Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Fall of the House of Usher

A very surreal 13-minute film, this adaptation of Usher appeared in 1928, according to IMDB. Some of the effects seem dated, and very Flock-of-Seagulls to a 21st century audience. But the surreal sets, odd camera angles, and visual tricks have an undeniably creepy and unsettling quality. During the first scene, pay attention to the black gloved hands that serve the brother and sister. And notice how often the directors play around with moving images of staircases. You might almost get vertigo watching this film. It deserves close scrutiny.

Afterwards, compare it to scenes from the 1920 German Expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (the film itself is here with thumbnail images here). And read Poe's story.

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