Poe's Grave in Baltimore

Poe’s Grave in Baltimore

Edgar Allan Poe is one of those artists, much like Van Gogh, too great and visionary to be appreciated in their own time. While his poem The Raven became an instant sensation, his work in prose was too often dismissed as unimportant by his American peers, who saw him more as a literary critic than a writer.

Interestingly enough, it was on the other side of the Atlantic ocean that poets like Charles Baudelaire and authors like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne recognized that Poe, with his attention to mystery and obsession, had opened the door to the creation of entire new genres: detective stories and science fiction. There would be no Sherlock Holmes without Poe’s Auguste Dupin.

Extraordinary TalesIt is once again a European production, German this time, which honors Poe with very much deserved recognition for his work. Extraordinary Tales is an animation film where 5 of Poe’s most beloved stories (The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Masque of the Red Death) are narrated inside the framework of a conversation between Poe (drawn as a raven) and a mysterious female figure (which we soon discover to be Death itself).

The result is perhaps one of the most poetic movies released in the last 10 years. The quality of the design and storytelling is excellent, with narrators such as Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, and Guillermo del Toro: all of the stories are drawn in a specific and different style, not unlike Poe’s versatile prose.

For readers who already love Poe and his works, the movie is a monument to an unlucky literary genius, bogged down in his time by poverty and prejudice on his chosen genre. For those who are not so familiar with his works, the movie is an excellent opportunity to discover some classic horror and mystery, capable of providing genuine goosebumps while delivering exquisite literary content.