Bruce Greenwood as Roderick Usher presides a family dinner.

Edgar Allan Poe 21st Century Reboot

Posted by Speakeasy News > Thursday 04 January 2024 > Shine Bright Lycée What's On

The new Netflix TV series The Fall of the House of Usher is inspired by the famous Edgar Allan Poe story but in a pretty tangential way. The horror mini-series keeps the Usher twins Roderick and Madeline but far from being the last members of a dying family they are the heads of a family pharmaceutical dynasty with members aplenty. Until they start dying in mysterious ways… If you are studying it with your LLCER pupils, they might like to compare it to the original for their Portfolio.

Each of the eight episodes – or at least the deaths they portray – is actually inspired by a different Poe short story, from “The Black Cat” to “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. The aesthetic is more boardroom than gothic castle and the titular “house” has become a business empire peddling opioid painkillers to the public.

Check out this character guide to find out more about the many members of the Usher family and those who are opposing their corrupt dynasty.

A family tree of the characters in The Fall of the House of Usher

If you are having your pupils study the Poe original, don’t miss our Reading Guide. And coming soon, a resource to work on the series trailer with your classes.


An image of Madeline Usher from the Epstein film.And for a very different take on The Fall of the House of Usher, check out the 1928 Jean Epstein version available free on the Cinémathèque site. It’s a French film but it’s silent.  It’s visually much closer to the original, although Madeline is Roderick’s wife rather than his twin.


The Fall of the House of Usher

The crumbling "house or Usher" where Roderick and Madeline grew up does make an appearance in the new series, as do characters from other Poe works. Here, Carl Lumbly as C. Auguste Dupin, the namesake of Poe's pioneering detective, who is the assistant Attorney General prosecuting the family in the series.