleached whiter than Billy Idol. He has confined himself to the Usher house due to his hypersensitivity to light, touch, noise, good savory food, and anything else fun. The whole Usher family is allegedly driven to madness at some point in their life and destroy the people around them. Rodrick recounts this Usher legacy to Winthrop, littered with “foul souls” who committed foul deeds. He warns Winthrop that marrying Madeline will only spread the Usher ee-vil. But Winthrop is convinced it is Rodrick who is the only ee-vil one in the household.
At first it felt strained to make a feature-length movie of Poe’s short story, but retold through Price’s priceless pipes and with the addition of Madeline’s fiancee Philip, it settled into a comfortable pace for a 60’s costume thing.

5 comments:

Octopunk said...

Ooooh! I had a vague notion there was a movie of this and maybe I even knew Vincent Price was in it, but I had no idea he was clean-shaven and bleached like Billy! That's great!

Crystal, your intellectual/Millenial guilt is hilarious. So it was the Simpsons! Great! Whatever it takes! I learned the legend of The Sword and the Stone from a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Crystal Math said...

Octo, I felt the same way yesterday when I busted out into TLC's "Waterfalls" and a kid said he heard that on some tv show. At least he's getting some culture.

The funny thing is, I didn't find out until recently I could be categorized as a Millenial. I thought my birth year lay sometime after the Gen Xers and waaaaay before the Millenials. The students I teach were born in 2000 or 2001. To me, they are the true Millenials. It's like finding out you're part Cherokee princess and then not knowing how to handle it. Do I flaunt it or keep it a secret?

Catfreeek said...

I love Vincent Price, love pretty much anything he was in. I used to have this on vhs back in the day. Great pick.

JPX said...

The entire time I thought you were talking about The House on Haunted Hill,a silly film I love, but then I realized that you were talking about the Poe story! I've never seen this nor knew it existed, nice find!

AC said...

sounds worth a watch!

bet i'm not the only one who initially learned about classical music via cartoons... was anyone in our generation ever exposed to wagner prior the (totally genius) bugs bunny "what's opera, doc?"