Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe Series Ranked

Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe Series Ranked

A worst-to-best ranking of B-Movie legend Roger Corman's Poe-inspired horror movie series.
172
views

Between 1960 and 1964, legendary B-Movie producer Roger Corman directed a series of eight films based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Compared to the rest of Corman's output (an additional 11 films) during this period, his Poe films are heavily stylized. The costumes and sets are flashy and artificial, embracing the overwrought excess of their literary inspirations. The low-budget approach to Gothic horror is quite effective, capturing the paradoxical broody stoicism and overflowing emotion that characterizes the genre. This past month I watched all eight films and have compiled a ranking of the series from worst to best. I would not recommend binging all eight films back-to-back like I did, but there is certainly a lot of fun to be had with this series.

8. "Tales of Terror" (1962)

Anthology films rarely work due to inconsistency between segments, and "Tales of Terror" is no exception. The first segment, "Morella", is too short to properly build up suspense. The second, "The Black Cat", tries to incorporate comedy into its story. This mostly amounts to Vincent Price making goofy faces and Peter Lorre embarrassing himself as a stock drunkard character. The third and final segment, "The Case of M. Valdemar", is the only interesting one of the bunch, but like "Morella", it does not get enough time to fully develop into something interesting. If you are going to skip watching a Corman Poe film, this is the one to avoid.

7. "The Masque of the Red Death" (1964)

The main conceit of "The Masque of the Red Death" is that the villainous Prince Prospero is creating a descent into hell within the walls of his castle while the countryside is ravaged by plague. The rich and powerful are supposedly safe in the castle, but Prospero's madness and decadence lead to everyone's destruction. This idea works well in the original short story, but stretched out to feature length, the idea becomes repetitive. By the end, Vincent Price may as well be directly asking the audience "Get it? Get it? Ironic, huh?".

6. "The Premature Burial" (1962)

This is the only film of the series not to feature Vincent Price, instead substituting veteran actor Ray Milland in the lead role. Milland is no replacement for Price, but the story succeeds despite his unremarkable performance. Guy Carrell (Milland) is terrified of being buried alive, and someone is trying to drive him mad through this fear. There is a degree of mean-spiritedness to the proceedings that is not present in the other Poe films that elevates its above the weaker entries in the series. Not the best, but certainly an interesting adaptation.

5. "The Raven" (1963)

Corman goes for comedy in this loose adaptation of the famous Poe poem. The results are incredibly corny, like a knockoff version of those live-action comedy films Disney was producing at the time. Much like those cheesy Disney movies, "The Raven" is fun if you are in the right mood. Vincent Price and Boris Karloff play off each other well, and their climactic wizard duel is a fun bit of bad special effects and hammy overacting. This is by far the goofiest film in the series, but the movie at least recognizes that and runs with it.

4. "The Tomb of Ligeia" (1964)

A strange but fitting note on which to end the series. The story, quite puzzlingly, leans more towards the romantic side of Gothic fiction rather than horror. The atmosphere is certainly spooky, but it does not embrace the usual horror elements as strongly as the rest of the series. Unlike the preceding seven films, "The Tomb of Ligeia" features scenes shot on location in authentic castle ruins, rather than just using a soundstage. This is by far the most cinematic looking film in the series, eschewing stagey, static framing for a more mobile camera that roams through the high-quality sets. An odd outlier in the series for sure, but it sure looks great.

3. "The Pit and the Pendulum" (1961)

Definitely one of the better Vincent Price performances in the series. His slow descent into madness over the course of the film is tragic and compelling. When Price finally goes off the deep end, he gets the chance cut loose and chew scenery as only he can do. The film is great at slowly building suspense over time, but the climactic encounter with the titular torture devices leaves something to be desired. There is never an adequate sense of danger, which kills the otherwise suspenseful editing in the film's final scenes. The rest of the movie is great, it just fumbles with the last ten minutes or so.

2. "The Haunted Palace" (1963)

Technically an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation (the Poe title was added at the insistence of the film's distributor), and a solid one at that. The moldering castle and foggy village sets bring Lovecraft's writing to life as much as Poe's. "The Haunted Palace" also features the creepiest visuals of the series, with grotesque mutant villagers and ghoulishly gray evil housekeepers. The story is much darker than the other films in the series as well, with elements of possession, eldritch monsters, and even the Necronomicon popping up at various points. As far as early 1960s horror films go, this is as close as it gets to being actually unsettling.

1. "House of Usher" (1960)

The first film in the series is also the best film in the series, most effectively capturing that intersection of low-budget filmmaking and Gothic excess. Vincent Price (looking strangely like Lawrence of Arabia) gives his best performance of the series, going for a chilling understated delivery as Roderick Usher. The movie is a slow burn, allowing for plenty of brooding from the lead actors. When the film is not reveling in emotional turmoil, there are some genuinely creepy moments, including a psychedelic nightmare sequence and a genuinely unsettling finale. If you only watch one of the Corman Poe films, this should be the one.

Cover Image Credit: Skitterphoto

Popular Right Now

35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
144404
views

Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

The Zodiac Signs As Bath And Body Works Scents

Just in case you want to know what scent you are!

188
views
Bath and Body Works fans could be considered to be part of a cult. The scents draw you in as if calling your name, if you ever
wondered what your scent should be based on your zodiac sign, here it is!

Aries: Country Apple

The rather impulsive Aries takes their time picking and choosing the scents from Bath and Body Works. The soothing scent of a fresh apple orchard is just what they need on a daily basis to keep up with their shenanigans.

Taurus: Japanese Cherry Blossom

The personality of a Taurus is stubborn, or what I like to say, is stuck in their ways. When they first discovered this scent in middle school, this was it. This is the only scent you will find anywhere around a Taurus.

Libra: Pink Chiffon

Pink Chiffon is another cult classic. This best selling scent went out of style for a hot second but is back and bigger than ever.

Leo: Thousand Wishes

Thousand Wishes is a purr-fect scent for a Leo. The light scent adornes the wearer just the right amount to get the desired reaction from those around them.

Aquarius: Be Enchanted

The rather cold personality of an Aquarius is counteracted by the loving scent of Be Enchanted. The scent is just enough tenderness for the wearer to be relaxed.

Gemini: Moonlight Path

Gemini's constantly change their favorite scent and are in and out of the store almost weekly to by new lotions, candles, and body washes. You will never see a full empty bottle of anything, however, Moonlight Path is the scent they keep coming back to again and again.

Virgo: Sea Island Cotton

The clean personality of a Virgo must be matched with the clean scent of Sea Island Cotton.

Capricorn: Cucumber Melon

Another clean scent of Cucumber Melon is the exact thing a Capricorn needs. The balance and calming scents are what make this scent so attractive to a Capricorn.

Scorpio: Paris Amour

The light scent is what you would expect from an extreme sign like a Scorpio. The scent lightly washes over the wearer in almost a cloud that

Sagittarius: Cashmere Glow

Cashmere Glow is a perfect scent for the winter sign. The vanilla and golden peach scent is just the mixture that creates the perfect accessory in the chilly months.

Pisces: Warm Vanilla Sugar

This lovely scent accentuates the lovely personality of a Pisces. They can never get enough of this scent so they just keep buying and buying until they have a full stockpile.

Cancer: Velvet Sugar

Velvet Sugar is the perfect blend of red velvet and strawberries and a Cancer is always changing their mind. The wearer can tell if it is a more red velvet or strawberry kind of day, and that is the balance that they need in their lives.

Related Content

Facebook Comments