Archive for House of Usher

Here’s mud in your eye

Posted in FILM, Mythology with tags , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2011 by dcairns

I’ve said before that for me, Murnau’s films connect in weird cross-temporal ways, with the magic carpet ride of FAUST flying over the landscapes of both previous and later films…

Meanwhile, the blasted no-man’s land of Murnau’s SCHLOSS VOGELOED, an abstraction of mud and twigs, seems to have crept, blob-fashion, onto Henry Spencer’s bedside table in ERASERHEAD.

But for a really spooky connection, you’ll have to ooze yourselves over to the Daily Notebook to check out this week’s edition of The Forgotten.

This one’s available to buy in the UK: Schloss Vogelöd (aka The Haunted Castle) [Masters of Cinema] [DVD]

Thanks, by the way, for making Shadowplay Day a success — a nice fifty per cent spike in hits, really got my pulse rate going. As payback, I’ll make this a request spot — name a subject you’d like me to write about, and I’ll do it. Might be a whole post, might just be a line, might even be only a syllable, but I will fulfill your desires!

Oh, and here’s another HOUSE OF USHER rhyme.

Shadowplay Day

Posted in FILM with tags , , on August 31, 2011 by dcairns

Today we have a limerick, dealing with Roger Corman’s HOUSE OF USHER, over at Limerwrecks. Here.

Also, it’s international Shadowplay Day. This means that if you enjoy Shadowplay, you have to pick an article, an old favourite or else one you stumble upon by using the “Search” fucntion to your right, or clicking randomly on a date — then tweet it, Facebook it, “Like” it, “share” it by Reddit, Stumbleupon or Digg, link to it from your blog, phone a friend, or otherwise get the word out.

I’m just curious if a popularity spike can be created by the simple, barefaced means of asking for one. It’ll make me happy. (And you thought Shadowplay Day would mean something nice for you…)

If you don’t want to go browsing, here are some readymade links —





La Cava!


Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by dcairns

I’ve always felt that Roger Corman’s Poe adaptations, stylised and willfully studio-bound as they are, owed something to the works of Powell & Pressburger… Corman, who’s usually frank and generous in crediting his inspirations, has never mentioned this to my knowledge (Fellini and Bergman get name-checked, though), but I still feel it’s there… I first got the impression from the climax of HOUSE OF USHER, where the mad Madeleine (Myrna Fahey), risen from the grave, scares the leaping bejesus out of Vincent Price. I thought, “Ah-hah, Kathleen Byron in BLACK NARCISSUS.”

But watching MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH again the other night, I was reminded during the psychedelic satanic ritual scene of THE RED SHOES by a quick shot of Hazel Court’s feet (or a balletic stand-in’s) running ~ here’s Moira Shearer’s version ~

And here’s Hazel’s ~

It has to be influence, otherwise why is Hazel running en pointe? It’s not just the quick-moving close-up track, but the way it’s incorporated into the sequence as a whole, struck me as a definite swipe (and I use the term with admiration, not pejoratively). Of course, cinematographer Nic Roeg, steeped in British cinema, may have suggested the idea, but he couldn’t have done so on HOUSE OF USHER. So, then I wondered if, really, THE RED SHOES was the overall influence. It just so happens that THE RED SHOES was one of my first Blu-Ray purchases, and so I ran it. (It was beautiful.)

Whadayaknow? It seems like Fahey’s impressive, pantomimic gesture with her bloody nails might stem from Moira Shearer’s moves in SHOES, and indeed, that Corman’s whole zombie-dream-sequence approach, borrowed to pad out almost every one of his Poe movies (and provide visual relief from the chatter), might owe something to Vicky’s nocturnal adventure in the demi-monde of TRS’s ballet scene…

USHER even features a fast shot following Mark Damon’s feet down a flight of stairs which seems to echo the spiral ironwork staircase shot in THE RED SHOES recently homaged by Scorsese in SHUTTER ISLAND.

I don’t for a second think Mr. Corman is trying to pull a fast one — it’s quite possible that THE RED SHOES exerted a subconscious influence, or that it was fresh in his mind when he made USHER and MASQUE, but is less so now. All I want to do is congratulate him on his excellent taste.

(Images aren’t taken from the Blu-Ray of TRS, because I don’t know how to do that.)