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27 October 2009 @ 02:05 pm
Halloween readings: Poe edition  
It's Halloween week; as a tribute to this very successfully exported American tradition and since I already made my favourite what to watch list
last year, this year I'm going for a "what I like to listen to/read" angle. (And posting it now, because I'll be on the road from tomorrow till Saturday evening and that usually means only brief online time.) I still remember the fascination and terrified delight I felt when first reading Edgar Allan Poe's short stories; and again when I discovered audio books because Poe is meant to be listened to, poems and short stories alike.

Now, some of my favourite recitations aren't online, but YouTube offers some genuine treasures anyway. Among them Vincent Price (who of course starred in Roger Corman's films of the 60s that usually bore little resemblance to Poe's texts beyond the title) reading, or rather reciting, two of the scariest Poe tales. And he does it awesomely well.

The Tell-Tale Heart was the first Poe story I ever read, and I blame it completely for my penchant to write the occasional story from very disturbed characters pov's, yes, indeed. I was just knocked sideways and completely distracted from class when reading it and decades later, it's still my favourite Poe tale. Here's what Vincent Price makes of it:

Next there's that gleeful story of revenge, The Cask of Amontillado (or, why I can never take up someone's offer to vist a wine cellar). My favourite pop culture allusion to that one comes in the Babylon 5 episode Ship of Tears, when Bester randomly quotes from it while being interrogated by Ivanova. (She's not a fan.) Vincent Price, enjoying himself mightily in that scary Poe-esque way:

While I was hunting Poe recitations on YouTube, I inevitably came across the poetry as well. Now strictly speaking these aren't suitable for Halloween, as they're not meant to be scary, but I loved what I unearthed enough to share:

Current Location: Bamberg
Current Mood: scaredscared
( The Word — Dear Sir Or Madam )
Judith Proctor: Let me tell you a story.watervole on October 27th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC)
Annabel Lee is close to the truth in many ways. Poe married his cousin when she was 13 and she died 2 years later.
Selenaselenak on October 27th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
Judith Proctor: Don't ask me how it workswatervole on October 27th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC)
You're correct. I misread Poe's entry...
Selenaselenak on October 27th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
It happens. I just knew because I had read some biographies years ago, and while I remembered Virginia died young, I was pretty sure she made it beyond twenty. I had to google for the exact age myself.
The Hyacinth Girl: Seasonal 3fallingtowers on October 27th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
I shall have to check out a few of these recitals once I'm back from the office. Thanks for sharing!
Selenaselenak on October 27th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome!
night_train_fm: rose-martha-donnanight_train_fm on October 27th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I've only actually heard JEJ's reading of The Raven (plus the version he did for the Simpsons - don't judge me, it was awesome!). Thanks for posting the rest.

Fittingly, I just got back from watching The Woman In Black for the second time. If you've never seen it, it is freaking terrifying. Seriously, I didn't think theatre could be that scary until I first saw it.
cereswunderkindcereswunderkind on October 28th, 2009 10:48 am (UTC)
And then there's this classic:
( The Word — Dear Sir Or Madam )