They are making an Edgar Allan Poe movie. It is called ‘The Raven’.

And I am displeased.

Before I say more, I need to explain that Poe was a large component of my childhood. My favorite bedtime reading was ‘The Cask of Amontillado’…the effectiveness with which Montresor avenges himself just gave me the warm fuzzies, a nice thing for a young girl to fall asleep to (no, my parents aren’t big readers; why do you ask?). Not to mention ‘The Masque of the Red Death,’ and then of course the brilliance of the detective C. Auguste Dupin. And, later on, once I picked up a complete collection of his works–some point in high school, if I remember correctly–I found that he’d also written a number of satirical works. He’ll never be remembered for those, quite frankly because they aren’t as good as the horror or some of the shorter poems (any poem that uses the word ‘porphyrogene’ isn’t gonna be judged favorably by a modern audience, really), but they’re an important part of the man. Granted, I’m biased in favor of sarcasm–but still. Knowing that he had a sense of humor allows for a different twist on some of those stories, right?

Right??

So anyway. My gripes with this new movie are 1) Cusack just doesn’t look the part. The ‘tortured romantic artist’ portrait is really damn famous, and adjusting that for Cusack’s vigor and significantly larger nose is confusing. 2) Based on the trailer, I think they named the love interest ‘Anna Lee’–not accurate! Blargh! 3) The trailer was just…super underwhelming. The premise is that some killer is going around replicating crimes based on his (horror, I assume…I wish they’d include ‘The Angel of the Odd’ for extra giggles) stories, and he has to use his brilliant detective mind to figure out what the hell is going on before his love is buried alive.

Granted, it’s nice to see Hollywood finally acknowledging his mad detective skills, but…ehhh. Yes, the pit and pendulum scene had a great angle, so I think the cinematography can be expected to not suck at all. And, again, it’s nice to see Poe getting some screen time, even if half of it is probably because the populace has discovered a sudden love for consumptive, tortured heroes and heroines. But, you know, childhood.

 

 

What do you think of doing an adaptation like this, where it’s not just the story that’s coming to life but also the author? Is it good to encourage the awareness that these are all just stories, instead of fully immersing the audience in the fictional world?

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4 thoughts on “They are making an Edgar Allan Poe movie. It is called ‘The Raven’.

  1. Adaptions like these, I despise. I would rather them make a historical piece that unfolds the man himself and dissects him so we can observe his inner workings both mad, bad, and gracious.

    Now, to the unread public, Poe will become something he was not. Just as Commodus did in Gladiator.

    It’s a shame given the potential for exploration in the poems themselves. Why create a fiction around them only loosely borrowing themes and elements?

    • Clearly some scriptwriter–and the studio–thought it was a good idea.

      The premise is very, very hard to do well, I think. I’m not expecting this one to succeed.

      • The idea behind the original Raven would have been very interesting. The duality and conflict of trying to forgot but being addicted to the pain of remembering.

      • Although hard to translate into a movie–I think it could make some great stills, or short video sequences, but it’s not compelling as a feature movie.

        To be fair I’m not sure any of the non-Dupin stories would make a full movie. ‘Pit and Pendulum’ if they focused on the Inquisition, maybe….

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