First appearing in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine in September of 1839, then reprinted in Edgar Allan Poe's books of 1840 and 1845, this detailed, symbolic account of the derangement and deterioration of a person's personality focuses on Roderick and his twin sister, Madeline, the last two descendants of the time-honored "House of Usher." Both are suffering from rather strange illnesses. Besides his own illness and being depressed by Madeline's deteriorating condition, Roderick becomes "...enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to their mansion...." Believing that somehow the mansion controls his behavior, and will eventually determine his demise, Roderick invites a childhood friend to the home, sure that his presence will prevent the fate that awaits both him and his sister.
House of Usher (1960) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb
Although, as boys, we had been even intimate associates, yet I reallyknew little of my friend. His reserve had been always excessive and habitual.I was aware, however, that his very ancient family had been noted, timeout of mind, for a peculiar sensibility of temperament, displaying itself,through long ages, in many works of exalted art, and manifested, of late,in repeated deeds of munificent yet unobtrusive charity, as well as ina passionate devotion to the intricacies, perhaps even more than to theorthodox and easily recognisable beauties, of musical science. I had learned,too, the very remarkable fact, that the stem of the Usher race, all time-honoredas it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch; in other words,that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always,with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain. It was this deficiency,I considered, while running over in thought the perfect keeping of thecharacter of the premises with the accredited character of the people,and while speculating upon the possible influence which the one, in thelong lapse of centuries, might have exercised upon the other it was thisdeficiency, perhaps, of collateral issue, and the consequent undeviatingtransmission, from sire to son, of the patrimony with the name, which had,at length, so identified the two as to merge the original title of theestate in the quaint and equivocal appellation of the "House of Usher" an appellation which seemed to include, in the minds of the peasantrywho used it, both the family and the family mansion.
Edgar Allan Poe's House of Usher (fan site)
Corman made the most of a modest day-and-a-half rehearsal period for House of Usher. He was an engineering student before becoming a director, and would pre-plan movements of actors and cameras beforehand by drawing lines and angles on set layout sketches. By 1960 Corman had assembled one of the best independent crews in Hollywood, headed by cinematographer Floyd Crosby and production designer Daniel Haller; like Corman, they worked quickly.
The Poe Decoder - "The Fall of the House of Usher"