17 December 2004 | The_Void
Corman makes Poe proud
The first of Roger Corman's adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe stories stars Vincent Price as the head of the Usher house; Roderick Usher. Roderick Usher believes that there is an evil curse on his family, a curse that is also the reason for his and his sister's affliction. Because of this curse of evil, he doesn't want the Usher family line to continue and so he has decided to do all in his power to stop it. However, his sister, Madeline's fiancé has come to the Usher house to take her back with him, but Roderick knows that this will mean that the Usher family line will continue and he cannot allow the evil to spread across the world....
Roger Corman is often seen as a 'cheap' director because of the vast amount of films that he has made. Although this is certainly somewhat true as a few of them aren't particularly good; if you take a look at his Poe films, this couldn't be further from then truth. Here, Corman creates a constantly morbid and foreboding atmosphere; not with shocks or other cheap methods, but by simple things such as smoke, an old house and it's creepy inhabitants that utter the most malevolent of lines, some of which are truly bone chilling. Of course, this movie benefits implicitly from the presence of a man that is maybe horror's purest actor; Vincent Price. Price was born to play roles like Roderick Usher, and anyone that sees this film wont find it hard to see why. Vincent Price delivers his lines with just the right tone in order to make him obviously evil, but yet pathetic at the same time; just how the character should be played. When it comes to the 'greatest actor of all time' awards, Vincent Price never gets mentioned, but this is a great injustice; as anyone who has seen a number of films will know.
Corman also succeeds in creating a constant sense of intrigue, and the audience is left hanging on every moment, as we can't wait to see what happens next. Of course, Edgar Allen Poe can take much of the credit for this as the great man did write the story that it was based on, but Corman comes off looking good as well as it is his direction that makes the story so consistently thrilling. The movie also benefits from some very lavish sets, which gives the movie it's upper class dinosaur feel. The house itself is a great piece of horror imagery; it is responsible for most of the atmosphere that is present in the movie.