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House of Usher (1960)

 -  Horror  -  22 June 1960 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 6,770 users  
Reviews: 76 user | 85 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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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:

The House of Usher is no more - and the place whereon it stood is as if - it had never been. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

22 June 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Fall of the House of Usher  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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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

Roderick is shown playing a lute, but the sound we hear is a muted harpsichord. See more »

Quotes

Philip Winthrop: [as the house starts to rumble] How long has that been going on?
Bristol: So long I'm hardly aware of it anymore. It's just the settling of the house.
Philip Winthrop: That settling could cause this entire structure to collapse. That doesn't worry you?
Bristol: Oh no, sir. If the house dies, I shall die with it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
AN EXCELLENT START FOR ROGER CORMAN'S POE CYCLE
30 May 2001 | by (Queens, New York) – See all my reviews

"House of Usher" is an excellent start for Roger Corman's cycle of films based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe. There have been many remakes, but the Corman films remain the definitive statement. Corman was able to capture the feel of Poe's work and that's something that the remakes couldn't even touch. It also provides a tour de force for Vincent Price and establishes him as a great actor.

The film was shot on a budget of $270,000 and it looks GREAT. "House of Usher" is a fabulous calling card for American International Pictures, the distributor. Mostly known for making grade Z schlock, Corman's films gave AIP real class. This is also Corman's first film in CinemaScope and he makes the most of the widescreen here. It earns him a distinction of mine as a "Master of the Widescreen", or filmmakers who create complex and worthwhile compositions in the widescreen frame. The only problem is that the Poe films die on TV, due to the horrific "pan-and-scan" process. Luckily for us, American Movie Classics show these Poe films often in letterbox and MGM is releasing the cycle on letterboxed DVDs.

For a film that runs 85 minutes, "House of Usher" packs a lot into its' narrative. It is the most faithful of the Poe adaptations, although screenwriter Richard Matheson does take some liberties with the source material, as any great adaptation should. Floyd Crosby's CinemaScope photography is excellent as usual and Daniel Haller's elaborate sets make this look more expensive than it really is. Vincent Price's performance as Usher sets the tone for his future appearances in other Poe films. It neatly combines calm and frenzy together and I can't think of anyone else who would have done a better job. He should have received an Oscar nomination and maybe even the Oscar itself.

Note: "House of Usher" introduces the infamous "Burning Rafters" sequence. If you watch these Poe films back-to-back, you'll see this same sequence repeat itself over and over in several of the films (Tomb of Ligeia and The Raven come to mind). It is a mild criticism, but it is such a great sequence and it is so effectively shot that I didn't mind seeing it again and again.

**** out of 4 stars


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