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House of Usher

Evert Jan van Leeuwen’s entry in Auteur Press’s Devil's Advocate series provides a complete study of the aesthetic appeal of Roger Corman's influential first Poe picture House of Usher.

Evert Jan van Leeuwen
18 September 2019

It explores the underlying narrative structure borrowed from Poe's original story and shows how closely Richard Matheson's script followed Poe's theory of short fiction. It also explores the formal techniques of allegory and symbolism employed to represent the house as a monster before focusing on Corman's imagery, showing how the use of specific camera angles, lenses, colors, and sound effects create and sustain the simultaneously morbid and beautiful atmosphere of gothic decay. The final chapter situates the leading actors’ performance of Roderick and Madeline Usher in the context of the nineteenth-century Romantic misfit and the postwar countercultural antihero/ine, two closely related cultural identities.

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