Mike Flanagan, the horror mastermind behind The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, is back just in time for the spooky season with a new Netflix horror drama, The Fall of the House of Usher. This modern adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1839 short story of the same name promises “a fresh, freaky twist”, as well as a medley of references to many of Poe’s other classic tales. With Halloween just around the corner, a litany of small-screen adventures are hitting streaming in October and The Fall of the House of Usher, which landed on Netflix on October 12, is one of the best.
The miniseries centres around the Usher siblings, Roderick (played by Bruce Greenwood) and Madeline Usher (played by Mary McDonnell), who share an unwavering drive to conquer the pharmaceutical industry by any means necessary via their family-owned business, Fortunato Pharmaceuticals.
As per Netflix, “Ruthless siblings Roderick (Bruce Greenwood) and Madeline Usher (Mary McDonnell) have built Fortunato Pharmaceuticals into an empire of wealth, privilege, and power. But past secrets come to light when the heirs to the Usher dynasty start dying at the hands of a mysterious woman from their youth.”
Since Flanagan’s The Fall of the House of Usher is already available on Netflix, we’re here to provide you with all the crucial details you need to immerse yourself in this gripping series. From dissecting its spine-tingling plot to uncovering its chilling secrets, we’ve got you covered as you journey through the Usher siblings’ ambitions and their family’s pharmaceutical empire.
The Fall of the House of Usher Release Date
If you have been itching for a good scare, the wait is over. ‘The Fall of the House of Usher‘ is now streaming on Netflix, ready to plunge you into the eerie world of the Usher siblings. This miniseries consists of eight episodes, each running for about an hour or even longer, so there’s plenty of chilling content to keep you entertained. Flanagan directed four episodes, while his frequent collaborator, Michael Fimognari, directed the other four.
Carla Gugino (who plays Verna), in a statement prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike (as reported by Variety), described the series as “batshit crazy in the best possible way.” Gugino said, “It’s batshit crazy in the best possible way. It has quite a lot of very dark humour, but also really touches the soul. There is a fantastical supernatural element to the story, and (Verna) is the manifestation of that. You could say she’s the executor of fate or the executor of karma.”
The Fall of the House of Usher Cast
The cast for ‘The Fall of the House‘ is an interesting mix of some familiar faces from Mike Flanagan’s previous Netflix hits and a bunch of newcomers. You’ll recognize some familiar faces, including Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel, Carla Gugino, and Rahul Kohli. To add some fresh flavour to the mix, the series also features Bruce Greenwood, known for The People v O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, as Roderick Usher. Joining him is Mary McDonnell from Major Crimes, taking on the role of his sister, Madeline Usher, and Carl Lumbly as C. Auguste Dupin. Adding to the star-studded lineup is none other than Mark Hamill, playing a significant role as Arthur Pym, the Usher family’s lawyer and problem solver.
Here’s a complete rundown of the main cast for Netflix’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher‘:
- Bruce Greenwood as Roderick Usher
- Zach Gilford as young Roderick Usher
- Mary McDonnell as Madeline Usher
- Willa Fitzgerald as young Madeline Usher
- Mark Hamill as Arthur Pym
- Carl Lumbly as C Auguste Dupin
- Malcolm Goodwin as young C Auguste Dupin
- Carla Gugino as Verna
- Henry Thomas as Frederick Usher
- Samantha Sloyan as Tamerlane Usher
- T’Nia Miller as Victorine LaFourcade
- Rahul Kohli as Napoleon ‘Leo’ Usher
- Kate Siegel as Camille L’Espanaye
- Sauriyan Sapkota as Prospero ‘Perry’ Usher
- Crystal Balint as Morella ‘Morrie’ Usher
- Kyliegh Curran as Lenore Usher
- Ruth Codd as Juno Usher
- Matt Biedel as William ‘Bill’ T Wilson
- Katie Parker as Annabel Lee
- Michael Trucco as Rufus Wilmot Griswold
The Fall of the House of Usher Summary
Imagine two siblings who are so driven to succeed that they’re willing to do anything, even if it means hurting the people they love. That’s the whole premise of Mike Flanagan’s new horror miniseries, The Fall of the House of Usher. This modern reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s timeless short story delivers a brooding and atmospheric narrative that delves into themes of family, greed, and the dangers of unbridled ambition.
The plot centres on the Usher family, a wealthy and powerful dynasty haunted by a dark secret. The story begins with Roderick inviting Carl Lumbly’s amateur detective C Auguste Dupin to his childhood home to confess all of his crimes and discuss the family curse that has plagued them for generations. Roderick confesses how he and his sister, Madeline, amassed their fortune using shady tactics.
As the story unfolds depicted through shifting timelines and dream-like sequences, Roderick reveals how he and his sister conspired to kill the corrupt CEO of their company Rufus Griswold, by poisoning his drink with cyanide, leading him into a soundproof basement, and sealing him alive within a wall.
