Friday, October 21, 2016

Bradbury 31, Day 21: "Usher II"

Here's one last look at The Martian Chronicles and the tale "Usher II." It's been frequently omitted from later editions of the work and probably should be left out (you won't find it in adaptations such as the Dennis Calero graphic novel or the TV movie). First called "Carnival of Madness" in 1950

In 1990, The Ray Bradbury Theater adapted the story to television with Patrick MacNee in the lead. This version is as darkly humourous as the original work. Tapping into ideas he also featured in his novel Fahrenheit 451 and short story "The Exiles," this tells of a future where civilization has banned books. One book-loving man (who has retreated to Mars to justify its inclusion in the novel) constructs an elaborate death trap for the agents enforcing the ban and appropriately draws from literature in order to gruesomely kill them all - but, most deliciously, do it in a way so they'll watch their friends die and not even realize it's happening.

Finally, in 1993 Topps comics had writer James Van Hise and artist Ron Wilber adapt the tale into comic book form. Like most of the Topps works, it's very faithful, although the horror side of the story is a little lost due to Wilber's nice clean art; man, I'd love to see someone like Bill Sienkiewicz take a crack at this one!

More from Ray Bradbury tomorrow!

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