I don’t know what it says about me that two of my “comfort shows” in recent years are The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor. Maybe it just means that I really like the work of filmmaker Mike Flanagan, and I shouldn’t overthink it. Because I DO really like the work of Mike Flanagan, which also includes, among others, Oculus, Gerald’s Game (one of the better Netflix originals), Doctor Sleep (the director’s cut), and Midnight Mass. (The teen-centric The Midnight Club was slightly not my thing.) Flanagan’s next project for Netflix is The Fall of the House of Usher, which adapts the titular Edgar Allen Poe short story, as well as borrowing from other Poe texts. The trailer dropped yesterday, and yes, I love it.
There are a lot of familiar faces in Usher, Flanagan is a guy who likes working with an ensemble he’s built over time. Returning from previous Flanagan productions are Kate Siegel—his actual wife—Carla Gugino, Rahul Kohli (once again looking insanely hot, I will forever appreciate Mike Flanagan for recognizing Rahul Kohli’s hotness and bringing it to us constantly), Henry Thomas (rude to a friend once, not yet forgiven), Samantha Sloyan, T’Nia Miller, Zach Gilford, Ruth Codd (a standout from The Midnight Club), and Gerald’s Game alum Bruce Greenwood, who replaced Frank Langella after accusations of inappropriate behavior on set. New to the Flana-verse are Mary McDonnell, Carl Lumbly—playing C. Auguste Lupin who appears in three of Poe’s stories—and Mark Hamill, who will also star in Flanagan’s eventual adaptation of The Life of Chuck.
Flanagan reimagines the Ushers as a modern crime family being stalked by a vindictive woman—spirit?—played by Carla Gugino. There are lots of creepy bits and skulls and ominous ticking clocks and many Poe references, including ravens, “never more”, a masquerade that looks like “The Mask of the Red Death”, glowing eyes that I hope is a reference to “The Black Cat”, an ape that might be a reference to “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, and one of those eye-twitching Kit Kat Klocks. I have one of those, it is fantastically creepy.
I am not ready to give up summer just yet, but time marches relentlessly on and one nice thing about fall is that it brings spooky season. I am starting to feel the itch for some good old-fashioned creepy stuff, and here comes Mike Flanagan just at the right time. The Fall of the House of Usher is due October 12, I know what I am doing that weekend.
Attached - Carla Gugino out with her family in New York at the end of last month.