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.



Inspiration and allusions[edit]

  • In Chapter 4 of the 1940 movie serial Drums of Fu Manchu, "The Pendulum of Doom", the hero Allan Parker is trapped in a "Pit and the Pendulum" peril (Fu Manchu actually states that the Poe story inspired this torture device).
  • In The Crow, Brandon Lee quotes an excerpt from "The Raven" while breaking into Gideon's Pawn Shop.
  • In the 1966 Batman movie, Bruce Wayne (Adam West) quotes the last stanza from the poem, "To One in Paradise," but mistakes it as the first one.
  • Poe's poem "A Dream Within a Dream" is frequently alluded to in the film Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), directed by Peter Weir.
  • 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.
  • In the 1987 vampire film The Lost Boys, the two kid vampire hunters Edgar and Alan Frog, played by Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander respectively, have names that are inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.
  • 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.
  • In the animated feature "The Scapegoats" (2013) by Tor E. Steiro, on the wall of Snakebite Dana's bathroom, there is an Edgar Allan Poe poster, with a raven and a quote from the poem, as well as Poe's signature.[4]

Selected Poe-related films[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 and starring Anton Blake as Montresor and Patrick Monckton as Fortunato, in 1998 and can be seen online [2] [5]
  • Toby Keith's music video to "A Little Too Late" [3] produced by Show Dog National is a modern adaptation of Poe's "Cask of Amontillado" with a twist ending.
  • 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.


  • The unaired 1995 TV series Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery & Imagination (based largely on the stories collected under the same name) adapted 11 tales in 12 episodes. Produced by Dark Sky Productions and adapted for the screen by Hugh Whysall, the series was notably introduced by Hammer Horror legend Sir Christopher Lee.
  • Gothic soap-opera "Dark Shadows" (1966-1971), incorporated four of Poe's stories into its narrative over the course of its five year run. These were: "The Premature Burial" "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Pit and the Pendulum".
  • 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 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "Up in Smoke" the case is referred to as a Poe story, combining both "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Cask of Amontillado".
  • 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.
  • In the season 4 Sabrina The Teenage Witch episode "The Phantom Menace" (1999), Hilda and Zelda and invite Edgar Allan Poe (played by Edgar Allan Poe IV) to celebrate Halloween with them.
"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 cameo 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 Telltale Moozadell" episode of The Sopranos, Meadow Soprano writes Jackie Jr.'s college English assignment, a paper on Edgar Allan Poe, and he receives an "A". Later, Jackie discusses Poe's strangeness with Tony Soprano, noting that Poe "smoked opium and married his cousin".
  • In the "Toodle Fucking-Oo" episode of The Sopranos, Corrado Soprano - who is suffering from prostate cancer - tells Tony that wiping himself feels like "The Pit and the Pendulum".
  • 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.
  • In the episode "Fallen Arches" of The Venture Bros. television series, The Monarch recites a stanza from "The Pit and the Pendulum" as a prostitute is making her way beneath a row of swinging axes. Poe appears in several scenes in episode 17 "Escape to the House of Mummies Part II". Brock Samson puts Edgar Allan Poe in a headlock, apparently out of amusement over Poe's large head. Just as abruptly, Poe travels to the present day with Hank Venture, Dean Venture, and Brock.
  • 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.
  • In the South Park episode "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers", the Goth and Vampire kids summoned the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe (who is portrayed as a Goth in the episode) to help stop the Emo invasion.
  • In an episode of Gravity Falls, there's a Edgar Allan Poe's wax figure among other wax figures of different historical and fictional figures which come to life and aim to kill Stan for having locked them in a room during ten years.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Squeaky Boots", SpongeBob receives a pair of annoying squeaky boots but Mr. Krabs plots to get rid of them. He steals the boots and hides them under the floorboards in the Krusty Krab. The episode references Poe's short story "The Tell-Tale Heart".[citation needed]

See also[edit]

For his influence on other media:

For his appearances as a fictional character: