|Screening Edgar Allan Poe, Master of the Macabre|
Out of the Vault: 'The Tell-Tale Heart' X 3
Back in 1928, a wicked-weird version of "The Tell-Tale Heart" featured jagged expressionist design and a truly freaky, dead-modern performance by a dead ringer for Johnny Depp (Otto Matieson). Think of Jack Sparrow gone authentically, convulsively mad while also managing to look like Poe himself.
Recalling the madhouse in "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," the story plays out
in a single, claustrophobic room, its walls, door and chairs all deformed into
lunatic angles that threaten sanity and flesh alike. As the guilt-ridden
murderer of the old man with the Evil Eye chats up the minions of The Law, he
deliberately positions his chair directly above the corpse hidden under the
floorboards. Again and again, the flow of his exaggerated expressions and
gestures of innocence and conviviality suddenly freezes. Then, as though
possessed, his head and torso begin to ratchet up and down like a mechanical
hammer, pointing out the exact spot where guilt is buried.
(Klein & Shamroy)