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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best one in the series.
I personally think all the Roger Corman adaptations of E A Poe's short stories are unique, and have a special atmosphere of their own, but "The Fall Of The House of Usher" is the creepiest. A young man sets off into the New England countryside to find out what has happened to his beautiful fiacee, Madeline. When he arrives at the gloomy ancestral home he becomes...
Published on 20 Oct. 2004 by S. Hapgood

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2.0 out of 5 stars Very Boring
This film was released in 1960 and was the first of American International's Poe films, directed by Roger Corman and usually starring Vincent Price, among others. I cannot, however, understand the critical adulation that this film receives. I have watched it a few times and every time it has been a struggle to make it to the end credits. I find it an extremely boring...
Published 12 days ago by FJY


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best one in the series., 20 Oct. 2004
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S. Hapgood "www.sjhstrangetales.com" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD] (DVD)
I personally think all the Roger Corman adaptations of E A Poe's short stories are unique, and have a special atmosphere of their own, but "The Fall Of The House of Usher" is the creepiest. A young man sets off into the New England countryside to find out what has happened to his beautiful fiacee, Madeline. When he arrives at the gloomy ancestral home he becomes convinced that her eccentric brother, Roderick, is holding her captive. The truth, is ever, is not that simple though. Roderick appears to have become obsessed with his family's evil history, and believes that Madeline has inherited the Usher insanity. As such she should never marry and reproduce, the line must die out with them.
This isn't exactly a cheerful film. Living in the mansion, which is literally crumbling to pieces, set in a stagnant swamp, would be enough to drive anyone peculiar! But it still packs a powerful eerie punch. I particularly liked the scene where Roderick shows his visitor the unsavoury family portraits, and relates their terrible history. And the final shot of the ruined house abandoned in the fog-choked swamp is pure E A Poe.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spooky House with Vincent Price superb as Usual!, 6 Nov. 2004
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E. A. Redfearn "eredfearn2" (Middlesbrough) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD] (DVD)
One of a series of Edgar Allan Poe stories filmed on low budgets by Roger Corman makes a welcome addition on DVD. Like Pit and the Pendulam made afterwards, this is an all time classic. Very atmospheric with some very good sets (similar to Pit and the Pendulam which isnt surprising!) good set pieces and a fine eerie music score. Mark Damon arrives at the spooky Usher Mansion which is crumbling with decay to visit his fiance Madeliene Usher (Myrna Fahey) only to be warned off by her brother Roderick (Vincent Price) that they cannot marry due to the Usher curse of evil. Attempting to persuade Madeliene to escape the house results in her death and she is buried within the family tomb. From this point, the atmosphere really intensifies and the climax is wonderful to watch. Overall, its a fine production, despite its dated look. The actors hold the film together though, and is worth adding to any collection. Picture detail is quite good, sound isnt too bad either. A good buy.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fall of the house of usher, 1 Sept. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD] (DVD)
fantastic classic horror, if you are into decrepid 15th century manor house chillers where the plot drips decay and impendig dread with every creeking floor board, then this is for you...loved it in the 70's and still do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic horror from Roger Corman and Vincent Price, 25 Jun. 2013
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BlackBrigand (Norfolk UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD] (DVD)
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1960) R2 DVD

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 this movie again just recently for the first time in several years.

This was the first film 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. I missed the first UK release and first saw this film in the late-sixties as part of a four movie Sunday `Horror Night' of Vincent Price films.

Philip Winthrop played by Mark Damon arrives at the House of Usher, a gloomy mansion, to meet his fiancée Madeline Usher, Myrna Fahy to find that Madeline's brother Roderick, played by Vincent Price opposes the union as the Usher family is afflicted by a cursed bloodline which has driven all their ancestors to madness. Roderick foresees the family evils being propagated into future generations with a marriage to Madeline and tries to discourage Philip, who becomes increasingly desperate to take Madeline away; she agrees to leave with him, desperate to get away from her brother. During a heated argument with her brother, Madeline suddenly dies and is laid to rest in the family crypt beneath the house, but is she really dead or has her brother buried her alive?

All of the Corman films are absolute classics of the genre and should be part of any horror movie collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars America's response to Hammer Horror, 14 April 2012
By 
Autonome (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD] (DVD)
"The Fall of the House of Usher" feels and looks like a typically American response to Hammer Gothic horror movies. A response, but not a copy. Indeed, "Usher" is based on this most American of author, Edgar Allan Poe, while the "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" franchises of Hammer were solidly implanted into the Anglo-Irish DNA of the British Isles. Also one has to say that the writing effort of Richard Matheson, author of "Usher"'s screenplay,easily outdoes in style and complexity the laborious scribling of Jimmy Sangster. Roger Corman ("Usher"'s director) has also a better sense of pace and plot than Terry Fisher, who can drag on a little bit. Corman is also very imaginative: the dream scene, which must have been shot with a shoestring budget, is extremely well-done and quite spooky. Having said that, "Usher" present cardinal flaws that would be umimaginable in a Hammer movie: first the cast. Genius Vincent Price carries "Usher" on his vast shoulders but unfortunately the "romantic couple" made of Mark Damon and Myrna Fahey are forgotten as soon as they are off the screen - which does not happen often since the cast is limited to four characters. Bar Cushing and Lee, Hammer always had a team of regular actors and actresses that always made you feel that a Hammer film was an ensemble movie (Michael Ripper, Francis de Wolff, Hazel Court, Leo Mc Kern, Barbara Shelley, Oliver Reed, André Morell, etc etc...) and they were all unforgettable, one way or another. Also Hammer nevers overplays sentimentality. The problem in "Usher" is that each time the (un)happy couple meets or cuddles, there come the violins...which is unbearable. Hammer's approach, a bit rawer and less sensitive, makes for more efficient movies. Lastly, even if Corman and co do as best as they can in terms of art direction, no-one can replace genius Bernard Robinson at Hammer, irrespective of how good Daniel Haller is in Usher. The famed house of the title is a little bit too cardboard-looking for my taste - which would not have been a problem had it not played that central a role in the film.
Don't get me wrong though! This is a very successful movie, at par with a lot of Hammer efforts, and still very spooky at times (which a lot of "Hammer classics" aren't, fifty years later). "House of USher" is an extremely good first entry in the Corman/Poe cycle, that would have many successful siblings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First of a classic series, 10 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: The Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD] (DVD)
This was the first of Roger Corman's Poe adaptations and his first collaboration with Vincent Price, but there is no hesitancy or sense of searching in the movie. The style is fully formed, in the blighted forest awash with dry ice, the gothic décor, the inventive use of colour filters, the acting style. Little wonder that the Price/Corman/Poe collaboration lasted a further six movies.

This is a very cheap movie to make - cast of four, one set - but there is little sense of limitation as a result; only the final conflagration looks a bit wobbly. Most importantly, Price's style, developed in 50s horror films from "House of Wax" onwards, slots in perfectly with its blend of sinister and high camp, as arch as his eyebrows.

It's Price's slow deliberate delivery which dictates the pace of the film. No other star is as quietly spoken - both the other characters and the audience have to lean forward and strain to catch what he says. He also has a kind of stillness which, combined with his great height, contributes to his authority. At the same time, Price isn't remotely scary. This is dilettante terror; you can see the art collector and the gourmet cook behind the actor. We are purely into an exercise in high style, the visual equivalent of Poe's baroque prose, and certainly no worse, and no less entertaining for that.

Thematically "Usher" is close to "The Premature Burial", but with additional overtones of hereditary disease and mental illness. The spectre of syphilis is not far away, as well as Poe's own alcoholism.

"The House of Usher" is a slow burn for the first forty minutes, but the second half goes at a great lick, and is vintage Corman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gothic Style at its Best, 14 Oct. 2013
This review is from: The Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD] (DVD)
The Fall of the House of Usher is a brilliant gothic twist on the Edgar Allen Poe story. The great Vincent Price stars as Roderick Usher who believes his remaining family (his sister) is doomed alongside him for eternity. Her lover tries the whole film to convince her that her brother is crazy.

Usher stars only four cast members which adds even more eerie atmosphere in a set dressing of a damp mansion.

Price is incredible and is delivered the perfect screenplay by the late great Richard Matheson. Roger Corman directs with style and grace.

Look out after 10 minutes, Price's speech, it is just wonderful and can be watched again and again. You can't take your eyes off this film.

It's true that the last 15 minutes can be a struggle, since the film plays its card to early. However this is more than made up by a finale that you may not see coming.

A wonderful film by Corman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive!, 16 Nov. 2010
By 
Adrian Drew (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD] (DVD)
Critically, this version of the Poe short story has been very well received over the years and understandably so. Corman managed to capture the over-wrought style and pre-Freudian subtexts of the original well, and then made them accessible to a modern mass audience. Price is good in the lead, and the supporting cast are fine too. Richard Matherson's script is a clever reworking of Poe's themes. Decor and design are impressive and the music score is very much above average for such movies. Technically the disc is as good a quality as you can expect from an unrestored print although there is the occasional sparkle and end of reel deterioration. Thankfully the correct ratio is preserved as watching these movies on pan-and-scan is really not a good idea.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HOUSE OF PAIN, 30 April 2015
By 
MR SCULLY (Manchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD] (DVD)
This film is Creepy, Weird, Evil, Sinister all rolled into one, I love the opening titles plus the spooky old foggy mansion, which is crumbling and looks like it will fall down at any moment. Vincent price plays a timid and frail man called Roderick Usher, and any kind of loud noise sends him into panic and pain, his sister who is due to be wed is being kept prisoner by her brother, but then when her fiancé turns up to claim his wife to be, Roderick will try and stop him from taking her, he is convinced she has been cursed by evil, just like all the other Usher family members. This is a brilliant film and one of Vincent Price best films.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very Boring, 22 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: The Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD] (DVD)
This film was released in 1960 and was the first of American International's Poe films, directed by Roger Corman and usually starring Vincent Price, among others. I cannot, however, understand the critical adulation that this film receives. I have watched it a few times and every time it has been a struggle to make it to the end credits. I find it an extremely boring film, with literally very little horror at all, so to call it a horror film is very misleading. I find that classifying it as "A Gothic Melodrama" is a much more accurate description of it. Nothing of note happens at all during the duration of the film, apart from endless scenes of talking and padded out scenes. I know that old horror films have never been particularly action-packed, but this is tedious even by standards of years ago. It is one of Vincent Price's weakest films in my opinion, though the acting, sets and cinematography are all good, which is the only reason why I am giving it two stars, which is being generous. It is, without doubt, a feast for the eyes, but it won't give even a child nightmares. If you are looking for a classic horror film with plenty of drama, then you won't find it here. Radio Times gives it four stars, for some inexplicable reason. I only give it two. Judge for yourselves which is the most appropriate rating.
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The Fall Of The House Of Usher [DVD]
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