Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’: Netflix vs. the Original

Eddie Ejjbair
5 min readOct 20, 2023

The new season of Mike Flanagan’s Haunting series is an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe. While the two previous seasons (The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor) have taken a singular text as their inspiration, The Fall of the House of Usher is based on multiple Poe texts, making it an anthology within an anthology.

The story from which the season gets its name, though, is very different from the Netflix version. Aside from it being set in the present, key aspects of the story are also altered — aspects that made The Fall the instant classic that it was.

Harry Melling as Edgar Allan Poe (from The Pale Blue Eye)

In the original, for instance, a great deal of attention is paid to the actual House of Usher. As the narrator explains, the house (as in the lineage of Usher) and the dwelling are inextricably tied. Roderick Usher, the heir, even claims that his debilitation is due to his equally dilapidated estate:

I learned, moreover, at intervals, and through broken and equivocal hints, another singular feature of his mental condition. He was enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had never ventured forth — in regard to an influence whose supposititious force was conveyed in terms too shadowy here to be re-stated — an influence which some peculiarities in the mere form and substance of his family mansion, had, by dint of long sufferance, he said, obtained over his spirit — an effect which the physique of the gray walls and turrets, and of the dim tarn into which they all looked down, had, at length, brought about upon the morale of his existence

‘Space’, as Mark Fisher says in his essay on The Shining, ‘is intrinsic to spectrality, as one of the meanings of the term “haunt” — a place — indicates’. But it is also, he adds, a disorder of time: ‘Haunting happens when a space is invaded or otherwise disrupted by a time that is out-of-joint, a dyschronia’. In The Fall, this dyschronia takes the form of Roderick’s twin-sister, who returns as a revenant when buried prematurely.

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Eddie Ejjbair

‘Gradually it’s become clear to me what every great philosophy has been: a personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir’