Can you have a Halloween without Edgar Allan Poe? Sure you can — but here at Open Culture, we don’t recommend it. So that you need not go Poe-less on this, or any, Halloween night, we’ve featured not just his complete works free to download, but other material like the animated adaptation of “The Tell-Tale Heart” as well as animations of his other stories; Poe readings by the likes of Christopher Lee, James Earl Jones, and Iggy Pop; and Orson Welles’ interpretation of his work on an Alan Parsons Project album.
We also believe that you shouldn’t have to endure a Priceless Halloween — that is to say, a Halloween without Vincent Price. Though he proved his versatility in a wide variety of genres throughout his long acting career, history has remembered Price first and foremost for his work in horror, no doubt thanks in large part to his possession of a voice perfectly suited to the elegantly sinister. It also made him an ideal teller of Poe’s ingeniously macabre tales, which you can experience for yourself in the recordings we’ve posted of Price reading Poe, a playlist which also includes readings by Price’s equally versatile Basil Rathbone.
Rathbone may also have got to read Poe, the work, but despite his huge number of roles on stage and screen, he never actually played Poe, the man. But Price did, in the special An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe, the closest any of us will get to an audience with the troubled, brilliant, and terrifyingly inventive writer himself. In it, Price-as-Poe takes the stage and, over the course of an hour, weaves into his performance four of his most enduring stories: “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Sphinx,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Go on, join Edgar Allan Poe in his drawing room this Halloween by having Price bring him to life on your screen — it will guarantee you a memorable holiday evening.
Colin Marshall writes elsewhere on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, and the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future? Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.