Government agents go through the libraries, burning works of fiction including Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher.
Twenty years later at a manor in the countryside, the millionaire Stendahl reads from the same book and introduces his agent, Bigelow to the second House of Usher. Bigelow makes sure that it has been built to Stendahl's exact specifications, and then wonders what Stendahl plans to do with it. He has no idea who Poe is, and Stendahl explains that Poe's works were burned twenty years ago in the Great Fire with those of other fantasists. A minority rose up and banned all such things: books, movies, and television shows. When Bigelow admits he has no idea what Stendahl is talking about, Stendahl orders the man out.
Later, Stendahl watches old movies and his butler, Pikes, arrives with wine. He notes that Pikes was one of the greatest actors and monster portrayers of all time. However, he stands deprived, just like Stendahl was by the burning of his books. They share a toast to the House of Usher.
A government representative, Garrett, comes from the Department of Moral Climate. He assures Stendahl that soon everything there will be as nice and tidy as a pin. Stendahl ushers him in and explains that he has created a great mechanical haunted house. Garrett informs him that they will tear the place down, and wanted to make sure of his intentions before moving in. Stendahl admits he was left a lot of money when he was young and chose to spend it as he wished. Garrett boasts that he knows all about Stendahl, and he caused them a great deal of trouble 20 years ago with his library. Stendahl insists that Garrett tour the place and make a full report, and the government agent agrees. He suggests that Garrett grant him another 24 hours to play with his newest toy but Garrett refuses. A robot witch enters and lurks around Garrett, and Stendahl says that it is enough to know that he nurtured a medieval Gothic atmosphere in a modern world. Garrett admits that he has a certain reluctant admiration for his genius but doesn't understand. Stendahl says that he doesn't have time to explain and has the robot witch strangle Garrett.
In the lab, Pikes is creating a robot Garrett. Stendahl has it programmed to return to the Department of Moral Climate, inform them that Stendahl has been rehabilitated, and invite them to a party to celebrate the second fall of the House of Usher.
Garrett makes his report to the committee and extends Stendahl's invitation. The real Garrett leads the applause.
Later, the Committee arrives and Stendahl greets them. They are surprised to see the building intact and monsters awaiting them, and Stendahl informs them that there will be a costume ball first. They wonder if they are committing blasphemy but Stendahl reassures them and invites them to change. Once they're gone, Pikes informs Stendahl that he cleaned out the incinerator and discovered that Garrett was an android. Stendahl believes that Garrett won't realize that they switched his android for them, and Garrett will come now that he believes it's safe. There's a knock on the door and Stendahl goes to greet Garrett. Garrett boasts that he's never been there before, and the dismantlers will be there in an hour.
Garrett demands to know what is going on and Stendahl assures him there's a murder afoot. They hear a scream and go to investigate. One of the Committee members, Mrs. Blunt, has been murdered and stuffed up the fireplace. However, the real Mrs. Blunt arrives and explains that an android of herself was "murdered" in her place for entertainment. Another Committee member, Dr. Steffans, is apparently murdered beneath a pendulum as his real counterpart looks on, and another woman is prematurely buried. Garrett accepts wine from Stendahl and looks on in horror, and wishes he could have burned all memory of the books.
One by one, the Committee member androids are murdered as Stendahl laughs. He finally invites a drunken Garrett to see what they have prepared for him. Stendahl takes Garrett into the cellar and offers him a bottle of Amontillado. The government agent has no idea what it is or what it means. Stendahl then chains him to the wall and Garrett wonders when his duplicate will be killed. Stendahl explains that there is no duplicate, and the real Committee was killed while their duplicates look on. The millionaire puts a jester's hat on Garrett and tells him the lines to recite. When Garrett refuses, Stendahl begins to wall him in. The government agent begs for his life as Stendahl explains that he's killing Garrett because he banned the books without even reading them. If he had read them, he would have known what Stendahl had planned. Garrett finally recites the lines but Stendahl seals him up and listens to the man's screams.
Later, the android Garrett and the android Committee lead the dismantling teams. Pikes drives the carriage away with Stendahl, who recites the final lines of The Fall of the House of Usher.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 18, 2015