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How does Mike Flanagan’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ Netflix series compare to the original Edgar Allan Poe story after first trailer?

Better question; how doesn't it?

Mike Flanagan‘s Netflix swansong The Fall of the House of Usher is due on the platform exactly one month from now, and it looks like the horror maverick is swinging for the fences like never before if this latest trailer is any indication of what we’re in for.

Indeed, anyone familiar with Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of the same name may have had to do quite the double-take here, as the series that Mike Flanagan seems to have dreamed up is more akin to the horror genre’s answer to Succession rather than a faithful nod to the 1839 ghost story.

But, cards on the table, we’re not complaining one bit, as the series looks to be injected with every bit of that Flanagan-specific care that has permeated his portfolio since he first burst onto the scene. Exactly how different is Flanagan’s The Fall of the House of Usher from Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, though?

What is Poe’s short story, The Fall of the House of Usher, about?

Cr. Eike Schroter/Netflix © 2023

Poe’s original 1839 story follows the plight of an unnamed narrator who visits his ailing friend, Roderick Usher, in his mysteriously fractured family mansion. After a period of interpersonal musing, Roderick states that he believes his fate is tied to the Usher family mansion, and that his sister Madeline has passed away. The narrator helps Roderick encase Madeline in the family tomb, and the two men start to go mad as a storm approaches.

To calm both of their nerves, the narrator reads Roderick a story about a medieval knight who breaks into a dwelling to avoid a storm, but soon after realizes that he’s broken into a golden palace guarded by a dragon. But, as the narrator reads on, the events in the story seem to echo in the house beyond the narrator’s bedroom (they hear real shrieks when the dragon’s cries are described, they hear a metallic clang when a shield falls off a wall in the story, etc.), and then Roderick finally admits that his sister wasn’t actually dead, and the noises are coming from her.

The sister, bloodied from her entombment, eventually appears, killing Roderick and causing the narrator to flee, after which he peers back at the house as it shatters into innumerable pieces and sinks into the nearby lake.

What is Flanagan’s Netflix series, The Fall of the House of Usher, about?

the fall of the house of usher
Image via Netflix

Judging by the official synopsis and trailer hints, Flanagan’s series centers on the corrupt Usher family, whose company Fortunato Pharmaceuticals have made them into one of the wealthiest, most powerful families in the world. Karma comes for their throats, however, as the CEO’s children begin to die gruesomely at the hands of a mysterious figure, forcing the patriarch to confront his unsavory past.

Needless to say, there’s quite a bit separating Flanagan’s upcoming show from its 1839 namesake, but to The Fall of the House of Usher‘s credit, the original short story is just one of a variety of Poe’s works that Flanagan is pulling from here, as if the repetition of the word “nevermore” near the trailer’s end didn’t make that blatantly obvious. Combine that with Flanagan’s creativity in the realm of setting, plot, and humor, and you’ve got a distinctly modern love letter to Edgar Allan Poe that just might be Flanagan’s biggest homerun yet.

The Fall of the House of Usher descends onto Netflix on Oct. 12.

Charlotte Simmons
About the author

Charlotte Simmons

Charlotte is a freelance writer for We Got This Covered, a graduate of St. Thomas University's English program, a fountain of film opinions, and the single biggest fan of Peter Jackson's 'King Kong,' probably. Having written professionally since 2018, her work has also appeared in The Town Crier and The East