Classic Roger Corman film “Fall of the House of the Usher”, starring Vincent price, makes its UK Blu-Ray debut August 26th courtesy of Arrow films, and they were kind enough to send me a review disc to take a look at.
Set in the early 1800s, young Philip Winthrope (Mark Damon) comes to visit his girlfriend Madeline Usher at her family’s estate, as he hopes to take her away and marry her.
He is somewhat surprised though, when he is greeted by her Brother Roderick (played by a rather youngish looking Vincent Price) who informs him that she is extremely unwell and virtually bedridden, despite being in perfect health when he last saw her only a couple of weeks before, and suggests that he return home.
Suspicious about why Roderick is trying to prevent him from seeing her, he insists on coming inside and seeing her for himself to find out what’s wrong.
Reluctantly allowing Philip to stay the night, Roderick, who himself is afflicted by a strange disease which causes hyper sensitivity to all his senses, informs him that their ill health is due to a family curse, which he believes has something to do with the decrepit old mansion they live in, which appears to be crumbling around them.
Though Philip is not convinced about the a curse and is quite adamant that he’ll be taking Madeline away with him in the morning, it seems that Roderick is determined to prevent her from leaving and will stop at nothing to keep them apart, no matter what…
Based on a short story by Edgar Allen Poe, this isn’t what I would call a “scary” film as such, being really more of an old fashioned “gothic” type of horror. Though it proved extremely popular with moviegoers back in the day and marked the start of a cycle of Poe adaptations that Corman and Price would work on.
As with all Arrow releases, the disc comes packed with special features, including..
Audio commentary track with Director Roger Corman.
“Legend to Legend” feature, in which fellow director Joe Dante (Gremlins) discusses his love for the film and about his time working with Roger Corman.
“The House is the Monster” feature, in which Gothic horror expert Johnathon Rigby, discusses the making of the film and the stream of Edgar Allen Poe films that followed in its wake
"Archival interview with Vincent Price", taken from a French TV show in 1986.
“Fragments of the House of Usher”, a special documentary narrated by film maker and Critic David
compares the film to the original story. cairns
And lastly the disc contains the original theatrical trailer.
The case also comes packaged with a collectors booklet, illustrated with pictures and stills from the film, containing linear notes by author and critic Tim Lucas and the sleeve contains reversible artwork featuring the original theatrical poster and newly commissioned work by Graham Humphries.
This is really a film that I would recommend to fans of older horror movies or fans of Vincent Price’s earlier works, as viewing this was more watching a period drama than a horror movie, so I doubt would hold much interest for people who only watch present day, mainstream Hollywood content. But if you liked films like “Masque of the Red Death” or “The Pit and the Pendulum”, then this one is for you.
The film is out on UK Blu-Ray now and is available in both a standard case and in a special limited edition Steelbook edition.
Buy the UK BD Steelbook at Amazon.co.uk