Considered a pinnacle of gothic fiction, Edgar Allan Poe has inspired myriad stories over the years. His examination of human nature, particularly when it comes to grief, vengeance, and madness have created memorable stories that continue to haunt and horrify in equal measure. And the genre is richer for his influence. Many stories have been written tackling not only new takes on his classic tales, but taking the themes, settings, and psychological tension and giving them new, unexpected life in wildly imaginative ways.
One of the most recent is Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of Poe’s, The Fall of the House of Usher. In it, he not only breathes new life into one iconic story, but several. Each wrapping and twisting into the other to create something wholly new but easily recognizable. We wanted to find other works that were reminiscent of Poe in the same way.
Here are seven of Edgar Allan Poe's most memorable stories with a modern book pairing.
The Raven tells the story of an unnamed narrator mourning the loss of his love Lenore. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but it’s clear that the narrator can’t let go of his grief while desperate to forget.
The September House
Margaret is also in a sort of limbo. She’s alone in the house of her dreams, but she’s also not alone. The ghosts, or “pranksters”, keep her company, but their remarks to her questions are as unhelpful as the Raven’s. As for us, we’re left wondering, why do the walls bleed, why does she stay, and where is her husband?
The Tell-Tale Heart
After having to endure the watchful “vulture-eye” of the old man he lives with, our narrator plots his murder. He’s careful and meticulous. But after he buries the dismantled corpse beneath the floorboards, he can’t stop hearing the ominous thump of the dead man’s heart.
While the unraveling leads more to the murder than the aftermath, Mothered still paints a claustrophobic descent into madness. Grace doesn’t want her mother to move in with her. There are secrets and buried hurts and truths better left buried beneath the floorboards. But as the truth beats louder, the two women fight to escape. And only one survives.
The Fall of the House of Usher
A crumbling mansion. A sick friend. The last of a dying family. It’s a tale of envy and desire, greed and corruption. There’s something not quite right in the House of Usher, but what is remains a mystery until the end.
What Moves the Dead
A captivating retelling of Poe’s story, our protagonist, Alex Easton, rushes to the side of his childhood friend, Madeline Usher, when he finds out she’s dying. The ancestral House of Usher is in disarray when he arrives, teeming with fungi and wildlife. It’s clear there’s something wrong. But if Alex can’t figure out what, the House and all its secrets, might end up destroying them all.
The Masque of Red Death
A dangerous plague is running through Europe and Prince Prospero hides to avoid catching it. The wealthy can afford the luxury of isolation. And while death torments the poor, the rich nobles attend a masquerade ball put on by the Prince. Only, death doesn’t care about money or nobility.
While death isn’t exactly what forces the family at High Place to stay isolated, avoiding it certainly is top of mind for that family. Noemí doesn’t exactly know who they are, or why her cousin is desperate to escape. But if she wants to survive the mesmerizing seduction threatening to overcome her will, she has to figure it out.
The Pit and the Pendulum
When a tormented prisoner finds himself in the middle of an impossible room at the behest of the Spanish Inquisition, his options slowly run out. After he manages to escape the lowering pendulum threatening to cut him half, the walls close in, pushing him closer and closer to a pit where nothing but death awaits.
Last to Leave the Room
Dr. Tamsin Rivers is arrogant, brash, and part of the team assigned to figuring out why the city of San Siroco is sinking. The only problem is her basement is sinking faster. As the walls distort and a door appears, Tamsin is stunned to find an exact replica of herself on the other side. The more time she spends with her, the most of herself she loses. And if she wants to survive, she has to figure out what this doppelgänger wants, before there’s nothing left.
The Black Cat
The Last House on Needless Street
In the last house on Needless Street live three individuals. A teenage girl who can’t go outside. A man who struggles with missing pieces in his memory. And a rather religious housecat. They exist together, forming an uneasy alliance. Until a neighbor moves in next door and shatters the carefully crafted illusions each one has built.
The Cask of Amontillado
Even though many of the elements in this story are present in many other Poe works, it isn’t the murder or the revenge that makes this tale so fascinating. It’s why the murder took place, what the revenge was for. And the journey into finding those answers is what makes this story a chilling delight.