American International Pictures / Roger Corman
"HOUSE OF USHER"
This is a special page, a diversion from the purely comics-based focus of this project. While there have been countless Poe-based films over the decades, arguably the most signnificant may be the 1960 "HOUSE OF USHER", produced and directed by Roger Corman, and with a screenplay by Richard Matheson.
According to the book "BRILLIANCE ON A BUDGET", which was both an informative and highly amusing overview of Corman's career, the director had gotten tired of the usual habit of doing a double-feature for the drive-in circuits in B&W over a 2-week schedule. Inspired by the revival of 1930s & 40s Universal horror films on television, and the recent gothic revival in color from Hammer Films in England, he proposed a single color film with a 2-week production schedule, based on the works of Poe. "USHER" had been filmed multiple times by then (and would be again in the years since), and like Arthur Conan Doyle's "THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES" or Bram Stoker's "DRACULA", has continued to prove popular with audiences.
Expanding a short-story to feature-length can prove challenging, but Matheson, already a veteran of science-fiction and horror, including Rod Serling's tv series THE TWILIGHT ZONE, was more than up to the task.
Movie poster, painting by Reynold Brown
British movie poster, artist unknown
Mark Damon, Vincent Price, Myrna Fahey
Philip approaches the House Of Usher
What really caught me by surprise while doing this Poe comics project, was noting the various elements from the CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED version of "USHER" that turned up in the 2nd film. This included the physical appearance of Vincent Price's character, the general look of the mansion's interior, and the appearance of the family physician --all of which were NOT in the 1st film. The comic would have been in print when the film was done, so it's not outside the realm of possibility that it may well have inspired Corman, Matheson, or production designer Daniel Haller!
One of the special features in the film were a series of paintings, mostly portraits of the Usher ancestors, done by artist Burt Schoenberg. In keeping with this blog's focus on art, here they are!
The House (allegedly painted by Roderick himself)
The was, apparently, no comics adaptation of this movie.
However, there would be for several of the sequels!
Copyright (C) 1962 by Alta Vista Productions.
Read about American International Pictures at Wikipedia.
Read about Roger Corman at Wikipedia.
Read about Richard Matheson at Wikipedia.
Read about Vincent Price at Wikipedia.
Read about the film at the Cinefantastique Online site.
Read about the film at the My Movie Addiction blog.
Read about Burt Schoenberg's work at The Girl Who Knew Too Much site.
Read about Basil Rathbone at Wikipedia.
Read about THE WEIRD CIRCLE radio show at Wikipedia.
Read about Gladys Thornton at the IMDB site.
Read about the ESCAPE radio show at Wikipedia.
Read about Paul Frees at Wikipedia.
Read about THE CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER at Wikipedia.
Read about Kevin McCarthy at Wikipedia.
Read about Arnold Moss at Wikipedia.
Read about THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER at Wikipedia.
Read the complete story at the xroads.virginia.edu site.
Hear the Basil Rathbone recording!
Hear the Gladys Thornton WEIRD CIRCLE episode!
Hear the Paul Frees ESCAPE episode!
Hear the Kevin McCarthy CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER episode!
Read the Gus Schrotter HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Harley M. Griffiths HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Steve Ditko HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Tom Sutton HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Jerry Grandenetti HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Cirilo Munoz HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Martin Salvador HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
See my Edgar Allan Poe overview at this very blog!
(Continued in Poe 1960, Pt. 3)