Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on October 1, 2014 by Emerian Rich

Deadline is October 18th.

AUTHORS – Free advertising. is offering a special opportunity for authors of horror/dark fantasy/steampunk/fetish/thriller etc… Feel free to share this with anyone you think would be interested. As we all know, November is National Novel Writing Month. Everyone participating will be busily trying to make their goals and seeking fun, inspiring, writing-themed posts to distract them when they fall into a lull. We would like blog posts talking about your work and what inspires you. We are looking for tips, suggestions, info on how you did research for your book, or simply a deconstruction of your novel and what you were trying to accomplish by writing it. This is not simply a description of your novel, but how you wrote it, when, what inspired it, what your message is, etc… At the end of the post, please include your bio, url, and attach a cover pic and author pic. 

Send all submissions to: with the appropriate BOLDED subject line.

Morbid Meals – Edgar Allan PIE

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on October 1, 2014 by Dan Shaurette

Three tasty tarts!


Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of culinary lore…

Egg nog, the quintessential holiday drink, made with eggs, cream, and copious amounts of booze, is essentially uncooked custard with alcohol. It has been said that the alcohol cooks the custard as well as the drinker. The question I decided to find the answer to was, can we leave most of the alcohol out and cook the egg nog as a custard?

The basic problem I faced was that, like many heirloom recipes,everyone has their own unique favorite egg nog recipe. Then I remembered one of my eclectic cookbooks, A Second Helping of Murder. In it, there is a wonderful egg nog recipe that was shared by Anne Poe Lehr, a distant cousin of Edgar Allan Poe. She contributed her family’s egg nog recipe that dates back to 1790. The original recipe consists of the following:

Poe Family Eggnog

15 egg yolks
15 egg whites, beaten
2 cups sugar
A fifth of Napoleon Brandy
1/2 cup Jamaican Rum
1 pint whipped cream
1/2 cup cream

As our tarts are meant to be firm and not drinks, I decided to cut out the fifth of a gallon of brandy. I also divided the recipe roughly in half to make tarts or a single pie. Thus was Edgar Allan PIE born!

Choosing Your Crust

A nice tender pie crust is best. You could buy a pre-made crust rather than make it from scratch, however I am providing a recipe and instructions for making an easy hot water pie crust.


Yield: 6 tarts or a 9-inch pie


Hot Water Pie Crust

8 oz all-purpose flour or roughly 2 cups, but best to measure by weight
2 oz (1/2 stick) butter
3 oz lard or shortening
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz water


7 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup spiced rum
nutmeg, freshly grated on top


  • tart tins or pie pan
  • large bowl
  • medium saucepan
  • rolling pin
  • parchment paper
  • plastic wrap


Making the Dough

  1. Measure the flour into a large bowl and set it aside.
  2. In a saucepan, add the butter, lard, salt and water and stir over medium heat until the fat melts.
  3. When the mixture starts to boil, take the saucepan off the heat and pour it into the bowl with the flour.
  4. Mix the dough with a wooden spoon until all the ingredients are combined. Feel free to use your fingers to help a large dough ball form.
  5. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it cool down for an hour. Don’t refrigerate it, just let it rest.

Roll Out the Dough

  1. After the hour has passed, lay out a piece of parchment or waxed paper and lightly dust it with flour.
  2. Turn your dough out onto the floured paper and roll it out to roughly 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Fold the dough onto itself, pressing down firmly with your fingers and then roll it out again. Repeat one more time. This will add structure and flakiness to the finished crust.
  4. Lay the dough onto a baking sheet and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rest in your fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Divide and Conquer

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  2. After the dough has chilled, divide it up for your tart tins or single pie pan.
  3. On a sheet of parchment or waxed paper, roll out each piece of dough to a circle with a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
  4. Place the crust inside the pie tins, then use a fork to poke some shallow dimples into the bottom of the crust.
  5. Place the tins with crusts into the oven and blind bake them for 20 minutes.

