Edgar Allan Poe in television and film

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Main article: Edgar Allan Poe

American poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe has had significant influence in television and film. Many are adaptations of Poe's work, others merely reference it.

Film[edit]

Adaptations[edit]

  • The educational film The Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays, directed by Frank Capra in 1957, contains a brief scene in which Poe, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Charles Dickens appear as marionettes.
  • In 2005, Lurker Films released an Edgar Allan Poe film collection on DVD, including short film adaptations of "Annabel Lee" by director George Higham, "The Raven" by director Peter Bradley, and "The Tell-Tale Heart" by director Alfonso S. Suarez.
  • "The Black Cat" was translated to giallo film as Eye of the Black Cat (also known as Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key).
  • The 2004 release of Hellboy on DVD contained a special 10-minute adaptation of "The Tell-Tale Heart" in the special features.
  • Since 2004 New York animation producer Michael Sporn has been working on Poe, an animated feature about Poe's life and works.
  • 2011 - Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado starring David JM Bielewicz and Frank Tirio, Jr. Directed by Thad Ciechanowski, Produced by Joe Serkoch, Production Company DijitMedia, LLC/Orionvega. Winner of 2013 Emmy Award.

Inspiration and allusions[edit]

  • In the 1989 horror film, I, Madman, insane novelist Malcolm Brand is the author of a novel called Much of Madness, More of Sin, a quote from Poe's poem "The Conqueror Worm".
  • In the 1990 film The Krays, the schoolyard dominance of Ronnie and Reggie Kray as children is demonstrated in a scene featuring a reading of the poem "Alone".
  • In the 2004 remake of The Ladykillers, the chief protagonist is a great admirer of Poe and frequently quotes from his poetry; a raven is also featured.
  • The 1993 film The Mummy Lives, starring Tony Curtis with a screenplay by Nelson Gidding, was suggested by Poe's "Some Words with a Mummy" (1845).
  • The concept of sealing someone alive behind a brick wall, "a la Poe" in "The Cask of Amontillado", was used in the September 22, 1971, episode of Rod Serling's TV series Night Gallery, titled "The Merciful". [1] The episode included a short segment in which an old woman (Imogene Coca) is apparently sealing her husband (King Donavan), passively seated in an old chair, in the basement behind a brick wall she is building. She assures him it is "really much better this way," that she is "doing this for your own good." When she finishes the wall, the old man gets up and walks upstairs to the main floor of the house. His wife has sealed herself in.
  • In the 2008 horror film Saw V, Seth Baxter is placed in a trap which references The Pit and the Pendulum.

Selected Poe-related films[edit]

Other[edit]

  • Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" has been animated as a brickfilm by Canadian animator Logan Wright. It can be found online here
  • "The Cask of Amontillado" was also made into a live action film, directed by British director and animator, Mario Cavalli, in 1998 (see Internet Movie Database and Films for the Humanities and Sciences - Educational Media)
  • North Hollywood sketch comedy group, Dynamite Kablammo visited Edgar Allan Poe's work with an elaborate spoof of "The Cask of Amontillado" where Montressor unwittingly buries Fortunato in the confines of an adjacent dance club. The footage of the short has unfortunately been lost because of a fire in mid 2008.

Television[edit]

  • In the Beetleborgs Metallix episode "Poe and the Pendulum", the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe arrives at Hillhust Mansion seeking inspiration for a new book. Throughout the episode he tortures the tenants by subjecting them to the same gruesome fates as the characters in his past stories such as "The Black Cat", "The Pit and the Pendulum", and "The Premature Burial".
  • In "Poe Pourri", an episode of the cartoon Beetlejuice, the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe mourns for his lost Lenore, tossing money everywhere as it proves worthless without her; Beetlejuice takes advantage of the situation by offering the writer lodgings at his roadhouse until he finds Lenore, in the process collecting the disgarded cash for himself. But as Poe stays with him, Beetlejuice suffers from nightmares based on some of Poe's stories, including 'The Raven', 'The Masque of the Red Death', 'The Pit and the Pendulum', and 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue'.
  • In Boy Meets World, in the season one episode "The Fugitive" Cory hides Shawn in his bedroom because he threw a cherry bomb in a mailbox. In class, Mr. Feeney reads "The Tell-Tale Heart," causing Cory to shout, "I did it!"
  • In the TV series Edgar & Ellen, the main characters have a talking bust of Poe on their mantle.
  • In the special episode of Futurama, "Bender's Game", while Bender is in the robot asylum, his relaxation therapy is to be strapped to a table, gagged, while rats chew through his bonds, and a pendulum swings, descending upon him.
  • In the Gilmore Girls season 3 episode "A Tale of Poes and Fire" (April 15, 2003) the Poe Society comes to Stars Hollow, and stay at the Independence Inn. They do readings, and Poe's famous poem "The Raven" is read by two different "Poes". The Poe Society also presents Lorelai with a stuffed raven.
  • The Histeria! episode "Super Writers" featured a caricature of Poe modeled and voiced like Peter Lorre in two different sketches. The first one has Poe pitching "The Raven" to Sammy Melman, becoming frustrated with Melman's suggestions that the narrator be in a happy mood and that the raven be replaced with a bunny; this eventually causes Poe to storm out and publish his poem independently. The other sketch depicts Poe as a villain who, along with the aforementioned raven as his sidekick and Sappho and Basho as his minions, vandalizes all the literature in the Library of Congress; their plans are foiled, however, when Loud Kiddington alerts the Super Writers, who then arrive to stop them.
  • The television show Homicide: Life on the Street, set in Baltimore, made reference to Poe and his works in several episodes. Poe figured most prominently in the 1996 episode "Heartbeat," in which a Poe-obsessed killer walls up his victim in the basement of a house to imitate the grisly murder of Fortunato by Montresor in "The Cask of Amontillado". In a disturbing scene near the end of the episode, the killer reads from the works of Poe as a dramatic effect to increase the tension.
  • In the Masters of Horror season two episode, "The Black Cat", directed by Stuart Gordon and written by Dennis Paoli & Stuart Gordon, has Poe as played by Jeffrey Combs, out of ideas and short on cash, tormented by a black cat that will either destroy his life or inspire him to write one of his most famous stories.
  • Warner Bros. TV, Lin Pictures, and ABC were developing a pilot TV show called Poe, a crime procedural following Edgar Allan Poe (played by Chris Egan), the world’s very first detective, as he uses unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston. Poe's girlfriend and muse Sarah is played by Tabrett Bethell. The pilot was filmed in Toronto in March 2011 (March 14 to March 31). The project ultimately did not move forward.
  • In the TV series Ruby Gloom, the character Poe, a poet crow, and his brothers Edgar & Allan; if their names are unite, form the name of Edgar Allan Poe; In some occasions, Poe is also fond of claiming, he says be a descendant of Paco, Edgar Allan Poe's pet budgie.
"The Raven" as depicted by The Simpsons.
  • The Simpsons has made several references to Poe's works. The original "Treehouse of Horror" episode contains a segment in which James Earl Jones reads Poe's poem "The Raven", with Homer playing the narrator, Marge making a brief appearance as Lenore, and Bart as the raven. The poem is presented verbatim, though a few lines are cut, and Poe was actually credited as a co-writer of the segment (alongside Sam Simon). "Lisa's Rival" features Lisa competing against a girl who recreates a scene from "The Tell-Tale Heart". In the episode "Saturdays of Thunder", a TV advert shows Poe's tombstone being cleaned by Dr. Nick Riviera. In the episode "Lisa the Simpson", the House of Usher is shown exploding in the fictional Fox show When Buildings Collapse. In the episode "Homer's Triple Bypass", Homer rams Hans Moleman driving a truck with a house on the back. The sign on the house reads "birthplace of Edgar Allan Poe".
  • In the short lived TV series Stark Raving Mad, Tony Shalhoub plays Ian Stark, a struggling horror writer who has a dog named Edgar. Also, some references to Poe are made, such as the episode named "The Pigeon".
  • Edgar Allan Poe was featured on the show Time Squad in the episode "Every Poe Has a Silver Lining," first aired on September 21, 2001. The episode shows Poe as a happy, optimistic, and care-free man. This causes his poetry to be extremely joyful, something the main characters find disgusting. The characters attempt to depress Poe by showing him grim images of humanity's struggle for survival. Poe responds to all of these attempts with uplifting comments and jubilant decoration. This frustrates the characters into giving up. Poe bakes them a cake to cheer them up, which the characters Tuddrussell and Larry 3000 criticize very harshly. This causes Poe an immense amount of sorrow and anger, and transforms him into a depressed individual. As he leaves, a raven flies in out of nowhere and perches on his shoulder.
  • An episode of Warehouse 13 features Poe's pen and notebook as an artifact. Anything written in the notebook with the pen becomes reality. When separated, the objects possess people to bring them together.
  • In the Castle episode "Vampire Weekend," Richard Castle hosts a Halloween party dressed as Poe, with a raven doll on his shoulder. After Kate Beckett plays a trick on him to avenge an earlier insult by Castle (rather than performing the avenging actions described in "The Cask of Amontillado"), Castle hands her the raven, saying, "I'm giving you the bird." In later episode "He's Dead, She's Dead", Castle reveals that his middle name, Edgar, is a reference to Poe (Castle having changed his name from 'Richard Alexander Rodgers' to 'Richard Edgar Castle' when he began his writing career).
  • In The Following, an American television series that tells the story of a cult of serial killers, the murders committed reflect the life and works of Poe, due to the cult's obsession with his literature.

See also[edit]

For his influence on other media:

For his appearances as a fictional character: