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The Fall of the House of Usher (1979)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror | TV Movie 25 July 1982
It is the year 1839. Architect Jonathan Criswell receives a letter from his old friend Roderick Usher asking Jonathan to come and see him. Arriving along with his newlywed wife Jennifer, ... See full summary »


James L. Conway


Stephen Lord, Edgar Allan Poe (story)


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Cast overview:
Martin Landau ... Roderick Usher
Charlene Tilton ... Jennifer Cresswell
Ray Walston ... Thaddeus
Robert Hays ... Jonathan Cresswell
Dimitra Arliss ... Madeline Usher
Peggy Stewart ... Barmaid
Michael Ruud Michael Ruud
H.E.D. Redford H.E.D. Redford


It is the year 1839. Architect Jonathan Criswell receives a letter from his old friend Roderick Usher asking Jonathan to come and see him. Arriving along with his newlywed wife Jennifer, Jonathan finds Roderick and his sister Madeleine aged beyond their years. Roderick tells him how they have both been maddened by a crippling hyper-alertness of senses. In trying to find a way of bolstering the Usher house against frequent earth tremors, Jonathan learns of the unspeakable atrocities and devil worship practiced by Roderick's ancestors. These have brought a curse on the House of Usher, meaning that none of the family can live beyond their 37th year. Jonathan must try to save the house in doing so he will be helping save his friend Roderick and his sister before the Usher curse takes them. Written by Mark Fair

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Horror


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 July 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Fluch des Hauses Usher See more »

Filming Locations:

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Sunn Classic Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This is the last of the "Classics Illustrated" TV-movies produced by Sunn Classic Pictures. See more »


Version of Usher (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Made-for-television version had entertainment value
15 September 2017 | by jeffyoung1See all my reviews

I am going against the prevailing current of the previous reviewers. I gave this 1979 made-for-television version of, 'The Fall of the House of Usher' a 7 rating for its entertainment value. As opposed to the other disappointed viewers, I felt entertained and even spooked by the 'horror movie' introduction of the deranged Usher sister, Madeline, played effectively by Dimitri Arliss, who mysteriously had but a few acting credits. The creepy, insane, violent Usher sister not only looked scary, she was! I feel confident awarding the TV movie a 7 because of the skilled and sympathetic role of Martin Landau as Roderick Usher. Give credit to the actor for being able to elicit real sympathy from the viewer of the terrible condition the man suffers from and the hellish situation he must play out in his short, agonizing life. I felt more sympathy for seeing how good and decent Roderick Usher was in a long family line of immoral ancestors as he described in horrendous detail to his childhood friend, Jonathan Cresswell, during a tour of the gloomy, underground family catacombs. Other viewers were critical of Cresswell's wife character yet I didn't mind her addition as a minor supporting character which fleshed out the story line a little more. I also felt sympathy for the doomed, dedicated, life-time manservant, Thaddeus, played by Ray Walston of, 'My Favorite Martian' fame. Here's a man who loyally and unswerving serves the cursed Usher family. His service is no doubt appreciated by Roderick Usher, but who can give no reward for the man's lifetime service, other than to be the indirect cause of his violent death at the hands of the violently insane Madeline. Yes, the movie didn't have all that high of production values, but it was a made-for-TV production after all. It really only showed up with the fake, painted-on outside mansion wall crack. It didn't pass the visual test. It should have been painted blacker. I liked this movie version because it evoked some feeling and nostalgia in me. I did not see this television movie until late 1982 and it was odd that I did not know if it sooner. I know the production company only produced four of these made-for-television adaptions of classic books. I only saw one other, 'Sleepy Hollow', which was entertaining as well. I always believe, award movies the rating which you 'feel' it deserves, not what you think you are expected to award it by others.

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