The Big Read Blog (Archive)

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November 20, 2008
Washington, DC

Growing up in New York City in the mid-1980s, one of my TV favorites was ABC's The 4:30 Movie, a weekly, themed, mini-festival of classic movies. I distinctly remember huddling under the bedcovers, terrified, after a marathon of Vincent Price movies, which I'm sure included at least a few of the six films he did based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe. Price introduced me to Poe's Roderick Usher and even to "The Raven," which was the basis for a 1963 Price film. As The Big Read team decides which of Poe's many works of poetry and short fiction to feature in the Reader's Guide, I'm going to go ahead and suggest that any community hoping to host a Poe Big Read in 2009-2010 strongly consider a Vincent Price Meets Edgar Allan Poe Film Festival. I'll bring the popcorn . . .and the blankets to hide under!

Here's the first few lines from "The Fall of the House of Usher" to whet your appetite:

During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country, and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was - but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. . .

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