Prepare your custard

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs together with the sugar.
  2. In a saucepan, over high heat, add the cream and rum, then warm to a simmer. Do not let this boil.
  3. Slowly pour the warm cream and rum into the bowl with the eggs and sugar. Do this in small amounts to temper the eggs so they do not cook in the bowl.

Putting It All Together

  1. Pour the custard mixture into your crust-lined tins. Sprinkle grated nutmeg on top.
  2. Raise the temperature to 350°F and bake the tarts/pie in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the custard is set.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


When it comes to the pie crust, I have always been a proponent of the 2:3 butter/lard combo. However, since this is a hot water crust, feel free to use all butter, all lard, or all shortening, if you like. Hot water crusts err on the tender side and not really flaky side, unless you fold in extra layers. Just remember, if you work a pie crust dough too much you end up with a tough crust. That makes kittens cry. Tragic.

If you choose not to include any alcohol at all, then replace the 1/4 cup of rum with a 1/4 cup of whole milk.

Another nice touch, especially this time of year, is to use Pumpkin Pie Spice instead of just nutmeg. I’m sure Edgar would approve.


Egg nog can become a very tasty custard, once the ratios are sure.
Will you wonder what to bake? Quoth the raven, “Nevermore!”

Kbatz: Horror Documentaries

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2014 by kbattz

 A Macabre Documentary or Two

By Kristin Battestella

Looking for some non-fiction programming to spice up this festive, macabre season? Here’s a round up of informative and spooky documentaries, biographies, and shows for demented minds young and old!

anneAnne Rice: Biography – This 2000 television hour focusing on the Interview with a Vampire author is nothing new. Ironically, it is actually dated and somewhat inaccurate thanks to Rice’s more recent life and literary changes and thus this feels somewhat incomplete. A one-minute add-on to encompass the new millennium doesn’t cut it. That aside, it’s still great to see photos from Rice’s early life, hear friends and family recount her childhood and road to publication greatness, and listen to Rice herself talk of religion and the personal tragedies that inspired her writing. In fact, Anne’s familial losses and literary struggles may even be more poignant thanks to the conversations with her late husband, the poet Stan Rice. I’d like to see A&E revisit Rice with an updated two-hour special, but until then, scholarly studies and Rice aficionados can always enjoy this quick profile.

A Cemetery Special – PBS’s 2005 hour-long spotlight doesn’t have enough time to explore this exhaustive subject matter- and it bemusing admits that along with a respectful dedication to those buried in the featured cemeteries. From Pittsburgh to Vermont and Key West to Alaska, lovely footage of graveyards and gardens accents the bent but thought provoking discussion on death, remembrance, art, and the monuments we leave behind. Perhaps lesser-known graveyards are featured, but interesting tales from the Civil War and sleeping place origins are recounted in an almost heartwarming manner. This is the perfect little video for classrooms studying the specific locations and history or macabre scholars researching burial customs. I wish there had been a whole series like this!

hammerFlesh and Blood: Hammer Heritage of Horror – It took forever for this elusive 1994 documentary to arrive from Netflix! Nonetheless, this hour and forty minutes narrated by Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing is chock full of great photos, retro posters, archive footage, and film trailers illustrating the behind the scenes stories and production highs and lows of the famed Hammer Film Studios. Lovely reflections by Michael Carreras and Anthony Hinds help recount the earliest Hammer films- from struggles in the thirties and World War II to The Quatermass Xperiment and budding science fiction success. Interviewees such as Hazel Court, Freddie Francis, Ingrid Pitt, Caroline Munroe, Joe Dante, Rachel Welch, and our dear narrators seemingly touch upon nearly every Hammer picture- the Frankenstein series, assorted gothic monsters, the Dracula disagreements, blood, bosoms, and the studio’s eventual seventies downfall. Understandably, some of the footage is lower in quality, the sound remixing is tough, and there’s an obviously dry, British style to the presentation. This documentary also shouldn’t be confused with The Horror of Hammer trailer compilation companion or several other similarly themed documentaries. However, this treat is essential for die-hard Hammer fans, horror enthusiasts, and film historians.

