‘Fall of the House of Usher’: Mike Flanagan tweets black cat explainer


The Fall of the House of Usher is full of WTF moments, but one of the most memorable has to be Leo Usher (Rahul Kohli) blinding his newly purchased, malevolent cat.

In the fourth episode of the Netflix series based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe, it’s made clear that some of what Leo is experiencing is a hallucination brought on by his deepening psychosis — the bathtub’s worth of dead animals left by the cat, for one. But if you were still confused as to what’s real and what isn’t in the episode, creator Mike Flanagan has now shed some light on it.

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Last week, Flanagan explained that there’s a key difference between the episode and Poe’s short story “The Black Cat”, which it takes its cues from. In the story, the narrator kills a cat they despise, only to be haunted by a very similar cat.

“In HIS version, a cat is killed,” wrote Flanagan. “In MY version, the killing of the cat is revealed to be a hallucination. In MY version, the cat is alive and well.”

Flanagan went on to say that the key to all this lies in Pluto’s Gucci collar.

“That’s why we made such a big deal about the the fact that Pluto was wearing a Gucci collar, and the new cat was not,” he said. “Look at the cat in the final shot of the episode, who is wearing the collar… and the empty bathtub, which means ALL of the animal violence was imagined.”

Basically, Flanagan is saying that no cats are ever killed in the show’s story. In fact, the cat that terrorises Leo, the one he murders and the one he horrifically blinds, is all in his head. They’re visions fabricated by the demon Verna (Carla Gugino), who disguises herself as the manager of a cat shelter in order to see Leo’s fate as a doomed Usher sealed — if you were in any doubt, Verna’s gouged eye mirrors that of the blinded cat and she acts in a feline manner, much the same as when she embodies the physicality of a chimpanzee just before Camille’s (Kate Siegel) murder in the R.U.E. Morgue in episode 3.

The cat right at the very end, the one that sniffs Leo on the street after he plunges to his death, is the real Pluto, the pet that he tells his partner has gone missing — and he’s alive and well.

How to watch: The Fall of the House of Usher is streaming now on Netflix.

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The Fall of the House of Usher




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