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Fall of the House of Usher & Pit & Pendulum [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]


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Product details

  • Actors: Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, John Kerr, Luana Anders, Antony Carbone
  • Directors: Roger Corman
  • Writers: Edgar Allan Poe, Richard Matheson
  • Producers: Roger Corman, James H. Nicholson, Samuel Z. Arkoff
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Feb 2005
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007R4T12
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 180,067 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

The success of The Fall of the House of Usher in 1960 spurred American International Pictures to quickly launch another production based on an Edgar Allan Poe story. While producer-director Roger Corman had hoped to next adapt "The Masque of the Red Death" (which wasn't produced until 1964), Pit and the Pendulum (the on-screen title) became the second in AIP's long-running Poe series. Set in post-Inquisition Spain, the film stars John Kerr as a young Englishman who travels to the seaside castle of his brother-in-law (Vincent Price) to uncover the circumstances behind the death of his sister (a dubbed Barbara Steele). Price is tormented by memories of his mother's premature burial by his inquisitor father (also Price) and fears that this sadistic legacy has contributed to Steele's demise. Furthermore, he believes that Steele was also buried alive--a belief compounded by the mysterious destruction of her room, and the sound of her harpsichord playing in the night...

Structured almost identically to Usher, Richard Matheson's script fleshes out the brief original text with a fast-paced and twist-filled plot that never loses sight of the psychological themes of Poe's work. It also provides Price with the richest of his many AIP/Poe roles, a sympathetic, deeply emotional man who is unhinged by the sins of his father. Corman's direction is equally driven and fluid, and features some impressive quasi-psychedelic visuals in the tense climax. Also noteworthy is art director's Daniel Haller's impressive design of the title set piece. --Paul Gaita, amazon.com

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BlackBrigand on 25 Jun 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1960) & THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (1961)
Midnite Movies Double Feature R1 DVD NTSC

Back in the 1980s I replaced most of my collection of 8mm movies with VHS and I have been going through a same process of upgrading to DVD for the last few years. This has given me the excuse to revisit many films that I have not seen for some time and I have watched these two movies again just recently for the first time in several years.

These were the first two movies directed by Roger Corman based on the stories of Edgar Allen Poe in a series of eight; all but one starring Vincent Price, the intention was to film ten but suitable screenplays were not forth coming for other Poe stories and the filming ended after `The Tomb of Ligea' in 1964.

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER was the first attempt by American International Pictures to move `up-market' into main stream feature movies, their speciality at that time having been the making of black and white B movies for which there was a rapidly shrinking market. `The Fall of the House of Usher' was directed by Roger Corman who had a reputation for bringing in productions under schedule and under budget which suited AIPs dwindling resources; the screenplay was by Richard Matheson and this first film featured Vincent Price as the only well known star in the casting list. The film was shot in only fifteen days and came in well under the $300,000 budget and was received less than well by the critics who criticised Price's over-the-top, tongue in cheek style and Corman's loose interpretation of Poe's short story, but was a success in the US theatres, and then as now was a great favourite with audiences in Europe.
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2 of 23 people found the following review helpful By FAMOUS NAME VINE VOICE on 21 Sep 2008
Format: DVD
PLEASSE NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS FOR 'HOUSE OF USHER' ONLY:

An alternative title could be: 'Mad Madeline'!

'The Fall Of The House Of Usher' is an odd film. It's comparatively short (just one and a quarter hours) yet can seem considerably longer. A meagre cast with very little happening for most of its duration. However, this is based on a novel by Edgar Allan Poe, (which I have not yet read but intend to) and I should imagine that the book is probably more atmospheric. Not that the movie did not try to capture this, but somehow the house interior for me was just not 'creepy' enough. The guy's distinctive 1950s hairstyle did not help...

This is a movie for some reason I watch time and time again - not sure why though.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 42 reviews
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
When AIP went color 14 Dec 2005
By joseph Corey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
These two films revolutionized AIP. No longer were they pumping out black and white Academy aspect ratio films that became double features. Now they were making color cinemascope features. Both of these films feature Poe stories with Vincent Price in the lead and Roger Corman behind the lens. And they truly remind us that Corman made some great movies during his time at AIP. The Pendulum is truly a scary set.