His Name Was Jason – Everything you’d ever want to know about the Friday the 13th series, with clips from all the films and extensive behind the scenes interviews with every one who was ever involved with Jason-plus his or her grandma!

In Search of Dracula -  Christopher Lee hosts this old school look at the history of Dracula and vampire lore. Young folks might not like the old styles and footage, but vintage vampire fans will delight. You don’t catch classics like this on television anymore!

karlKarloff: The Gentle Monster – This 2006 38 minute documentary is not the hour long Biography episode of the same name but rather a lovely little retrospective found on the Frankenstein blu-ray releases. Although the beginning briefly mentions Karloff’s pre-Universal film appearances, the focus here is with the subtle, silent sympathy of Karloff’s monstrous characters and his long lasting horror appeal. From Frankenstein to later stage work beyond horror such as Arsenic and Old Lace, film scholars and historians discuss early comparisons to Lon Chaney, difficulties with horror make up’s infancy, and more scary film glory with classics such as The Mummy and The Black Cat. Attention is given to Karloff’s quiet success as a character actor thanks to his physicality and ability to be both frightening and sensual at the same time along with his spooky television series and his tireless work across mediums and generations. This is the voice of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, people! It’s also interesting to see movie buffs theorizing on the over reaching and decreasing quality of the studio’s Frankenstein series, beating it into the ground as the franchises, sequels, and remakes do today. Boris fans and horror lovers can eat up the clips and nostalgia here, for sure.

Lon Chaney: Behind the Mask – Rare, unseen silent film footage, vintage photos and clips, charming family home movies, and archive interviews with co-stars and crew anchor this 76 minute 1995 documentary illuminating the Man of a Thousand Faces. From early bit parts to his iconic horror heights, the pain, emotion, and melodramatic catharsis of his tragic portrayals is examined against Chaney’s stanch need for privacy amid the fame orchestrated Hollywood system. Collaborations with director Tod Browning are highlighted, and quotes on the craft from the man himself are smartly reiterated – wisdoms on how to utilize makeup or character flaws to accentuate the performance and create redemption in villainous roles. Of course, the presentation focuses on The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera but ends somewhat suddenly with Chaney’s death rather than any retrospective summation or legacy. Fortunately, there are lots of behind the scenes snippets, photographs, and factoids, for it’s really quite sad to realize how much of Chaney’s work is gone – over 30% of his films have vanished. 56 lost pictures – that’s more movies than some people today make in their entire lifetimes! The dated nineties design, uneven editing, jumping back and forth timeline, and a very dry narration don’t quite hit home here. However, this informative presentation remains classroom ready and will delight new film enthusiasts, longtime Chaney fans, and horror historians.

vlcsnap-5876655Lugosi: The Dark Prince – Like Karloff, Bela Lugosi’s early life and acting career before Dracula go unnoticed in this 36 minute documentary accompanying the 1931 Dracula blu-ray video. Interviews with genre directors Joe Dante, Jimmy Sangster, and other film scholars and authors instead spend the majority of time here on Lugosi’s quintessential appearance in the budding horror cinema and discuss how his phonetic learning of lines accentuated his hypnotic, handsome, somewhat scandalous and always sensual acting style. This masterful paranormal charisma of course unfortunately typecast him, but clips and analysis on Murders in the Rue Morgue, White Zombie, Son of Frankenstein, and The Raven will be a treat for those interested in the irony of Lugosi’s long lasting iconography but relatively short-lived success and underatedness as an actor. Even if the talk isn’t about the man’s personal life per se, there are great insights into the craft here, making for a lovely little bittersweet study on the quick rise and fall of a horror icon.

