hammer horror films

greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

Do you think Edgar Allan Poe would have liked how some of his stories were made into hammer horror films in the 60s and 70s ? many thanks

-- Anonymous, April 16, 2000



This is a very interesting question and one I, personally, have only recently given any measure of thought to at all. Actually, my reflections were triggered from another event and from a much different context. You see, I have recently read that a show is being developed about Poe and that the starring roll will go to, none other than, Michael Jackson.

Now, Ill be the first to trumpet the indisputable fact that Mr. Jackson is, most certainly, an incredibly and abundantly talented individual and a magnificent singer. But really, now! Michael Jackson as Edgar Allan Poe? Perhaps it would be believable if it were to be a musical video or fantasy similar to his Thriller, but if its to be a serious attempt to represent Poe and his works, the thought is at least, laughable, at best, tragic in the extreme.

How, Mr. Poe would have reacted to the portrayal of his tales in film of the past is really anyones guess and I am no authority on making films. Nevertheless, I would hazard a guess that Mr. Poe would be most amused. It is the rarest of occasions, when after reading an excellent book, that we attend the film industrys representation of the book just completed and walk out of the theater satisfied, fulfilled, moved, frightened or pleased with what we have seen. I think Mr. Poe would have a similar reaction, an amused disappointment.

I am aware, however, that Mr. John Astin is or has starred in the role of Edgar Allan Poe in a play of exquisite quality. As I understand, the play does not wallow in a dark, forlorn and tragic figure that so many biographies seem to portray as the real Edgar Allan Poe. I loudly applaud Mr. Astin and I havent even seen the playyet!

Well, Paul accept these as merely comments unsupported by any measure of authoritative knowledge. They are simply opinions but as we all say at one time or another, The critics may like it but I know what I like and that aint it! Perhaps, theyll replace Michael with Mr. Astin! Do I hear a second? : )


-- Anonymous, April 16, 2000

Since Poe did not live to see his work turned into film we can't know. I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that, as a man of tender and genteel sensibilities he would have been disgusted with how a lot of his work was presented. Usually a movie maker must stress or play up certain elements in the work and eliminate others. There is no way a movie maker could translate the poetry and imagery and density of Poe's work to the screen. He'd have to stress gore and screams and work Leonardo DiCaprio into the script (DiCaprio as Roderick Usher?) I know this is supposed to consider mainly the Hammer films, which were truer to Poe--(if that was Truer. I mean-- what was that one with Peter Lorre and Vincent Price and Basil Rathobone--or was it Karloff--that was a comedy)

I remember the ones by Universal The Raven and The Black Cat that had absolutely nothing to do with the original works.

I think he would have been really outraged with this mutation of his work--even as he'd pocketed the fees he would have charged for permission to usse them.

Re: Michael Jackson playing Poe I hope he stays away from it. He doesn't need it. His real life IS an Edgar Allan Poe story.

-- Anonymous, April 20, 2000

Tis, excellent responce. i agree totally. and michael jackson? i was astounded... and quite disgusted~jennifer

-- Anonymous, November 04, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