Corman's Poe series began with this finely produced adaptation of 'The Fall of the House of Usher'. Unlike his earlier cheaply produced B movies this featured 'A' production values, a well written script (by Richard Matheson), a solid score and performances well tailored for the material. Vincent Price is excellent here. For those who only think of Corman as the king of the 'B's' make time to revisit this film.
What I like about the horror movies of this era, especially the Hammer Horror ones or the Poe adaptations from Corman, is that they build the terror through mood and atmosphere rather than surprise. At first, it's always cheesy, then you realize it's actually quite good. I love that.
Notably different from the original Poe story. But whereas the original is still creepy, this is clunky and creaky, particularly during the first half. I love the Corman Poe adaptations but this is a flat start until a notably intense climax that almost helps to liven the mood. Almost. Vincent Price with blonde hair is sooo weird. And great set design of the crumbling manor.
Corman's first Poe adaptation tries to capture the death crawl mood of the author, but is like a funeral procession. A properly minimalist stage play in its telling, yet the interaction lacks urgency and tension, the story and pacing are without fluidity, and the horror is minuscule. Also, while the music and vibrant colors are beautiful, it makes it undercut the appropriately needed feeling of dire ominousness.
If anyone is interested in the artist whose paintings are used in this film, his name is Burt Shonberg, and you can find images of his work, including the "House of Usher" family portraits here: http://www.burtshonberg.com/paintings.htm. It states on the site that Vincent Price took one of the portraits home, which actually makes me love him more, if that's possible!
A horror movie that deserve it's success. Vincent Price is excellent here with dyed white hair in a role where it's uncertain if his character really is mad or he tells the truth as no one make better sympathetic villains than him. There is some incestuous themes here too that is pretty disturbing too. Weaknesses is the music and an outdated nightmare scene without that it would be 5 stars.