Nightmares in Red, White, and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film – In covering a hundred years of scary cinema, this 2009 documentary was bound to miss a few things. However, this hour and half also provides extensive clips from early silent films, Universal monsters, the Roger Corman era, seventies zombies, eighties slashers, and more. Interviewees like George Romero, John Carpenter, and more experts on the genre examine how the social and political statements onscreen, both overt and veiled, influenced film making and audiences thru the decades. Horror has gone from early B-movie child’s play to red scare allusions and now a blockbuster industry- who knew? Some of the more recent conversation and post 9/11 thoughts are perhaps nothing new or could have been dealt with more deeply, for today’s viewer is familiar with these sociopolitical cinema influences, after all. But seeing the paces of vintage horror film thru the years is a real treat for both new and veteran fans. This one’s a great starter for younger folks just getting into horror films or a good accompaniment to a sociology discussion.

Tales from the Crypt: Comics to Television – Very insightful special about the ups and downs of the naughty in naughty comic books and how the guts and glory survived in serial television. Maybe not for mainstream fans, but horror and comic enthusiasts will love this.

Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on September 29, 2014 by Emerian Rich

Horror Addicts Writer’s Workshop Announcement!
December 31st, 2014, 11:59pm PST.

This is an opportunity for aspiring horror or like-genre writers to have their work critiqued by professional writers based on story structure, plot, style, and character development. One lucky writer will have their work produced for a show for Season 10 in 2015.

Submission criteria:

1)      This workshop is free

2)      You must state you if you are under 18 at the time of submission. We will not accept stories from children younger than 15.

3)      By submitting to the workshop, you are stating this work is yours and yours alone and that you may submit it legally without publication ties. The work cannot be previously published in any form.

4)      Stories must be Gothic, Horror, Steampunk, Clockpunk, Fetish, Dark Fantasy, Horror Romance, or have a horror element of some kind.

5)     All submissions must be emailed to no later than December 31st, 2014, 11:59pm PST.

6)      Submissions can be excerpts from a novel, up to 4,000 words, or can be a complete short story, no more than 4,000 words. Excerpts from a novel, can be any part of the novel, but a short (100 word) synopsis should accompany it.

7)      Manuscripts must be presented in the following format:

a)      Font size 10 or 12 point

b)      Font style Courier or Times New Roman

c)      Double spaced

d)      1st page header to state: author name, email address, type of story, and word count.

e)      Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

f)       Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF Format.

g)      No more than 4,000 words.

h)      In the body of the email, give us 100 words or less about you – a bio.

i)       In the subject of the email state: HA WRITER’S WORKSHOP

8)      We will review the first 20 manuscripts absolutely, after that, it is based on the number of pros available. Manuscripts are first come, first serve. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks, please send a polite query to:

9)      For any other questions, please leave a comment here or email:

Best Band Season 9 Poll

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2014 by Emerian Rich

Best Band Season 9 poll is now open!

Go to the blog and vote on the right sidebar.


Endless Sunder


Grasp Logic

Murder Weapons

Charlie Drown

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult

Dead Animal Assembly Plant

Mixed Messages

Post Rapture Party

Strap on Halo

Good luck guys and gals!


Posted in News with tags , , , , on September 28, 2014 by elektronikadance

Strap on Halo is: Seán Rial – Guitar, Keyboards and Drums.
Layla Reyna – Vocals, Drums, Keyboards and Graphic design.
MarC Jones – Bass, Keyboards, blood and beers.

SOH6Strap On Halo resurrected in 2009 with a new lineup including Layla Reyna, Marc Jones and original founding member Sean Rial. Strap On Halo is an American Gothic Alternative Rock band, whose music harkens to the purity of 80’s influenced moody guitars, resonating bass and a beautifully haunting Siouxsie-esque female vocals.  They also have great hair!   ;)  It’s refreshing to see bands of his genre coming back into the radar.

