I have always had a soft spot for anything starring Vincent Price, however I entered this film with some trepidation as it is directed by Roger Corman who isn’t exactly renowned for his high class entertainment.
The film centres on a young man by the name of Philip Winthrop (played by Mark Damon) , who travels to the House of Usher to meet his fiancé Madeline Usher and take her back to Boston. There he is welcomed by the butler Bristol, who informs him that he cannot come in as Madeline and her brother Roderick Usher (Vincent Price) have been stricken with a mysterious illness. Philip insists the butler let’s him in. Philip is then informed by Roderick that it is impossible for Madeline to leave, as there is a curse which means that when there’s more than one Usher in the bloodline, they are cursed to go insane and die. What follows is a night of insanity that all will struggle to survive.
The film is based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe. The transfer itself is immaculate and credit must go to ArrowFilms&Video in this regard as they really have done well here. The acting from Vincent Price is always great, and he doesn’t disappoint here. Mark Damon however is not very convincing, so perhaps it’s no surprise that he now makes a living producing movies and not starring in them. Madeline played by Myrna Fahey does the best with what she’s given, but it amounts to little more than screams and shrieks.
To be quite frank this film didn’t really to it for me. The build up was a tad tedious and I found the payoff just didn’t live up to all that went before. Still worth a watch I’d say, but not a purchase for me. The extras include a commentary with Roger Corman and Joe Dante, an interview with horror expert Jonathan Rigby and a video essay by David Cairns examining the film in relation to Poe’s story. Also included are an original trailer and an interview from 1986 with Vincent Price, which has French subtitles that can’t be removed as it was originally broadcast on French TV. The jewel case release has a fabulous reverseable sleeve with art by Graham Humphreys, however a lovely steelbook will also be available.