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Earlier this month, writer/director Mike Flanagan announced his next major horror project at Netflix: The Fall of the House of Usher, an adaptation that will not only cover the title story, but a large number of works by the legendary Edgar Allan Poe. Now, Flanagan is opening up a bit more about what viewers can expect from his fourth Netflix original series, and it sounds like we can look forward to a bit of a departure from his previous work.
Over the past several years Flanagan and his producing partner Trevor Macy have enjoyed a prolific and acclaimed period of horror creativity with Netflix as their distributor, releasing the feature films Hush, Before I Wake, and Gerald's Game through the streamer, as well as the miniseries The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, and most recently, Midnight Mass.
Through those releases, Flanagan has established himself in the minds of viewers as a storyteller who works particularly well in the realm of slow-burn, emotionally driven horror. Mike Flanagan stories are tales of creeping dread, building tension, and lengthy monologues in which characters contemplate not only the horror in front of them, but faith, addiction, grief, and life itself.
Which brings us to House of Usher. In an interview with Bloody Disgusting's Boo Crew Podcast last week, Flanagan emphasized that he's looking at something of a tonal departure for the Edgar Allane Poe adaptation, which he noted will start shooting in January with a soon to-be-announced "ridiculously exciting" cast. Like Bly Manor before it, which pulled inspiration from numerous Henry James stories, The Fall of the House of Usher will allow Flanagan to adapt elements of any number of Poe stories. For the filmmaker, that means a chance to really go for it in terms of all-out horror elements.
“A lot of the stuff I do is a slow burn. The Fall of the House of Usher is a brush fire,” Flanagan said. “It is an explosion. It is as aggressive and rock ‘n roll and over the top and just violent and insane and horrific as anything I have ever done… by a lot. We’re gonna pull all the stars from the intrepid group of actors and some great new faces and we’re just gonna f***ing jam.”
So, what does "an explosion" look like by Mike Flanagan standards? Anyone who's familiar with his filmography so far knows that he's never shied away from violence and gore when the story calls for it (just ask anyone who covered their eyes during Gerald's Game's degloving scene or the Baseball Boy's death in Doctor Sleep), but for Flanagan, The Fall of the House of Usher is an opportunity to really cut loose with the blood. For someone who's spent years working on deeply emotional, very personal horror stories, it's not just fun. It's an actual relief.
“We want just buckets of blood pouring out of the ceiling on page two. And we’re just gonna go ballistic," he said. "And we’re gonna do it all to the music of one of the most intensely effective gothic horror writers. This is what we’ve been craving. A chance to just go ballistic on something. The entire catalogue of Poe is wide open. It’s all public domain. We can cherry pick whatever we want and put it into one giant, crazy, heavy metal riff that’s just blood-soaked and wild. In a sense, we get to blow off steam after five very emotional years. And it lets me play in a corner of the genre I haven’t gotten to play in in a long time. It’s a relief really. It’s fun to have fun.”
The Fall of the House of Usher does not yet have a release date, but we'll have our eyes peeled for a casting announcement very soon. In the meantime, plenty of Flanagan's other horror stuff is streaming now on Netflix.