House of Usher

Watch House of Usher

"Edgar Allan Poe's demonic tale of The Ungodly... The Evil House of Usher"
  • Approved
  • 1960
  • 1 hr 19 min
  • 6.9  (15,290)
  • 75

In the 1960 film House of Usher, based on the classic Edgar Allan Poe story, Vincent Price plays Roderick Usher, a man burdened with a family curse that plagues him and his sister Madeline, played by Myrna Fahey. Roderick is tortured by a fear of premature burial and an obsession with the idea that Madeline is also cursed to die. Fortunately, help arrives in the form of a childhood friend, Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon), who is in love with Madeline and determined to save her from the madness that surrounds her.

The film opens with a sweeping vista of the Usher estate, a gothic structure that seems to blend into the natural landscape. The eerie music sets the tone for what is to come as the audience is introduced to Philip, who is riding a horse through the surrounding countryside. He is in pursuit of Madeline, whom he loves and has come to visit. After a brief conversation with her, it's clear that the house of the Ushers is far from a pleasant place to be, and as Philip enters the castle, Roderick's dark presence is felt immediately.

As the film progresses, Philip becomes increasingly concerned about Madeline's health and wellbeing, and with good reason. Roderick is convinced that she is dying and will not be satisfied until she is buried in the family crypt. Philip's attempts to save Madeline fall on deaf ears, as Roderick gets more and more erratic and paranoid.

Visually, the film is a triumph. The set design is impeccable, and the haunting sense of foreboding is brilliantly realised through the use of shadows, mist, and other similar devices. But it is Vincent Price's performance that is truly unforgettable. He is beguiling and repulsive, alternating between moments of piercing self-awareness and unhinged madness. His Roderick is a tortured figure, haunted by his own demons and consumed by his obsession with Madeline.

Mark Damon and Myrna Fahey are also impressive, with Damon bringing a grounded, pragmatic earnestness to Philip, while Fahey builds Madeline into a complex, multi-dimensional character who is both vulnerable and fiercely independent. There are a number of other small but memorable performances throughout the film, as well, each adding an additional layer of intrigue and unease to the proceedings.

The pacing of the film is deliberate, as Roger Corman, the film's director, slowly builds the tension and ramps up the dread. It's masterfully done, with each scene incrementally amplifying the terror, even as the audience is kept in a perpetual state of uncertainty as to what might happen next. The finale is suitably memorable, with a sense of tragedy that mirrors the bleakness of Poe's original work.

Overall, House of Usher is a chilling, unforgettable cinematic experience that has stood the test of time. It's a must-see for fans of gothic horror, and a brilliant showcase for Vincent Price's undoubted talents as an actor. With its haunting visuals, impeccable performances, and tightly-wound plot, it is a remarkable achievement and a true classic of the genre.

House of Usher is a 1960 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 19 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 75.

House of Usher
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 19 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (15,290)
  • Metascore