Tuesday, February 1, 2011

#179. House of Usher (1960)

DVD Synopsis: Legendary scare-master Vincent Price serves up a diabolical nightmare dripping with "brooding evil and sinister suspense" (Film Daily)! Based on Edgar Allen Poe's chilling tale about a family driven to savage bloodlust by a power beyond their wildest fears, this terrifying story of "murder, madness and necrophilia" (Cue) proves that there's no place like home...for horror! Convinced that his family's blood is tainted by generations of evil, Roderick Usher (Price) is hell-bent on destroying his sister Madeline's wedding. But when Madeline's fiancé arrives at the haunted castle to claim his lovely bride, he soon discovers that, for this family, their house is more than just a home...it's their TOMB!

In House of Usher, Vincent Price again shows why he’s an icon of the horror genre, turning in a performance that consistently hits the right note.  Price's Roderick Usher is a deeply concerned brother who dotes after his beloved, yet sickly, sibling, though he himself is suffering from a similar illness. The actor effectively broods throughout the entire film, as if trapped in a permanent state of impending doom. 

Equal to Price’s performance is the Usher mansion itself, which shakes as if it were also in pain. Secret passageways lie behind every wall, and enough things go bump in the night to keep a perpetual chill embedded in your spine. This mansion, and Price’s macabre characterization, join forces to deliver an absolutely terrifying final scene, one I certainly wouldn't recommend to those with a weak heart.

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