Edgar Allan Poe in television and film  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

American poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe has had significant influence in television and film. Many are adaptations of Poe's work, others merely reference it.




  • In 2005, Lurker Films released an Edgar Allan Poe film collection on DVD, including short film adaptations of "Annabel Lee" by director George Higham, "The Raven" by director Peter Bradley, and "The Tell-Tale Heart" by director Alfonso S. Suarez.
  • "The Black Cat" was translated to giallo film as Eye of the Black Cat (also known as Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key).
  • The 2004 release of Hellboy on DVD contained a special 10-minute adaptation of "The Tell-Tale Heart" in the special features.
  • Since 2004 New York animation producer Michael Sporn has been working on Poe, an animated feature about Poe's life and works.

Inspiration and allusions

  • The 1993 film The Mummy Lives, starring Tony Curtis with a screenplay by Nelson Gidding, was suggested by Poe's "Some Words with a Mummy" (1845).
  • In the 2004 remake of The Ladykillers, the chief protagonist is a great admirer of Poe and frequently quotes from his poetry; a raven is also featured.
  • The concept of sealing someone alive behind a brick wall, "a la Poe" in The Cask of Amontillado, was used in the September 22, 1971, episode of Rod Serling's TV series Night Gallery, titled "The Merciful". [1] The episode included a short segment in which an old woman (Imogene Coca) is apparently sealing her husband (King Donavan), passively seated in an old chair, in the basement behind a brick wall she is building. She assures him it is "really much better this way," that she is "doing this for your own good." When she finishes the wall, the old man gets up and walks upstairs to the main floor of the house. His wife has sealed herself in.

Selected Poe-related films


  • Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" has been animated as a brickfilm by Canadian animator Logan Wright. It can be found online here
  • "The Cask of Amontillado" was also made into a live action film, directed by British director and animator, Mario Cavalli, in 1998 (see Internet Movie Database and Films for the Humanities and Sciences - Educational Media)
  • Toby Keith's music video to "A Little Too Late" [2] produced by Show Dog National is a modern adaptation of Poe's "Cask of Amontillado" with a twist ending.
  • North Hollywood sketch comedy group, Dynamite Kablammo visited Edgar Allan Poe's work with an elaborate spoof of "The Cask of Amontillado" where Montressor unwittingly buries Fortunato in the confines of an adjacent dance club. The footage of the short has unfortunately been lost because of a fire in mid 2008.


  • The Simpsons has made several references to Poe's works. The original "Treehouse of Horror" episode contains a segment in which James Earl Jones reads Poe's poem "The Raven", with Homer playing the narrator, Marge making a brief appearance as Lenore, and Bart as the raven. The poem is presented verbatim, though a few lines are cut, and Poe was actually credited as a co-writer of the segment (alongside Sam Simon). "Lisa's Rival" features Lisa competing against a girl who recreates a scene from "The Tell-Tale Heart". In the episode "Saturdays of Thunder", a TV advert shows Poe's tombstone being cleaned by Dr. Nick Riviera. In the episode "Lisa the Simpson", the House of Usher is shown exploding in the fictional Fox show When Buildings Collapse. In the episode "Homer's Triple Bypass", Homer rams Hans Moleman driving a truck with a house on the back. The sign on the house reads birthplace of Edgar Allan Poe.
  • The television show Homicide: Life on the Street, set in Baltimore, made reference to Poe and his works in several episodes. Poe figured most prominently in the 1996 episode "Heartbeat," in which a Poe-obsessed killer walls up his victim in the basement of a house to imitate the grisly murder of Fortunato by Montresor in "The Cask of Amontillado". In a disturbing scene near the end of the episode, the killer reads from the works of Poe as a dramatic effect to increase the tension.
  • Edgar Allan Poe was featured on the show Time Squad in the episode "Every Poe Has a Silver Lining," first aired on September 21, 2001. The episode shows Poe as a happy, optimistic, and care-free man. This causes his poetry to be extremely joyful, something the main characters find disgusting. The characters attempt to depress Poe by showing him grim images of humanity's struggle for survival. Poe responds to all of these attempts with uplifting comments and jubilant decoration. This frustrates the characters into giving up. Poe bakes them a cake to cheer them up, which the characters Tuddrussell and Larry 3000 criticize very harshly. This causes Poe an immense amount of sorrow and anger, and transforms him into a depressed individual. As he leaves, a raven flies in out of nowhere and perches on his shoulder.
  • In "Poe Pourri", an episode of the cartoon Beetlejuice, the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe mourns for his lost Lenore (who turns out to have been staying with her mother). In Poe's mourning the netherworld begins to resemble several of his stories, with Beetlejuice being bitten by the gold bug and finding a beating heart under his floor.
  • The Histeria! episode "Super Writers" featured a caricature of Poe modeled and voiced like Peter Lorre in two different sketches. The first one has Poe pitching "The Raven" to Sammy Melman, becoming frustrated with Melman's suggestions that the narrator be in a happy mood and that the raven be replaced with a bunny; this eventually causes Poe to storm out and publish his poem independently. The other sketch depicts Poe as a villain who, along with the aforementioned raven as his sidekick and Sappho and Basho as his minions, vandalizes all the literature in the Library of Congress; their plans are foiled, however, when Loud Kiddington alerts the Super Writers, who then arrive to stop them.
  • In Boy Meets World, in the season one episode "The Fugitive" Cory hides Shawn in his bedroom because he threw a cherry bomb in a mailbox. In class, Mr. Feeney reads "The Tell-Tale Heart," causing Cory to shout, "I did it!"
  • In the Masters of Horror season two episode, "The Black Cat", directed by Stuart Gordon and written by Dennis Paoli & Stuart Gordon, has Poe as played by Jeffrey Combs, out of ideas and short on cash, tormented by a black cat that will either destroy his life or inspire him to write one of his most famous stories.
  • In the Beetleborgs Metallix episode "Poe and the Pendulum", the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe arrives at Hillhust Mansion seeking inspiration for a new book. Throughout the episode he tortures the tenants by subjecting them to the same gruesome fates as the characters in his past stories such as "The Black Cat", "The Pit and the Pendulum", and "The Premature Burial".
  • In the short lived TV series Stark Raving Mad, Tony Shalhoub plays Ian Stark, a struggling horror writer who has a dog named Edgar. Also, some references to Poe are made, such as the episode named "The Pigeon".
  • In the Gilmore Girls season 3 episode "A Tale of Poes and Fire" (April 15, 2003) the Poe Society comes to Stars Hollow, and stay at the Independence Inn. They do readings, and Poe's famous poem "The Raven" is read by two different "Poes". The Poe Society also presents Lorelai with a stuffed raven.
  • In the Adult Swim Series The Venture Bros., The Monarch recites a paragraph from "The Pit and the Pendulum" as the prostitute is making her way beneath a row of swinging axes; this appears in the episode "Fallen Arches". Poe appears in several scenes in episode 17 "Escape to the House of Mummies Part II". Brock Samson puts Edgar Allan Poe in a headlock, apparently out of amusement over Poe's large head. Just as abruptly, Poe travels back to the present day with Hank Venture, Dean Venture, and Brock. In a later never aired episode Escape to the House of the Mummies Part III (the episode never aired or made because it was just a ruse aimed at the audience, basically to expand the mockery of Jonny Quest), Hank is shivering in an Arctic wind, begging Brock to kill him. Brock turns to his other self, and tells him to cut open the body of Poe so they can stuff Hank inside and save him from hypothermia.
  • In the TV series Edgar & Ellen, the main characters have a talking bust of Poe on their mantle.
  • In the special episode of Futurama"Bender's Game", while Bender is in the robot asylum, his relaxation therapy is to be strapped to a table, gagged, while rats chew through his bonds, and a pendulum swings, descending upon him.

See also

For his influence on other media:

For his appearances as a fictional character:

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Edgar Allan Poe in television and film" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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