Poe’s influence on modern horror fiction has been more often asserted than proven. His sway over modern horror largely appears in the need for writers and directors in an allegedly disreputable genre to legitimize their work with a literary legacy. Filmmakers have used Poe’s work beginning with the Universal Studio’s horror films of the 1930s and continuing through Roger Corman’s famous, and famously loose, adaptations of Poe’s work with American International Pictures in the sixties. Horror fiction, and some of the field’s most celebrated writers such as Lovecraft and Bradbury, have claimed Poe’s influence even when their work exhibits little relationship to it. These popular culture forms have extended the anxiety of influence generated by Poe in the horror tradition even when adaptations of his work owe little to the texts from which they borrow.
This article by W. Scott Poole is a selection from The Oxford Handbook of Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Scott Peeples and J. Gerald Kennedy.
Featured Image: Promotional photo of Boris Karloff from The Bride of Frankenstein as Frankenstein's monster, 1935. Uploaded by Dr. Macro. Universal Studios, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
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