John Cusack in The Raven

John Cusack in The Raven

With the Blu-ray & DVD release of The Raven coming up (30th July), we take a look into the idea of utilizing Edgar Allan Poe’s stories in cinema.

Poe’s work inspires horrific murders in The Raven as a detective joins forces with Poe to stop him from making his stories a reality. Like in The Raven, his haunting and poetic legacy can be found within many films. Here are some moments in film inspired by Poe’s work.

The Fall of the House of Usher (1960)

As the first of director Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe films. Vincent Price stars as the condemned Roderick Usher who lives in his family’s decaying house with his sister.

He tells a guest of an old Usher family curse that occurs any time there is more than one Usher child. In the past, the curse results in all of the siblings going insane and dying horrible deaths. As the days wear on, the effects of the curse reach their terrifying climax.

Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of the same name. The story is about a young man, played by Vincent Price, who visits a forbidden castle to investigate his sister’s mysterious death.

After multiple horrifying events, the man becomes strapped to a torture device. The torture chamber plus Vincent Price equals Poe perfection.

Tales of Terror (1962)

Easily one of the most fun of the films based of Edgar Allan Poe. This anthology film of three short stories is like a comedy that happens to have murder in it.

In the part about The Black Cat, a drunk person walls and tortures Vincent Price behind bricks. Corman combined several Poe stories that result in a perfect horror flick.

The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

The most lavish of the Corman/Price/Poe movies is based on two of Poe’s stories. Vincent Price plays a devil worshiping prince who hosts a bizarre masked ball.

He insists that his guests partake in corrupted games; where most of them result in someone’s death.

Castle of Blood (1964)

Edgar Allan Poe himself challenges a tourist in the film to spend the night in a haunted mansion.

The tourist, who did not believe in the supernatural is sucked into the world of ghosts upon entering the mansion.

The ghosts and phantoms seek to replay the horrifying murders of a love triangle; assuring that he will never get out alive.

Witchfinder General (1968)

The Poe movie star, Vincent Price plays Matthew Hopkins, a witchfinder who travels from town to town, brutally interrogating those accused of witchcraft. He uses fire, drowning and torture to force confessions out of the people accused.

Spirits of the Dead (1968)

Federico Fellini turns a not-so-well known Poe piece into a 1960s nightmare of alienation, despair and madness.

This anthology film is a confusing, arch and extremely thought out piece of Poe writings that alienated audiences at the time.

Web of the Spider (1971)

In this color remake of the Castle of Blood, Klaus Kinski plays Poe’s role. No one ever services a night in Blackwood’s castle, but a supernatural skeptic gladly accepts a dare to spend the night there.

The castle is striking and scary, which soon begins to affect the skeptic’s mind.

Vincent (1982)

Tim Burton’s clay-animated film is the perfect tribute to Edgar Allan Poe as a seven-year-old boy dreams of growing up to become just like his idol, Vincent Price.

He locks himself away in his room and reads Poe’s writings. He fantasizes about torturing his stout aunt in a boiling pot of wax.

The Raven (2012)

This suspenseful horror sees Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack, Being John Malkovich) join forces with young Baltimore detective, Emmet Fields (Luke Evans, Immortals) to hunt down a serial killer.

When a mother and daughter are found brutally murdered in 19th century Baltimore, detective Emmett Fields makes a startling discovery.

The crime resembles a fictional murder described in gory detail in the local newspaper as part of a collection of stories penned by struggling writer and social pariah Edgar Allan Poe.

As another gruesome murder occurs, which is also inspired by a popular Poe story, Poe soon realises his work is being used as inspiration for the brutal killings.

The Raven is released on Blu-ray & DVD 30th July 2012

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