After watching this movie, I was visited by the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe. He demanded that he be allowed to review the film for me. I refused. Here is the transcript of our conversation:
Edgar Allen Poe: Why not? I'm a way better writer than you are.
Me: I like to do the job I'm paid for. And how can you review a movie you didn't see?
Poe: I'm a ghost, dummy. I'm everywhere. I can sit on your lap. I didn't, of course. You're too fat. I sat on Grae Drake's lap when I wasn't busy nodding off in the aisle. Did they have to make this film about my terrifying stories so tedious and un-frightening, so welcoming of naps? It's no easy task, boring a ghost to sleep.
Me: Don't ask me to explain why bad movies exist. Sometimes people are trying to make a good movie and other people are trying to screw up that good movie and they're all clawing to get their "vision" across at once. The result is garbage that nobody wants to watch. Not even fans of you.
Poe: My point precisely. How will anyone respect my work when something like this exists on what will eventually be hard little discs in home theaters? What about young children who happen to watch it and think I'm a complete dolt? This will be like what happens when Bobby Brown or Courtney Love act foolish in public. It makes people think the tiniest bit less of their respective deceased spouses.
Me: Do you know Whitney Houston and Kurt Cobain?
Poe: Yes, and they're constantly annoyed. Can you explain what this film was supposed to be about? All I could understand was that there was a murderer patterning his crimes on the most sketchy surface details of my most famous stories.
Me: Ever seen Bones or CSI?
Poe: I tried. Not interested. I like Smash.
Me: Well it's like those shows. People run around looking for clues on corpses and at crime scenes, then they talk to suspects. Then they find the killer, just like how it happens here, except better. And I'm sorry that John Cusack played you like he was attending a Halloween party dressed as Robert Downey Jr. That isn't likely to bring you any new fans, either.
Poe: Believe me, I'll take care of that Lloyd Dobler. And his silly cape, too.
Me: The "Pit and the Pendulum" scene was pretty cool, though. You have to admit that was a good, gory murder. The rest were sadly lacking, of course. And the acting. That was bad. The writing and direction, also terrible. Lots of unintentionally funny lines. Fans of extremely bad dialogue will find a lot to laugh about here. But we sure can do a lot of things with special effects now that they couldn't when Vincent Price was around. At least we've got that going for us.
Poe: I just spoke to him over breakfast. He's pissed off, as well. Nobody's making any friends with celebrity ghosts right now. Tell your Hollywood friends that. We hold grudges.
Me: I don't know any of them. You're going to have to handle this on your own.
Poe: Oh, I will. Nevermore shall the good name of me be ruined by the likes of entertainment industry jerkwads.
Me: You still do the "nevermore" thing. Nice.
Poe: Branding. Gotta keep that tight.