Home > Reviews > A scary Merry Christmas: Kevin Sorbo’s “House of Usher” in the classroom

A scary Merry Christmas: Kevin Sorbo’s “House of Usher” in the classroom

Lori from Ohio sent Macabre Mansion’s CD audiodrama starring Kevin, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” to her sister, Jean, a middle school teacher in Ohio.

Here is Jean’s great story, including a few of her students’ responses! Thanks, Lori and Jean, and all of the participants. How fun! And remember: Christmas is coming… Hmmm… Stocking stuffer??

For the past 10 years I have been teaching 8th grade English at a public middle school. Trying to instill a love for literature in my students can sometimes be quite a challenge. Since they have been exposed to so many forms of media and entertainment I am always trying to find a unique way to present material.

Somewhere near the end of October or beginning of November I usually begin a unit that focuses on American literature. I usually begin the unit focusing on the works of Edgar Allen Poe as his work is perfect for the “haunting” time of the year. This year, however, I began the unit with another author, moving Poe back a few weeks. I’m ecstatic that I did.

My sister (Lori) lent me a copy of a new CD featuring one of Poe’s short stories, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Looking at the CD case I wondered if my students would enjoy it. Yes, I knew the cast was comprised of some great acting talent, but, what reaction would a group of 13- and 14-year-olds be? Would they enjoy it? More to the point, would they come to understand the essence of Poe’s work?

After each of my five classes listened to the CD I asked them for written reactions. Here’s a smattering of what was said:

“I could close my eyes and see the actors as if they were in a movie.”

“I knew the voice of the narrator…It’s on one of my X-Box games.”

“Can we hear more stories like this? I loved it when each character has a different voice.”

“This story is much creepier listening to it like this.”

“It’s like hearing our own private movie!”

“I loved their voices. It really brought the story to life.”

Suffice it to say they all loved the story. Not only were they entertained, they were able to follow the story more easily and comprehend the part each character played.

I’ve asked Santa to put this CD in my stocking this year and have recommended it to many colleagues. I look forward to hearing more from Macabre Mansion.

Don’t forget: a portion of the proceeds benefit WFIT!

(Photos courtesy of Macabre Mansion)

  1. December 16, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this story. I can’t tell you how happy this make us to hear about our little Audio Drama project being used as a teaching tool. From our first planning sessions for this project, we had hopes of making a difference in the lives of children through our charitable donation efforts to WFIT. Never did we imagine it might have an impact in the classroom. We are truly touched and honored!

  2. Rhonda
    December 16, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    How cool that school kids love this! Kevin would be pleased as well!

  3. Anne
    December 16, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing a great story. As the daughter of a former high school teacher (no longer with us), I hope projects like Macabre Mansion’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” will encourage more young people to discover the joy of reading such literary classics as Poe.

    The one student’s comment about recognizing Kevin’s voice from an X-Box game (probably “God of War III”) gave me a chuckle. 😀

  4. mara
    December 18, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Thank you for posting, Jan. so glad the kids like it!


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