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.