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Apparently due to some sort of legal wrangle this 13-part series of Edgar Allan Poe's classic works (made in 1995) was never aired... until now! I recently caught an episode on the Horror Channel and I think the real reason why it was never shown before is because it sucks! I'm quite forgiving of poor production values normally but everything about it looked cheap and nasty. They even titled the episode I saw "The Tell Tail (sic) Heart" which I think shows how little effort was put into it! I'm not sure how they convinced Christopher Lee to get involved but it probably seemed a good idea at the time. It should have stayed unaired as there are plenty of other "bad" adaptations out there which are far more entertaining - AVOID!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, the only real spoiler I am going to contribute is this. If you
were hoping to see screen adaptations here that really present Poe's
stories more or less as he wrote them, forget about it. True, some of
these episodes come a lot closer than did any of Vincent Price's
efforts, but that doesn't say much. The Price flicks went very far
afield, but they were entertaining. Some of these 12 episodes are not.
Some are. The general pattern with this series seems to be: keep Poe's
characters; keep a semblance of the original plot; extrapolate with
both plot and characters to get as much crude sex innuendo in as
possible. The worst offender in this regard is the two part "The Masque
of the Red Death", in which Christopher Lee plays "Prince Prospero".
Oddly, the most spectacular aspect of Poe's story is his lengthy
description of the seven colourful chambers at the Prince's great
"gala" masque party. Don't hold your breath waiting for it, because it
is completely omitted!
The best renditions on the DVD, to my taste at least, were "Mr. Valdemar" (note the shortened title), "The Cask of Amontillado", and "The Fall of the House of Usher". It's generally down hill from these. Acting and production values vary considerably, and the fact that filming and other production operations were carried on as far apart as South Africa and somewhere in the former Jugoslavia may have been a factor. I suppose it's nice that they made the effort, but the feeling may grow on one that the producers were exploiting Poe more than "realising" him.
The episode list as mentioned on the DVD box: 1-The Fall Of The House
Of Usher 2-The Oval Portrait 3-Berenice 4-The Black Cat 5-Ligeia 6-The
Cask Of Amontillado 7-Mr. Valdemar 8-The Tell-Tale Heart 9-Morella
10-The Pit And The Pendulum 11-The Masque Of The Red Death (parts one &
two) +BONUS PROGRAM biographical portrait of Edgar Allan Poe
Christopher Lee only does the intro and the final except for Masque of the red death in which he plays a leading part. This series have been made on a small budget something you can see quite clearly.
As far a i known the series stick pretty close to the stories but they never bring fear, drama or any kind of emotion to it's viewer. For Christopher Lee fans it is great to have seen But for E.A. Poe lovers... I have my doubts.
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