To avoid blame for the murder, the siblings concocted an alibi by going to a remote bar and it was there that they first met Carla Gugino’s Verna, the mysterious bartender/devil who would later kill the entire bloodline of the Ushers. The siblings strike a deal with Verna, who promises them not only protection from the consequences of their actions but also control of Fortunato’s billion-dollar painkiller empire without facing any legal repercussions ever. However, in exchange for this protection, Roderick and Madeline had to consent to a grim covenant. When Roderick’s life ends, their entire bloodline, including Madeline, will meet the same fate, dying simultaneously in the same manner they were born.
Unsurprisingly enough, the siblings willingly agree to the terms and accept the deal. Soon, things start to ‘fall’ for the Ushers when Roderick is diagnosed with vascular dementia, with just a few years to live. Bruce Greenwood, the actor who plays Roderick Usher, opened up about his character’s arc during a chat with Netflix, sharing, “Early in his life, (Roderick) had a conversation with somebody who promised him an effortless life in return for something that he didn’t quite believe could happen. And now that’s coming home to roost.”
Verna, keeping her end of the bargain, begins her deadly work by claiming lives. What follows is a terrifying descent into the harrowing fates of Roderick’s children, each meeting a macabre end, ranging from ape attacks to acid showers and even self-inflicted impalings of their “tell-tale” hearts. As time goes on, it becomes clear that Verna is the one behind the deaths of the Usher children, leaving Madeline desperate to escape their sinister pact. She manages to convince Roderick to end his own life in an attempt to break free.
However, Verna has different intentions and ensures that Roderick faces the full consequences of his actions, including the demise of his only morally good Usher family member, his granddaughter Lenore. Realizing the shocking truth of what Madeline had done, Roderick invites her back to their childhood home. There, he poisons her and, believing her to be dead, carries her lifeless body to the basement. He then does something really creepy by removing her eyes and replacing them with gemstones. However, little did he know that the weird noises coming from the basement were actually the desperate gasps of Madeline and not his hallucinations.
As Roderick finishes his story, a bloodied, eyeless Madeline bursts out of the basement and attacks him. The whole house starts falling apart and in a last burst of energy, Madeline strangles Roderick to death, while Auggie manages to escape, just like in Poe’s “House of Usher.” The story’s riveting climax highlights how the Usher family’s curse is a direct outcome of their unchecked ambition and insatiable greed. Roderick and Madeline’s deal with the devil leads them down a path to their own doom and seals the fate of their whole family.
Mike Flanagan’s Horror Universe
Mike Flanagan is a master of modern horror, known for his trademark blend of spine-tingling settings, emotionally resonant narratives, and talented ensembles. With a career spanning over two decades, Flanagan has crafted a legacy through a series of terrifying films and TV shows, including Oculus, Hush, Gerald’s Game, The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Midnight Mass, and the latest adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.
Netflix affectionately dubbed Flanagan’s extensive body of work the “Flanaverse,” which brings “the Flanagan Family together in one place, including: Before I Wake, Gerald’s Game, Hush, Midnight Mass, The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Absentia and Doctor Sleep.“
The Flanaverse is known for its interconnectedness, often delving into similar themes, such as grief, trauma, faith, and redemption, with recurring characters and themes consistently appearing in various projects. For example, Carla Gugino, who stars as Verna in the latest The Fall of the House of Usher, has appeared in several of Flanagan’s previous films and TV shows, including Oculus, Hush, The Haunting of Hill House, and Midnight Mass.
Where to Watch The Fall of the House of Usher?
For those eagerly anticipating a dive into Mike Flanagan’s Horror Universe, The Fall of the House of Usher is now streaming on Netflix and the good news is that all eight spine-tingling episodes are available for your viewing pleasure, inviting you to immerse yourself in Flanagan’s world of horror.
The Fall of the House of Usher FAQs
The Fall of the House of Usher is already out and is all set to satisfy your eerie cravings. The horror series made its debut on Netflix on October 12, and you can now enjoy all eight episodes in one thrilling binge-watch session.
The latest series by Mike Flanagan is ‘The Fall of the House of Usher,‘ a modern reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s 1839 classic novel. The series promises a “fresh, freaky twist” and follows the Usher siblings, Roderick and Madeline, as they vie for control of the pharmaceutical industry through their family-owned business, Fortunato Pharmaceuticals.
While Netflix hasn’t confirmed anything yet, it is unlikely that there will be a Season 2 of The Fall of the House of Usher. The series comes to a pretty definitive and harrowing end with all the members of the Usher family dead at the hands of Verna. There are no loose ends to tie up, and there is no clear direction for a second season to go in. However, it is always possible that Netflix could change its mind and renew the show if there is enough demand for a second season.
Carla Gugino’s Verna remains a mysterious unnamed woman throughout the series, but it’s clear she’s not quite human. The show never explicitly tells us who or what she is, but if you notice, “Verna” is an anagram for “raven,” a direct reference to one of Poe’s most famous works, the poem “The Raven.” The series’ final episode named “The Raven” is a subtle nod to this connection and Verna herself suggests that she existed before humans and embodies grief, much like the original raven in Poe’s famous poem.
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