The other night my boyfriend and I were looking for a new television series to watch. We tried the Kevin Bacon drama The Following – a sort of FBI show that follows an agent’s attempt to recapture the serial killer he put away. The unique trait of this killer is that he is obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe, as he was a former professor. The first episode (we never got any further) referenced many of Poe’s works. When I asked my boyfriend if he liked the writer. he replies, “I don’t know anything about him. Is he American?”
Schools in the UK are often so busy with their own work that many writers from other nations are sadly over-looked. Now Poe isn’t to everyone’s taste, but imagine a world where Americans weren’t forced to read “The Pit and the Pendulum” or “The Raven”? This at least gives me a new challenge of bringing the gothic macabre of Edgar Allan Poe to the masses in Britain, and what better place to start than “The Tell-Tale Heart”?
The works of Poe are now public domain, which means they are easily accessible online. The story is a first-person short story narrated by an unnamed man. As reader follows the man as he describes a murder he committed, they must question whether the man is truly sane or hallucinating. “The Tell-Tale Heart” keeps it light on the certainty.
For those not interested in reading, there was a fantastic cartoon made in 1953 narrated by the fantastic James Mason (A Star is Born). It is the perfect short film for an eerie night before Halloween: