“Fall of the House of Usher”: Mike Flanagan Tweets Black Cat Statement

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

In the fourth episode of the Netflix series, based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe, it becomes clear that Leo is having a hallucination brought on in part by his worsening psychosis – for example, the amount of dead animals in the bathtub left the cat behind. But if you’re still unsure about what’s real and what isn’t in the episode, creator Mike Flanagan has now shed some light on the matter.


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Last week, Flanagan explained that there is a key difference between the episode and Poe’s short story “The Black Cat,” on which it is based. In the story, the narrator kills a cat he despises and is then haunted by a very similar cat.

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

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

“That’s why we put so much emphasis on the fact that Pluto wore a Gucci collar, but the new cat didn’t,” he said. “Look at the cat in the last shot of the episode wearing the collar… and the empty bathtub, meaning all of the animal violence was imagined.”

Basically, Flanagan says that no cats are ever killed in the history of the series. In fact, the cat that Leo terrorizes, that he murders, and that he horribly blinds, is all in his head. They’re visions concocted by the demon Verna (Carla Gugino), who disguises herself as the head of a cat shelter to see Leo’s fate sealed as a doomed usher – if you’re in any doubt, Verna’s gouged eye reflects how she behaves like a blinded cat and behaves like a cat, similar to when she embodies the physicality of a chimpanzee in episode 3 shortly before Camille’s (Kate Siegel) murder in the RUE Morgue.

The cat at the very end, sniffing Leo in the street after he falls to his death, is the real Pluto, the pet he tells his partner is missing – and he’s alive and well.

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

The Fall of the House of Usher

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