When Hollywood was just acres of orange groves, and the film industry was still centered in Fort Lee, New Jersey, books were already being adapted to movies. The first Shakespearean play was adapted for the screen in 1899 (King John), and the first feature-length film was an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables in 1909. Some directors, like Alfred Hitchcock, worked almost entirely off adapted screenplays. While the attraction is easy to understand (a detailed story, fully developed characters, an audience ready to watch the book come to life), there’s that ever-present risk of hearing that time-worn criticism: “The book is better than the movie.”

For Horror director Mike Flanagan, faithfulness to the book has always been secondary to his vision. After two movies based on Stephen King novels—Doctor Sleep and Gerald’s Game, Flanagan jettisoned the constraints of fidelity with his two Netflix miniseries: The Haunting of Hill House in 2018 (based on the Shirley Jackson novella of the same name) and The Haunting of Bly Manor in 2020 (based on the Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw). Both feature Flanagan’s trademark combination of campiness, psychological insight, and insightful characterization mixed with traditional horror elements. And both use the source only as inspiration.

House of Usher (2)
Image via Netflix

Like Flanagan’s Haunting miniseries, The Fall of the House of Usher is another horror miniseries adapted from classic literature written by Edgar Allan Poe. Fans are wondering what elements Flanagan will keep and what he will change. Will the result satisfy horror and Poe fans? How will it compare to his previous work? Read on for all the details we know so far about the project.

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on October 8.

When Is ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ Coming Out?

House of Usher
Image via Netflix

Netflix had announced that The Fall of the House of Usher will arrive on the service in the Fall of 2023. The series will debut on October 12. What better time for a horror adaptation than Halloween?

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Does ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ Have a Trailer?

The first full-length trailer for The Fall of the House of Usher was released on September 12, 2023, and you can see it in the player above. There’s also a teaser for The Fall of the House of Usher that was released on August 12 via Twitter. The 16-second clip doesn’t reveal much of the plot, but it does provide a sense of eeriness that raises anticipation for the show. See it here:

A new clip from The Fall of The House of Usher was released on September 20, showing the complex dynamics of the Usher family. Here it is:

We got a new promotional clip for The Fall of the House of Usher on October 2, introducing the Usher family, their influence, and power. It also serves as a handy breakdown of the central characters (some of them, at least). Watch it here:

What Is ‘The Fall of The House of Usher’ About?

Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Fall of The House of Usher, first published in 1839, is still among his most famous works. The narrator arrives at the decaying ancestral home of his childhood friend, Roderick Usher, who is convinced he will soon die. Roderick lives with his beautiful twin sister, the ghostly, distracted, ill Madeline. Shortly after the narrator’s first visit, Roderick informs him that Madeline has died and asks for his help placing Madeline’s body in the family vault. But in the days following her death and burial, Roderick deteriorates rapidly before finally revealing this horrified suspicion that Madeline is still alive, trapped in the tomb. The narrator witnesses Madeline’s blood-soaked return and attack on her brother before running for his life. And from a distance, he watches as the house splits in two and sinks into a lake. Now, bear in mind, the plot of the series is expected to be significantly different from that of the story. Here’s what we know:

Roderick Usher is the CEO of Fortunato Pharmaceuticals, and together with his cunning twin sister Madeline, he oversees a vast corporate empire. The actions of a shapeshifting demon from his past bent on killing his children and a determined attorney who wants to expose the corruption behind Fortunato Pharmaceuticals begin to unravel the world of the Ushers, leading Roderick to a confrontation with his own past sins.

Related: ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ Review: Mike Flanagan Successfully Merges Edgar Allan Poe and ‘Succession’

Who’s Making ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’?

Mike Flanagan on the set of Midnight Mass
Image via Netflix

The Fall of the House of Usher is the fifth Intrepid Pictures collaboration between Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy at Netflix under Intrepid Pictures. In addition to the two Haunting anthology series, Intrepid produced two other series: the critically lauded Midnight Mass (2021) and the recently canceled The Midnight Club (2022). Flanagan and Michael Fimognari will direct four episodes of the eight-part miniseries. Trevor Macy, Emmy Grinwis, and Fimognari will also serve as executive producers on the project.

Though most roles were cast by the end of 2021, filming didn’t start until 2022 and hit a snag in April 2022 when Frank Langella, cast as Roderick Usher, was replaced by Bruce Greenwood. Filming of the series, like many of Flanagan’s previous works, took place in British Columbia at Bridge Studios and wrapped on July 9, 2022.

Who’s In the Cast of ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’?

Image via Netflix

Flanagan is known for repeatedly working with the same actors, and The Fall of the House of Usher is no exception. Among the familiar faces from his previous productions are Carla Gugino (The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting Bly Manor) appearing as Verna, described as “a shape-shifting demon”; Kate Siegel (Midnight Mass) as Camille L’Espanaye, who runs PR for the Ushers; Henry Thomas (Gerald’s Game, Doctor Sleep) as Frederick Usher, heir to the Usher empire; Rahul Kohli (Midnight Mass, The Haunting of Bly Manor) as Frederick’s playboy brother Napoleon Usher, and Annabeth Gish (The Haunting of Hill House, Midnight Mass) as Eliza.

Bruce Greenwood (Doctor Sleep) leads the series as Roderick Usher. Meanwhile, Mary McDonnell (Dances with Wolves, Donnie Darko) has been cast as Roderick’s twin Madeline Usher, and Mark Hamill will play Arthur Pym, the family attorney. Carl Lumbly appears as C. Auguste Dupin, Poe’s archetypal investigator, here an attorney who sets out to bring down the Ushers. Other cast members include T’Nia Miller as Roderick’s eldest “bastard” child Victorine Lafourcade, Sauriyan Sapkota as the Roderick’s youngest child Prospero “Perry” Usher, Samantha Sloyan as Roderick’s daughter Tamerlane Usher, Katie Parker as Roderick’s first wife Annabel Lee, Crystal Balint as Frederick’s wife Morella “Morrie” Usher, Kyleigh Curran as Frederick and Morrie’s daughter Lenore, Michael Trucco as Rufus Griswold, Ruth Codd as Roderick’s second wife Juno Usher, and Matt Biedel as Tamerlane’s husband Bill T. Wilson, as well as Malcolm Goodwin, Paola Nuñez, Aya Furukawa, Daniel Jun, Robert Longstreet, Willa Fitzgerald, Zach Gilford, and Igby Rigney.

Related: ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ Image Sees Bruce Greenwood Call a Family Meeting

Will ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ Follow the Source Material?

House of Usher
Image via Netflix

Unsurprisingly, Poe’s works have been adapted for the screen over 200 times; the visual potentials of Poe’s obsession with Old-World evil and the romantic, decadent decay have always tempted filmmakers. The Fall of the House of Usher has been adapted into feature-length movies (two silent films, a relatively faithful Roger Corman 1960 version, and a modern 2006 update) and numerous plays, operas, shorts, and series episodes. However, filmmakers often struggled to expand the sources, usually short stories, into feature-length films, and the results often deviated in everything except the atmosphere. The best-known of these–eight low-budget Roger Corman movies made between 1960-1964 and usually starring the debonair, diabolical Vincent Price–are entertaining but can’t recreate Poe’s macabre, paranoid, and generally unwholesome sensibility. And even today, capturing the intensity and mystery that consumed Poe, for whom the corridors of a gothic castle always led to the unspeakable depths of the human mind, remains a challenge.

For his Haunting miniseries, Flanagan’s approach–lifting only a skeleton of plots, themes, and characters from the original source–avoided stepping into the footprints of giants, as both The Turn of the Screw and The Haunting of Hill House had already been adapted into classic films: The Innocents (1961) for the former and The Haunting (1961) for the latter. Like Jackson’s novella, Flanagan’s Hill House dealt with delusion disguised as paranormal phenomena–but also added themes of fractured families and childhood trauma. And like James’s work, Flanagan’s Bly Manor dealt with doomed, gothic romance, repression born of isolation, and evil hiding behind childish innocence. But Flanagan’s characters can largely survive and forget their horrifying experience. Each Haunting miniseries offered new and unusual interpretations of classic stories, allowing Flanagan to include his themes of restored connections, community engagement, and personal sacrifice.

Therefore, unlike previous filmmakers working with Poe’s stories, Flanagan focus less on the gothic atmosphere rather than the psychological themes. The intrusion of the past into the present, the connection between madness and the occult, and how unchecked fear can lead to violence and death are highly engaging. Additionally, since the cast includes C. Auguste Dupin, the detective who appears in another Poe story, The Murder At The Rue Morgue, the miniseries will likely draw on other Poe stories and poems like The Cask of Amontillado and The Raven.

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