These are essentials for your DVD collection if you have a Psychotronic shelf.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Great deal, & a note about this 2 sided DVD - Side B issues 14 May 2007
By microjoe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This series of 2 film DVD's from MGM in their "Midnight Movies Double Feature" collection is a great deal. Keep in mind the films is the series may not be MGM pictures, they are just the DVD distributor. The movies are decently priced, and they usually do a good job of matching up 2 movies in a theme. This set is no exception, with two American International Pictures films based on stories by Edgar Alan Poe, both featuring the great Vincent Price and both directed by Roger Corman with screenplays by Richard Matheson, and both feature music by Les Baxter.
First up we have the "Fall of House of Usher", from 1960, in color. It is presented in 16x9 Widescreen, and it runs a brisk 1 hour 20 minutes. Screenwriter Richard Matheson gives the Poe story a good treatment with plenty of plot twists, scaring the pants off of us as a family lusting for power is driven to savagery. The Film Daily in its review at the time described the stories "brooding evil and sinister suspense". The film was a big hit with the movie going public at the time, hitting the top 5 of box office sales for the year, and encouraged the studio to produce more Poe stories.

Next film is "The Pit and the Pendulum", from 1961, in color, presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen letterbox format. This movie is also 1 hour 20 minutes in length and is a fast paced film. The Hollywood Reporter described this film on release as "eerie and excellent", and they hit the mark. Corman improved on the formula for Usher, and the Pit was a smashing success. The story builds suspense as British man (John Kerr) visits a castle in Spain, owned by his wife's brother (Vincent Price), in order to investigate her death. She is played by Barbara Steele. The inquisition has recently ended, but Price fears he has inherited has sadistic and murderous traits of his father, who was an inquisitor. Price, who also plays his father, was given a more complex role with some meat on it and seems to be enjoying himself. A real spine-tingler, the scenes with the pendulum were incredible. The castle and dungeon scenes are very atmospheric partly due to the talented art design for the set by Daniel Haller.

EXTRAS & DVD ISSUES:: There is an audio commentary by Director Corman for "Usher", and the Theatrical Trailer. The "Pit" has the original trailer, audio commentary by director Corman who regales us with explanations about his camera trickery and techniques. We are also gifted with a rare prologue filmed for the Pit movie's TV release in 1968. No insert or booklet included. The image and sound are very clean and appear to be remastered, the colors are bright for the period. The only complaint is, on the DVD I purchased the second movie "the Pit and the Pendulum" is on the reverse side, side B. I have other movies like this and it seems to work OK, but on this one it just would not play. I tried it on other players and same story. I did buy another copy later that worked fine. Make sure you at least "test" the DVD when it arrives. All in all, I highly recommend this DVD, it is a keeper.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Corman double bill 16 Feb 2007
By Bennett Theissen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The first two American International-Roger Corman Poe features on one dvd -- great idea, and fine execution. Corman's commentary is very nice to have as well. Pit and Pendulum I first saw at a drive in when I was quite young, and the movie scared the hell out of me. These films have high, for AIP, production values, and look great here. My only question is the odd "theatrical prologue" for Pit and Pendulum, which is not really explained. I do not recall seeing it on the film's first release. Still, this is a dvd I would highly recommend for Corman and AIP and gothic horror fans.

February 2008 update: The P&P "theatrical prologue" turns out to be something shot for the ABC-TV premiere showing, and has nothing to do with the rest of the film. Luana Anders appears in the prologue, an interesting bit. I do wish this information were provided on the DVD!

Also, the reviewers who put this film down have really got to think about the time it was made. It is really a wild and valid interpretation, and one to savor.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Usher is better... 9 Jan 2009
By R. A. Churchman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I was searching for a film version of "The Fall of the House of Usher" for my classroom when I found this. My students (11th graders)absolutely loved it! I was so excited. Vincent Price is a master at that over-the-top psycho creepy guy. "Usher" is a great film rendition; however, I was very disappointed with "The Pit and the Pendulum." I love Poe's work, but this film version stuck very little to the story. It is a good movie in and of itself, but if one is looking for a film to show with the story, this isn't it. All together though, this is a great deal, and it's like getting two movies for the price of one!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINCENT PRICE ....... GENIUS 27 Aug 2007
By glenn zocchi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
YES, THATS WHAT I SAID GENIUS . PRICE BRINGS SO MUCH ENERGY AND FUN TO THESE TWO INCREDIBLY MOODY AND ATMOSPHERIC CLASSICS IT WOULD BE CRIMINAL NOT TO BUY THIS PACKAGE . THESE TWO FILMS SHOWCASE NOT ONLY A BRAND OF HORROR RARELY SEEN THESE DAY ( EXCEPTION TIM BURTONS SLEEPY HOLLOW )OMINOUS AND CREEPY, BUT THEY ALSO GIVE THE FILM BUFF A GLIMPSE OF THE FANTASTIC FILMING OF MAVERICK ROGER CORMAN . I CANNOT RECOMMEND A BETTER DOUBLE FEATURE IF YOU LIKE ME ENJOY LATE NIGHT CREATURE FEATURES ON A SATURDAY NIGHT . A BARGAIN .
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