On June 10, 2011, Strap On Halo released their debut full length release, The Dead Don’t Lie, which was produced, mixed and mastered by Mick Shearman of NightPorter and John Ross of ANXST. Coinciding with the release, they set out on the Memento Mori US Tour that spanned five weeks and included The Hiram Key from the UK during select dates. They then toured in the Summer and Fall of 2012 and again in 2014.  Currently, they are working on a new CD release and planning their Winter/Spring 2015 tour.

[Horror Addicts] I understand you “resurrected” in 2009.  When did Strap on Halo first form and what caused the death and resurrection?

[Seán from SOH] “Strap on Halo has actually been something I envisioned as I was a teenager, but I never met the right people to start a GothSOH7 band.  I originally started it in the Fall of 1994.  The original lineup lasted about 2 years, but I ran it until 2002.  At that time, the venues in Omaha only wanted Metal or Top40 bands.

[Layla from SOH] “The original lineup split into two different bands in 1996.  Both units disbanded in 2002.  I met him (Sean) in 2005 and we were in another band.  Then we met Marc and Seán decided it was time to BE Strap on Halo.”

[HorrorAddicts] Who do you all consider the most influential musician or bands?

[Seán from SOH] “For me it would be Geordie Walker from Killing Joke, John McGeoch from Siouxsie and the Banshees and Billy Duffy from the Cult.”

[Layla from SOH] “I find my influence from Peter Murphy, the Cure and Dead Can Dance.”

SOH5[MarC from SOH] “Oh perfect.  I don’t have to talk now!  ☺  No, it’s like everything I listen to since Jr. High has been an influence, but when it really touched and wowed me, I knew that is what I wanted to do.  That time was the Cure, Dead Can Dance and such bands.  It was colder…darker.  The lyrics were more than just bubblegum and money.  I do have my influences too as a bassist.  Specifically I like Simon Gallup from the Cure. ”

[HorrorAddicts] You are based on Nebraska?  Who would have thought there was a Goth scene in Nebraska.  Wait, there is a Goth scene in Nebraska?????

[Seán from SOH] “Well, it comes in cycles.  There will be a scene for three or four years, then it will die out and Metal and Top40 become more predominant.  Then a few years later, people get burned out.  People move and then the scene is more open to something alternative.  It is a trend cycle.”

[MarC from SOH] “It’s developing and a scene through that is developing.”

[HorrorAddicts] What are your horror influences?

[Seán from SOH] “We are most intrigued by tragedies and horror in life..”

[MarC from SOH] “Horror influence? lol… The opening of a 200 year old iron gate… visiting a random grave… Having coffee with a “suspected” trany axe murderer… sleeping on a pew… having shots out of a human skull… Being catered to by a gorgeous wiccan with her own head over heals in love, “Egore”. I forget his name, but wow! Spending the night in a Cathedral and waking up under the sun shining through the stained glass windows. Being fed ice-cream sandwiches by angels… long story! The loss of a dear friend. Keeping your Halloween lights up, all year round….and truck stops! The world is an interesting place from all directions. Breath, sweat, tears… we embrace them all.”

[HorrorAddicts] You all have been extremely proactive in marketing your band using social media.  How has that worked for you withSOH4 drawing audiences to your shows and selling merchandise?

[Layla from SOH] “It has been good.  We have managed to connect with people in Europe.  We know a lot more people as a result of social media. We have new merchandise available on our website!”

[Seán from SOH] “With our local media in Omaha, unless you are Top40, Rap or something from the Disney Channel; they won’t even give you the time of day.”

[MarC from SOH] “That’s why we tour.”

[HorrorAddicts] Speaking of merchandise, you have very unique and adorable merchandise for sale, as opposed to the same old band merch table of strictly stickers, t-shirts and CDs.  How did you decide to do something so different and do you feel that this has put you at an advantage by having unique merchandise?

[Layla from SOH] “We like to have things that we would want to buy, if we went to a show.”

[Seán from SOH] “Actually the big sellers were thongs.  We sold out of them last year two or three shows into the tour.”

[Layla from SOH] “We have new merchandise available on our website now.”

[HorrorAddicts] Favorite place to play?

[MarC from SOH] “Seattle.”  ☺

[Layla from SOH] “It’s hard to say.  Just because it is in a city we prefer doesn’t always necessarily mean that the show was something that is better.  It depends on the crowd.  We love to perform, so whether or not the show is packed, doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t meet a couple people and make great contacts.  Then the next time we come through town, it is even better.”

SOH3[MarC from SOH] “Yeah, I mean it isn’t necessarily the city.  I mean, we could play New Orleans, but if no one is there……  It depends on who we meet and the conversations we have.  Many of the people we have met have turned into life-long friends.”

[HorrorAddicts] So Seán and Layla live in Nebraska and Marc in Seattle?  How did that happen and how do you stay connected to write/record and perform?  Did MarC live in Nebraska originally?

[MarC from SOH] (nods)  “Well, my wife was in the service.  But Seattle is where I grew up.  We have been gone for 12 years.  My parents are getting older.  I want to spend time with family….. but, I am not giving up the band.  This band is what I was always searching for.”

[Layla from SOH] “I originally moved to Omaha from Texas.  I met Seán a couple years after I moved to Omaha.  It was all chance meetings and coincidence.  We were all looking to do the same thing and we all get along. It is like having a long distance relationship.  There is gonna be Skyping.  MarC will be flying in from time to time.”

You can find out more info about Strap on Halo in the links below:

Facebook: StrapOnHaloFanPage

Facebook Group:

Twitter: straponhalo

Reverbnation: straponhalo

Myspace: straponhalo





Kbatz: House of Usher (1960)

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on September 27, 2014 by kbattz

House of Usher is Creepy, Gothic Good Fun

By Kristin Battestella

220px-House_of_usher1960American International Pictures and director/producer Roger Corman took their low budget horror productions to the next atmospheric, macabre level with this 1960 Edgar Allan Poe adaptation, the first of eight delightful, demented Poe-isms.

Philip Winthrop (Mark Damon) arrives at the gloomy Usher estate to inquire upon his ill betrothed Madeline (Myrna Fahey). Though longtime family butler Bristol (Harry Ellerbe) is kind to Philip, Madeline’s elder brother Roderick (Vincent Price) fears for his sister and the engagement thanks to a history of family illness and vice. The siblings suffer from several afflictions and sensibilities, and marriage, life in the outside world, and having children is out of the question as far as Roderick is concerned. Nonetheless, Philip wants to take Madeline away – but the Usher lineage and the crumbling mansion itself threatens them all…

Corman’s (The Little Shop of Horrors, A Bucket of Blood) big CinemaScope color spectacle may be a little slow to start for today’s viewers, but this deliberate build sets the bizarre, melancholy tone and let’s the audience know something’s afoot. The would-be marital conflict is immediately established on top of the decaying house fears, sleepwalking tendencies, and deathly obsessions. Much of Poe’s spirit is here in that chilling Twilight Zone feeling thanks to screenwriter Richard Matheson’s expansion on The Fall of the House of Usher. More back story is added, names and new characters are fleshed out to lengthen the short story to 80 minutes of material, but the designs are largely faithful and appropriately demented. Hints of the decadent family history, past excess, and religious sins of the father upon the children questions help explain or make excuses for this current sibling crazy. Can their house itself – physically capable of causing destruction in its crumbling state – actually embody the Usher vice and vile? Or is it all a bad case of hypochondria and self fulfilling prophecy? It is fun to be a fan of Poe or at least be familiar with his work before seeing House of Usher in order to fully enjoy all the twists on the big screen, however, new audiences can certainly come into a viewing cold and enjoy the kickers all the same.

“Peculiarities of temperament” aside, Vincent Price (The Pit and the Pendulum) is simply rocking the swept back platinum hair in House of Usher! The style really brings out his eyes as the crazy mounts – it’s a wonder he didn’t keep the look for all his other loony characters. Of course, Roderick is just a little too creepy and overly attached to his sister. Today’s viewers will certainly be thinking of something more incestuous or scandalous that couldn’t be out rightly stated in 1960 or even directly by Poe, and with those acute senses and other disorders on top of this weird, there is definitely an uncomfortable feeling in the titular household. You wouldn’t want to visit this guy and no wonder he wants his sister to remain at home. Ironically, Roderick’s opinion of marriage and family legacy is understandable – the viewer never doubts his smart, refined, classy sensibilities – but the fatalistic attitude, looming doom and gloom, and almost casual acceptance of illness and death is off putting to say the least. Again, is Roderick being prophetic and unnecessarily fearful or is there really a sickness? After such a lineage of bad apples, it’s reasonable that one might wonder what kind of saving grace he could put on the legacy. It’s easier to succumb to it, however, and Price is perfect in this crazy, moody, melancholy. I really don’t seen any of this supposed over acting for which Price is allegedly so famous. He’s just wonderfully bent, crawling out of his skin, and spot on here.

There are a few questions and even plot holes as to how or why Mark Damon’s (Black Sabbath) Philip meets Madeline, granted, and it is a touch awkward the way he just shows up and storms in looking for his supposedly soon to be wife. Some of the fifties lovey dovey between Damon and Myrna Fahey (Zorro) as Madeline is also a bit much and too forced amid the creepy in one of the deviations from Poe’s original unnamed narrator. Philip’s a tad annoying in his not taking the hint about his girl and his touchy, clingy style, too. Fortunately, he becomes the relatable anchor compared to this freaky family – the character even stands out visually by wearing blue suits and coats amid the other decidedly burgundy, moody designs. The viewer didn’t see their supposed happiness and Philip may be just as much to blame for Madeline’s condition, yet the audience needs to believe in the possibility that this couple might just make it. We want alls well to end well, but we should know better! Harry Ellerbe (Desk Set) is also a kindhearted edition as Bristol the long serving, loyal butler. He’s aided the family despite its faults but must now be nice to this, well, Philip is almost an intruder, isn’t he? Fahey makes for the perfect fair, ethereal, yet appropriately feeble Madeline, too, and her obsession with death and crypts crescendos wonderfully in House of Usher – those eyes, that bloody trail, classic!

Although the picture may look slightly flat or not as crisp as we spoiled audiences today expect, House of Usher is still a luxuriously dressed and good looking movie for its time and budget. From the great smoky, foggy, barren, and thorny approach to the Victorian creepy of the titular house itself, red candles and candelabras, antiques, top hats and capes, and scarlet frocks add a sinister elegance amid the shadows, cobwebs, and decrepit. The gothic styled mansion sets are surprising warm as well thanks to carpets, tapestries, and classic woodworks, and a hazy, eerie, tinted, and bizarre dream sequence adds to the surreal feeling. We know when and where this is taking place, but it all seems like an abstract purgatory or increasing nightmare as the scale gets smaller and more claustrophobic. Some of the voices are too soft or the music uneven, but thunder and lighting pop as the foundations literally crack. Fire tops off a morbid finale of dust, destruction, and building perils. All this happens in House of Usher, and yet I’d live in this house, dang straight!

Strangely, the DVD editions of House of Usher seem elusive – Netflix is Save Only at best – but the new Vincent Price Collection blu-ray set is brimming with interviews and commentaries. Due to its fifties sensibility over the contemporary, scary, sexy, scandalous, and more or less weaker Usher adaptations, this rendition is classroom friendly whilst still capturing the right demented and moody atmosphere. House of Usher proves all you need for great film is the right cast, a good story, and an eerie stage. Fans of Roger Corman, the ensemble, Edgar Allan Poe, and gothic horror surely know and love this adaptation already, and if you don’t, for shame!


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