The Fall of the House of Usher Season 1 Episode 1 Review: A Midnight Dreary

There are very few television creators you trust that if you give their show a chance, you won’t be disappointed.

Mike Flanagan has cemented himself as the king of horror mini-series because he took existing formats, refined them, gave them his unique twist, and in the end, it became its own new genre.

The Fall of the House of Usher Season 1 Episode 1 introduced his latest endeavor, where he took some of the most popular stories by Edgar Allan Poe and gave them a modern twist that the audience from the twenty-first century would be able to identify with more.

My full disclosure is that my knowledge of Edgar Allan Poe is surface-level at best, so I’m coming at this from a purely entertainment-oriented angle.

Do you think I’ll miss any nuances about Edgar’s works the show aims to explore?

The first noticeable thing about the show was that the faces were familiar. They looked different from their past roles, but not by much.

Flanagan is known for having a group of creatives, actors especially, whom he collaborates with frequently. This is similar to what Ryan Murphy does with some of his actors.

The downside is that some people might misinterpret this, but the upside outweighs the downside because he knows the actors’ strengths and weaknesses.

The point is that there weren’t any concerns about the quality of the performances because these actors have proven themselves time and time again.

Who is the queen of scream queens?

From Kate Siegel to Rahul Kohli, these actors delivered great performances in shows like The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass.

Like some other of his works, The Fall of the House of Usher has a narrator.

Roderick’s narration gives it a certain richness that someone knowledgeable about the topic and the characters to be discussed offers.

The story is clearly horror, and that horror began long before we saw Roderick attend a mass to bury all of his children.

Ever since he was a boy, Roderick Usher lived in horror. His mother was a toxically staunch believer who would rather die than take medicine to alleviate her pain.

Madeline: Mom, you have to drink and… And we think maybe… Maybe we need to call a doctor, like on the TV.
Eliza: No!
Roderick: Mom, please.
Eliza: Jesus showed us how to heal the sick, and it wasn’t through medicine! Where is your faith? Your body is a temple of God. And you’d pollute it?!

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Added: October 11, 2023

Roderick and Madeline never had a relationship with their father. They suspected he might have been his mother’s boss, but they couldn’t dare ask about him.

Their mother had made their lives hell, and she wasn’t letting death stop her.

Eliza: How’s your foot?
Roderick: It hurts.
Eliza: Remember what Mother Teresa said, “Pain and suffering are like the kiss of Jesus.” It just means you’ve come so close to him that he can kiss you.

Permalink: Remember what Mother Teresa said, “Pain and suffering are like the kiss of Jesus.” It just…

Added: October 11, 2023

To properly enjoy a lot of the works in the horror genre, you must suspend disbelief and allow yourself to be reprogrammed and taught about the universe you are about to enter.

Some shows model their horror around real life, while others create a new universe to immerse the viewer.

Mike Flanagan will deliver all the horror from everything supernatural, like walking corpses to ghosts. Still, somewhere in the story, an explanation will be offered about what transpired for something like whatever you witnessed to happen.

That’s the beauty of his works. You will get scared, but zero mental gymnastics will be needed because everything is rational.

And so when the horrors began, it was horrifying, but I expected an explanation.

Never has the thought of dead people resurrecting not been scary. Some of the most horrifying stories I’ve ever known involved a morgue with walking and talking corpses.

Roderick and Madeline’s dead mother walking in the rain was a very scary sight.

A well-thought-out scene elevated the sequence. It needed a lot of sound to accentuate the feeling, and instead of using loud noises to create jumpscares, they used a thunderstorm. How genius was that?

Something else unexplained was the ghosts Roderick kept seeing, whether it was a random woman or his dead children.

It was fine for creating a scare here and there, and I wasn’t rushing to find the explanation behind it. Was it real ghosts, or was his mind playing tricks on him?

There are supernatural horrors, and then there are horrors we live with daily.

Everyone hates Big Pharma because we can all agree they are some of the most gluttonous people on earth.

Apple will charge you $1,000 for their newest phone with a slightly better camera when you barely thought about the camera in the previous model, and that’s too much.

But do you need a phone that expensive?

Drugs, on the other hand, are essential to health. They alleviate physical and mental pain, and it can’t be overstated how vital drugs are.

Yet pharmaceutical companies will charge an arm and a leg for a life-saving drug.

They will overprice it and then make cheaper and less effective alternatives with questionable ingredients and quantities bound to make people addicted.

From the moment Dupin gave his statement in court, one could tell the issue the show would tackle, and they couldn’t have chosen better.

The Usher children were introduced, and it was hard to keep track of who was who because no one had any business having that many children.

But in all fairness, it was not like Roderick really wanted some of them. They just happened to be born with his DNA.

They were a crazy bunch.

They were walking stereotypes of what one would expect children of a wealthy person to be.

Camille was a PR specialist who could spin anything to make anyone look good. She had all major publications in her contact book. Also, she might have been exploiting her assistants sexually.

Camille: We’re coming out swinging. Front-facing stuff. Softballs like Fox, Hannity knows which side
his dick’s buttered on. He’ll be friendly.
Beth: Tucker?
Camille: I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Yes, um, call Bresnickan at Vanity Fair, see if he wants a profile on Leo. We can let Leo help out for a change. He can talk about his Jordans, and his charity work. Kimmel, Colbert, also Leo. And fuck it, fine, Victorine as well, Victorine will work for Vanity and Cosmo. -For some reason, people like her.

Permalink: I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Yes, um, call Bresnickan at Vanity Fair, see if he…

Added: October 11, 2023

Perry was the youngest, and it showed. He lived in a castle but couldn’t help but build more of them in the air.

Ideas are easy to think of, but execution is the hard part. Having his own underground exclusive club must have looked nice in his mind, but what did Perry know about running a club?

Was he even of legal drinking age?

There was Fredrick, a copy of his father, and the others hated him for it.

Leo was a coked-up drug addict who spent his days doing more drugs and cheating on his boyfriend.

Victorine was the smart overachiever whose smarts failed her most when she needed them.

And then there was Tamerlane, who did what exactly?

They were very volatile as a family, and the revelation that there might be an informant among them didn’t improve things. If they had a reason to hate each other before, now they had one more.

To create an empire, some ruthlessness is needed, and it didn’t seem like either Madeline or Roderick were kidding.

Mike Flanagan’s stories are never told linearly, which has always worked for them. It creates mystery, suspense, thrill, and shock when needed.

View Slideshow: 21 TV Shows to Make You Forget About the Real World

The episode flashed back to the past when Roderick and Madeline were running on nothing but dreams like Perry, and a chance encounter with Verna bore a fascinating conversation.

Verna was the mysterious woman Roderick saw. What happened in those years that she would come to haunt him? Was she dead?

“A Midnight Dreary” was a great series premiere where it introduced the characters, set up the format, and the storyline without missing a beat.

If pain and suffering were the kisses of Jesus, then he kissed the living fuck out of my mother in the years that followed.


Permalink: If pain and suffering were the kisses of Jesus, then he kissed the living fuck out of my…

Added: October 11, 2023

What did you think of it?

Hit the comments section and share your thoughts.

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