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House of Usher (1960)

 -  Horror  -  22 June 1960 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 7,271 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 91 critic

A man, upon entering his fiancées's family mansion, discovers a savage family curse and fears that his future brother-in-law has entombed his bride-to-be prematurely.

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Title: House of Usher (1960)

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A traveller arrives at the Usher mansion to visit his old friend, Roderick Usher. Upon arriving, however, he discovers that Roderick and his sister, Madeline, have been afflicted with a ... See full summary »

Director: Ivan Barnett
Stars: Gwen Watford, Kay Tendeter, Irving Steen
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Mark Damon ...
Philip Winthrop
Myrna Fahey ...
Harry Ellerbe ...
Bristol
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Storyline

After a long journey, Philip arrives at the Usher mansion seeking his loved one, Madeline. Upon arriving, however, he discovers that Madeline and her brother Roderick Usher have been afflicted with a mysterious malady: Roderick's senses have become painfully acute, while Madeline has become catatonic. That evening, Roderick tells his guest of an old Usher family curse: any time there has been more than one Usher child, all of the siblings have gone insane and died horrible deaths. As the days wear on, the effects of the curse reach their terrifying climax. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher and Nina <rocher@fiberbit.net><sinadone@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He buried her alive... to save his soul! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

22 June 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Fall of the House of Usher  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)
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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film marked a major change in the career of Roger Corman. Instead of producing two low-budget black-and-white films for release as a double feature, American-International agreed that he could use the budget to produce one higher-budget movie, in CinemaScope and color instead. See more »

Goofs

As Phillip leaves his room to go to supper you hear the house start to rumble and it shows the hallway shaking,you can tell that this is done by having the camera moved around as the candles and other miscellaneous items in the hall don't move at all. See more »

Quotes

Roderick Usher: Madeline and I are like figures of fine glass. The slightest touch and we may shatter. Both of us suffer from a morbid acuteness of the senses. Mine is the worst for having existed the longer, but both of us are afflicted with it. Any sort of food more exotic then the most pallid mash is unendurable to my taste buds. Any sort of garment other then the softest, is agony to my flesh. My eyes are tormented by all but the faintest illumination. Odors assail me constantly, and as I've said, sounds ...
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Connections

Referenced in Elvira's Haunted Hills (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"I suggest you live, mr. Winthrop. No? Then perish with us".
5 October 2003 | by (Buenos Aires, Argentina) – See all my reviews

This is Roger Corman´s first Edgar Allan Poe-based movie and probably the best of them all in terms of direction, acting and script. It´s certainly the best adapted one, because it manages to build a larger story around the events of the tale without borrowing material from other tales and without making it seem obvious, unlike the sequels. Anyway, probably my favorite is still "Masque of the red death" which is also my favorite Poe tale. The rest deserves a look, of course, but it doesn´t get any better.

Vincent Price stars as Roderick Usher, a man obsessed with the tragic history of the Usher clan, filled with psychopats, murderers of all kinds and people who die of incurable illnesses. He forces his sister Madeline (Myrna Fahey) to stay in the house waiting for death to spare the world the horrors of the Usher family in years to come and even builds two separate coffins for them. Madeline´s fiancee (Mark Damon) goes looking for her to the house and is received by the obedient butler Bristol (Harry Ellerbe). From there on this four characters will go through a lot of arguing, running around the House (which, like in the Poe tale, is a character itself, one of a really menacing nature) and digging on ancient secrets. Any Corman or Poe afficionado can figure out the rest of the story by himself, but it´s a joy to watch it evolve here.

The star of the show is Vincent Price, of course. He puts in a black robe or a red silk suit and speaks in a low, soft, modulated voice, throwing his overwrought dialogue while the others just stare at him with surprise and fear. He has a special weakness of the hearing (I have the same problem, BTW, although not to this extent) and in one scene the fiancee screams at him hard enough to make him twitch in pain. In that scene you realize just what a genius he is. The set decoration is also to be noted (you won´t forget easily the paintings of the Usher family members by Burt Schonberg), as is the music and practically everything that sets the unbelievable mood this movie has.


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