“The Usher line is tainted, sir.”
When a man (Mark Damon) visits his fiancee (Myrna Fahey) at her house, the butler (Harry Ellerbe) warns him to stay away and Fahey’s protective brother (Vincent Price) insists he must leave — but Damon is determined to rescue and marry Fahey at any cost.
- Edgar Allan Poe Films
- Historical Drama
- Horror Films
- Old Dark House
- Roger Corman Films
- Vincent Price Films
Peary writes that this “first of Roger Corman’s successful Edgar Allen Poe series for AIP” — followed by (among others) The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Tales of Terror (1962), The Raven (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964), and The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) — was, like the majority, “set in decaying, oppressive, life-consuming mansions that represented the minds of their unfortunate inhabitants”. He points out that “because there are only four people in the film”, screenwriter “Richard Matheson was stuck with the problem of writing a horror movie in which nothing could happen to anyone until the end” — so he “inserted numerous filler scenes that are there strictly for atmosphere”, and “to take up more time, his characters use about 10 lines when one or two would suffice.” However, Peary concedes that “the house is designed interestingly by Daniel Haller, the photography by Floyd Crosby is properly moody, and the film includes a typical flamboyant performance by Price (who was to these films what John Wayne was to Hawks and Ford westerns).” I’m in full agreement with Peary’s assessment; this one isn’t must-see but is worth a look, particularly for Price.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Vincent Price’s delightfully hammy performance as Roderick Usher
- Fine direction by Corman
- Atmospheric cinematography and sets
No, though it’s worth a one-time look.