Tuesday, September 14, 2010

RIP CHALLENGE: Edgar Allen Poe ( with ratings!!!) Vol. 1

10 ravens= scary as hell

5 ravens= mildly discomforting; but really just me thinking E.A.P was on drugs

1 raven= try harder: that Gilmore Girls Episode with the dueling Raven-recitations when the Poe Society visited Stars Hollow was scarier.

The Pit and the Pendulum:

Bloody hell! I could hear the pendulum squeaking back and forth in creaking time like the deathly toll of a clock. This is one long-played-out-heart-catching-throat-tightening tale of horror.

From the beginning of the story when the narrator ( I am hesitant to say protagonist because it is hard to know anything about him: other than his willful wiles when it comes to executing a desperate plan ) is sentenced to death and he pronounces his absolute hopelessness at his situation; through his captivity in a prison like a damp catacomb; to his reaching through a parade of rats for the heavily spiced meat meant to spring him into even further thirst and madness by his tormentors and finally through his realization that he has been strapped to a board with the dangling axe of a lethal pendulum swinging ever nearer him, I was completely hooked. This is brilliant suspense reading and kept me, as it did the narrator, hanging by a thread.

The fact that the story is set during the trials of the Inquisition painted an even more eerie canvas 10 RAVENS

( read it online)

The Black Cat:

Okay, this one is just gruesome. Poe, you are one strange cookie. There is some thematic relevance pointed when the narrator’s affection for the cat is thus transplanted to the cat when the narrator first kills him.

Yes, there is a dead cat: with a white patch of fur noose-like ringing his neck and one eye gone. There is also a woman. And a wall. And blood and gore and monsters and gore and …..

Weirdness. 6.3 RAVENS

(read it online)

The Masque of the Red Death:

Ummm…. So I guess our friend Poe is into history because here we are again in another century: this time engulfed by the Black Death or Plague. A pompous prince throws a shin dig at his gothic castle and from tile to buttress there is an impending whistle of doom. This castle is populated by several coloured rooms: one a glowing, ethereal red that just forebodes death and destruction. And, well, whatdy’a know…. It does.


(read it online)

The Fall of the House of Usher:

This one begins very much like I imagine Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening to play out. Traveler on the crust of the woods overlooking an estate he knows ----or once knew---- but, it really turns into very much like I imagine Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening to play out if it ended with BLOODSHED, DESTRUCTION and MAYHEM! And people built into walls and houses crashing ( think House of Clennam at the end of Dickens’ Little Dorrit ) and DESTRUCTION and MAYHEM. I bet E.A.P. had trouble sleeping at night. 8.7 RAVENS

(read it online)

The Tell-Tale Heart

Umm. This is the one with the floorboards. And the creaking. And the throbbing and the pulsing and the ….GOOD GOD ….make it stop. It reminds me of that bloody pendulum. 9.0 RAVENS

( read it online)

The Cask of Amontillado

This is the one that you don’t want to read if you are in any way, shape or form claustrophobic. 8.0 RAVENS

(read it online)

More Poe soon to come: including The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl: because if he did such a stellar job of Dickens, his Poe can't be half-bad!


1 comment:

Court said...

I have read all of these!!!!

I actually really liked Masque of the Red Death!