Isaac Reads Poe’s ‘Masque of the Red Death’ on YouTube

The COVID-19 pandemic has many folks feeling helpless, anxious, and afraid. Some have turned to apocalyptic literature in an effort to put some things in perspective or simply entertain themselves as time in self-isolation passes.

Horror author Isaac Thorne recently used his isolation time to narrate the public domain Gutenberg edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death for a YouTube video. The video combines Thorne’s narration with stock footage images and Creative Commons-licensed music to create a mini-movie based on the classic literary work.

Often deemed the American Shakespeare, Poe originally wrote and published The Masque of the Red Death in an 1842 issue of Graham’s Magazine. The story tells the tale of a rich noble, Prince Prospero, who attempts to lock himself and his rich friends away in an abbey as a form of protection from a plague, The Red Death, that has devastated the general population. Decadent as ever, the prince turns the lock-in into a masked ball, dancing and cavorting while the common folk die outside his walls.

The Masque of the Red Death came along more than a century before Stephen King’s The Stand and movies like Contagion,” Isaac says. “For me, this story always hits home as a tale about the arrogance that the wealth of the privileged will protect them from plagues that destroy the common person.

“Now just felt like the right time to create this project,” he adds. “It was mainly for fun, but I’m happy with how it turned out.”

You can see the video on Isaac’s YouTube channel, or simply watch it below: