Poe in Film

PoeThe Raven is released this Friday (9th March) starring John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe. It’s a a fictional story of murder, mystery and mayhem where a psychopathic killer is slaughtering his victims in the style of Poe’s most famous stories. To celebrate this, we thought it was time to take a look at some of the most famous filmic interpretations of his classic works.

PoeFrom being quoted in The Crow to spawning the names of the fabulous vampire hunting Frog Brothers in Lost Boys to even having entire Tree House of Horror Simpson’s episodes devoted to him author Edgar Allan Poe has influenced a whole host of horror’s. Below we run through some of the most famous versions of his stories starting with…


Murders in the Rue Morgue
Based on the Poe story of the same name director Gordon Hessler decided that the ending was so famous he would change the entire plot crafting his 1971 film as much based on the original story as it is on Phantom of the Opera. With a story about a 19th century Parisian theatre troupe who specialise in gory horror plays the film was banned in Finland proving that Poe’s stories even when altered are still powerful stuff.

Murders in the Rue Morgue has been adapted for film, radio, television and even a video game much like another story of Poe’s with plenty of versions…


The Masque of the Red Death
Directed and produced by the king of B-Movies Roger Corman this 1964 British horror stars legendary actor Vincent Price as an evil prince who lives a life of excess safe in his castle while leaving his plague ridden people outside to die. Based upon the 1842 short story of the same name by Poe it incorporates a sub-plot based on another Poe tale, Hop-Frog.

The movie is one in a series of eight Corman film adaptations of Poe’s works, all but one not staring Price, which includes House of Usher (1960), The Premature Burial (1962), Tales of Terror (1962), The Raven (1963), The Haunted Palace (1963), The Tomb of Ligeia (1964) and…


The Pit and the Pendulum
The 1961 film staring Barbara Steele, John Kerr, and you guessed it Vincent Price is probably the most famous, successful and influential of Corman’s Poe adaptations with the climatic torture scene where we finally see the titular device in action. Talking about one of the films biggest shock scenes (the discovery of Elizabeth’s hideously decayed corpse) Steven King said “Following the Hammer films, this becomes, I think, the most important moment in the post-1960 horror film, signaling a return to an all-out effort to terrify the audience…and a willingness to use any means at hand to do it.”

Inspiring a trap in Saw V the movie also had a strong affect many Italian horror films which leads us straight to…


The Black Cat
This 1981 Italian horror film directed by horror maestro Lucio Fulci the man behind The Beyond and Zombie Flesh Eaters, is based loosely on the story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe about a detective investigating a series of recent deaths in a small village. As the poster creepily quotes – “When you hear the cat breathing down your neck… start praying… before you finish your Amen… you’re dead!”

The Raven is in cinemas from the 9th March.


Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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  • […] Fulci 80’s Giallo The Black Cat up to John Cusack playing the author himself in 2012 The Raven Edgar Allan Poe’s legend and stories of ghosts, ghouls murder and mayhem have been adapted for film and television […]

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