Perfectly timed for Halloween, PBS Distribution is preparing the DVD release of American Masters: Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive, bringing it to stores in late October.
Written and directed by Eric Stange, this new documentary draws on the rich palette of Poe’s evocative imagery and sharply drawn plots to tell the real story of the notorious author.
Narrated by Kathleen Turner, the program explores the misrepresentations of Poe as a drug-addled madman akin to the narrators of his horror stories. This caricature is thanks, in large part, to a high-profile obituary filled with falsehoods, written by his literary rival Rufus W. Griswold. Determined to re-invent American literature, Poe was an influential – and brutally honest – literary critic and magazine editor, who also invented the detective protagonist with his character C. Auguste Dupin, refined the science fiction genre and popularized short stories, actually writing more comedies than horror.
An orphan in search of family, love and literary fame, Poe struggled with alcoholism and was also a product of early 19th century American urban life: depressed from the era’s culture of death due to the high mortality rate and the struggles of living in poverty. Poe famously died under mysterious circumstances and his cause of death remains unknown.
Filmed in Boston Harbor’s historic Fort Independence at Castle Island, American Masters: Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive combines dramatized re-enactments with O’Hare of key moments in Poe’s life, readings from Poe’s works by O’Hare, Oscar-nominated actor Chris Sarandon (“The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “The Princess Bride,” “Dog Day Afternoon”) and actor Ben Schnetzer (“Snowden,” “Goat,” “Pride”) and interviews with authors including Marilynne Robinson (“Gilead”), Matthew Pearl (“The Poe Shadow”), Jeffrey Meyers (“Edgar Allan Poe: His Life and Legacy”) and Zach Dundas (“The Great Detective”), director Roger Corman (Poe film cycle including “House of Usher”) and others who reveal how Poe tapped into what it means to be human in a modern and sometimes frightening world.
American Masters: Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive will arrive in stores on October 30 for $24.99