Revenge in the House of Usher (1982)

Article 3602 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-10-2011
Posting Date: 6-25-2011
Directed by Jesus Franco
Featuring Howard Vernon, Antonio Mayans, Lina Romay
Country: Spain / France
What it is: Franco film

A former student visits the home of the ailing Dr. Usher, who has been trying to revive his daughter with blood transplants from unwilling female donors.

During the opening credits of this movie, I had to put the image on hold so I could write down exactly what I saw, so I could reproduce it for this review. Here is the credit as it appears in the movie

Based on the novel “The Fall of house of Usher” by Edgard Allan Poe

The utter sloppiness of this credit certainly shows that someone didn’t give a flying fudgesicle stick about this movie. But then, the movie doesn’t inspire it. Now I’ve had a fairly good time of it lately in my encounters with Jess Franco films; most of the ones I’ve seen recently have been his better efforts. This one is not; it’s Franco at his least inspired. It takes very little out of the Poe story; the only real elements in common are the name of Usher, the fact that someone comes to visit him, and that the house collapses when the main character dies; apart from that, it’s just Franco going to the Dr. Orloff well one more time, and this movie even recycles about fifteen minutes of footage from the first Orloff movie. It has those stylistic touches I associate with Franco at his worst, lots of shots of scenery, lots of shots of people standing around looking at things, etc. One thing I noticed in particular is that whenever a character is lying down, he likes to get close-ups of the character’s face from an angle that emphasizes his nostrils; this made me wonder if Franco had gotten confused about the old saying that “the eyes are the window to the soul” and had mentally substituted “nose” for “eyes”. Or maybe he just likes nostrils. At any rate, I found the experience of watching a bad Franco film no different than usual; I just let the movie wash over me until it’s over and then realize that I didn’t feel a single emotion during the whole thing, not even a twinge of fear. This one is not recommended.


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