The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix

An Intriguing View on The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix

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What is The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix About?

The Fall of The House of Usher premiered on Netflix in the Fall of 2023. It’s loosely based on various works by Edgar Allan Poe. It follows two siblings/fraternal twins, Roderick and Madeline Usher, who have built an empire with the company Fortunato Pharmaceuticals. Yet, once they undergo another controversy and there’s a rumor of an informant within the Usher family, all the heirs die one by one as secrets from Roderick’s and Madeline’s past come to light.

The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix

Why Watch The Fall of The House of Usher?

Though the title itself is based on a story written by Edgar Allan Poe, the episodes are titled after a poem or short story by Poe. Each episode has a theme for how someone dies in the show. The mini-series basically consists of the episodes and stories within the story, The Fall of The House of Usher. For example, when an Usher gets killed, their death is based on another story Poe wrote (i.e., Leo’s death involves a black cat named Pluto, and his death is based on the short story, The Black Cat.

The series begins with Roderick and Madeline as children. Their mother worked for Fortunado Pharmaceuticals, and when she died, the twins made it their mission to take over the company. Flashbacks also show Madeline and Roderick in their youth; Roderick is a young husband and father, and on New Year’s Eve of 1979, they receive an offer they cannot refuse. This offer makes them rich and powerful, leading to success, with Roderick becoming CEO of Fortunado Pharmaceuticals and Madeline becoming COO.

Over the years, their success also comes with a lot of scrutiny, with lawsuits and criminal investigations involving the drugs and treatments they have developed throughout their journey. Once the attorney, C. Auguste Dupin, makes it known in a current ongoing investigation that a member of the Usher Family has been talking to the feds, the Usher Patriartch, Roderick, sets up a 50-million dollar bounty on the entire family, whoever finds the mole, would receive the reward.

Trailer to The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix

The Fall of The House of Usher (1839)

The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix is worth watching because it explores Edgar Allan Poe’s famous works in depth. The short story, written in 1839, completely differs from the Netflix mini-series. It’s about an unnamed narrator visiting his only friend, Roderick, who has fallen ill, along with his twin sister, Madeline, who needs a companion to be with him before he meets his demise as the last remaining member of the Usher family.

Edgar Allan Poe Masque of the Red Death
Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809-October 7, 1849)

The Fall of The House of Usher (Mini-Series)

Unlike the short story, The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix, it explores every aspect representing Edgar Allan Poe and his works. For instance, the second episode, titled The Masque of The Red Death, follows the youngest Usher, Prospero (nickname Perry), who aspires to own a bunch of clubs for exclusive and elite people, throws a massive party at one of the abandoned buildings owned by the family.

Perry’s backstory is similar to that of Prince Prospero. His character is named after the main character in The Masque of The Red Death, a prince and a plague known as The Red Death is killing his people. To survive this plague, Prince Prospero invites an elite group of survivors to a secluded party behind the locked and guarded doors at his palace. Yet as the party goes on, the guests die individually, leaving the Red Death to save Prince Prospero for last. Like Prince Prospero in the Masque of The Red Death, Perry Usher suffers a similar fate when Verna, the main antagonist, kisses him on the lips, resulting in his demise.

If you wish to know more about the short story, The Masque of The Red Death, check out this essay I wrote for my Intro to Literary Studies course I took in college in my portfolio: The Determination of Death: A Reader-Response Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.”

An Intriguing View on The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix 1
The photo is from IMDB. Verna attending Perry’s party in The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix

Another difference to The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix is that Roderick talks to C. Auguste Dupin, his friend-turned-rival (frenemy), about the events leading up to the deaths of all his children, whereas in the short story, the narrator is unnamed. There are other references to Poe’s works, such as Roderick’s first wife, Annabell Lee, whose name comes from a poem with the same name. The main antagonist is named Verna, which is an anagram for Raven, another famous poem written by Poe and also the title of the final episode.

An Intriguing View on The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix 2
The Raven on a tree

One reference that stands out is the name of Rodericks’s only grandchild, Lenore. She’s the only child of Roderick’s eldest son, Frederick, and her name is based on a character in the poem The Raven. Of every member in the Usher family, Lenore is known to be the best and the most innocent, as stated in the series by her grandfather, Roderick, and quite similar to that of the character in the famous poem.

Other references to Poe’s work and Poe himself include Rufus Griswald, the former CEO of Fortunado, who is also named after a real-life rival to Edgar Allan Poe and wears a jester costume in the episode The Raven. The jester costume is a reference to the exact costume worn by a character named Fortunado in another story written by Poe: The Cask of Amontillado.

Final Thoughts on The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix

There are so many references and Easter eggs to Poe’s stories and poems that live up to honoring one of the greatest American writers of the 19th century. Overall, the creator of the Netflix mini-series, Mike Flanagan, exceeds expectations by incorporating everything about Edgar Allan Poe and his established written works. That said, I highly recommend watching The Fall of The House of Usher on Netflix.

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