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House of Usher (1960)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror | 23 September 1960 (Japan)
Upon entering his fiancée's family mansion, a man discovers a savage family curse and fears that his future brother-in-law has entombed his bride-to-be prematurely.

Director:

Roger Corman

Writers:

Edgar Allan Poe (based on "The Fall of The House of Usher"), Richard Matheson (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Vincent Price ... Roderick Usher
Mark Damon ... Philip Winthrop
Myrna Fahey ... Madeline Usher
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:

Mystery!...Terror!....Suspense! that out-shocks DRACULA and FRANKENSTEIN! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM Studios [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 September 1960 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Fall of the House of Usher See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Alta Vista Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Ryder Sound Services)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The rental studio left the small basement staircase set standing after production wrapped, so Roger Corman reused it in subsequent films. See more »

Goofs

In the church, Roderick has the head of Madeline's coffin, but while going down the stairs he has the foot of the coffin. In the next shot, entering the crypt, Roderick has the head of the coffin again. See more »

Quotes

Roderick Usher: Last night you asked me about the singular aridity of the land around this house. Once this land was fertile, farms abounded. Earth yielded her riches at harvest time. There were trees and plant life, flowers. Fields of grain. There was great beauty here. At that time this water was clear and fresh. Swans glided upon its crystal surface. Animals came to its bank, trustingly, to drink. But this was long before my time.
Philip Winthrop: Why do you tell me these things?
Roderick Usher: And then something crept across the land and...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to remove a shot of Madeline's bloodstained hands held to her face. All later versions were uncut. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Corman makes Poe proud
17 December 2004 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

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.


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