Mike Flanagan’s first collaboration with Netflix, a film adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game that premiered in September 2017, set the tone for what his overall deal with the streamer would bring. He became Netflix’s go-to guy for Halloween-adjacent horror content. In October 2018 The Haunting of Hill House released, then in October 2020 came The Haunting of Bly Manor, and every October since there’s reliably been a new Flanagan series, each with varying degrees of scares. This year, he’ll debut The Fall of the House of Usher, his last collaboration with Netflix.
In December 2022, Flanagan and his creative partner Trevor Macy signed an overall TV deal with Amazon, announcing with it the chance to produce a series based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower books. Though Flanagan has the rights to the books, that project isn’t yet set in stone. Still, it shows the creator’s work at Amazon could be pulling from an entirely different genre of source material.
“In a lot of ways, I feel like [The Fall of the House of Usher] is the perfect bow for that Netflix era of Intrepid to pull so many cast members and elements and themes from all of the shows that we did there,” Flanagan told Deadline. “It really is kind of a grand curtain call for the Netflix type of work that we did.”
Here’s everything we know so far about Flanagan’s The Fall of the House of Usher.
While Gerald’s Game was a standalone film, Flanagan’s first two Netflix series acted as a two-part anthology. The Haunting of Hill House (2018) and The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020) both followed specific hauntings of homes told on varying timelines, and both were inspired by classic horror novels — Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Henry James’ Turn of the Screw, respectively.
He deviated from that theme in his next two series. 2021’s Midnight Mass was based on an original story written by Flanagan, one he called a “deeply personal” story about his experience with Catholicism and sobriety. The Midnight Club (2022) then went in a completely different direction, drawing inspiration from Christopher Pike’s young adult horror novels — it was also the only project conceived to be an ongoing series, though Netflix canceled it after just one season.
This upcoming series feels like an unofficial return to the Haunting anthology, using classic literature as inspiration — this time Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of the same name — and placing all the action in one single house.
The running thread through each of Flanagan’s Netflix productions, other than the obvious horror elements, is the cast. Flanagan’s pulled together an impressive group of frequent collaborators who are returning for The Fall of the House of Usher, but one of the titular Ushers, however, is an actor new to the Flanagan universe: Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica, The Closer) stars asMadeline Usher.
Frank Langella was originally cast to play her twin, Roderick Usher, and would have been new to the oeuvre as well. But he was fired in April 2022 after a misconduct investigation — half the series had already been filmed and all scenes with Langella were subsequently reshot. Bruce Greenwood, one of the stars of Gerald’s Game, took his place.
Most of Flanagan’s regulars are returning as varying Usher heirs: Kate Siegel (also Flanagan’s wife), Henry Thomas, Katie Parker, Robert Longstreet, Samantha Sloyan, Carla Gugino, Annabeth Gish, Rahul Kohli, Zach Gilford, Crystal Balint, Matt Biedel, Michael Trucco, T’Nia Miller, and Igby Rigney. The long supporting cast list is the first sign that he will be deviating from the source material, which only features three characters.
Also new to the Flanagan oeuvre is Mark Hamill, who is playing a character who has simply been described as “surprisingly at home in shadows.” Flanagan has a frequent history of revealing his characters to be ghosts, vampires, and other creatures of the night, so the possibilities that Hamill will be playing something non-human are high.
Edgar Allan Poe’s short story has a simple but haunting plot: The narrator goes to visit the Ushers only to learn that Madeline is near death while Roderick fears his own fate is tied to the house. The house seems to take on a life of its own, making monstrous sounds after Madeline dies and is put in the home’s tomb. The noises get louder and louder and then — well, we won’t spoil the ending just in case.
Flanagan is bringing the story into the present day, turning the Ushers into pharmaceutical tycoons. The official Netflix description of the series reads: “Ruthless siblings Roderick and Madeline Usher have built Fortunato Pharmaceuticals into an empire of wealth, privilege and power. But past secrets come to light when the heirs to the Usher dynasty start dying at the hands of a mysterious woman from their youth.”
And he’s only loosely using the story for inspiration, incorporating other Poe stories throughout the narrative — those who paid attention in high school literature class are sure to spot a few Easter eggs.
Netflix announced that all eight episodes of the series will premiere on October 12.
There is indeed — on September 12, Netflix released the first official trailer for the supernatural drama, which sees Carla Gugino orchestrating the fall of the house of Usher. The members of the powerful family make threats or condescend, but one by one, they lose their cool (if not their lives).
Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R.
TOPICS: The Fall of the House of Usher, Netflix, The Haunting of Bly Manor , The Haunting Of Hill House, The Midnight Club, Midnight Mass, Annabeth Gish, Bruce Greenwood, Carla Gugino, Henry Thomas, Igby Rigney, Kate Siegel, Katie Parker, Mark Hamill, Mary McDonnell, Matt Biedel , Michael Trucco, Mike Flanagan, Rahul Kohli, Samantha Sloyan, T'Nia Miller, Zach Gilford