Once upon a midnight dreary, we awoke to find Edgar Allan Poe in the theatres once again. We say "dreary," because according to IMBD, Poe's work has been adapted to film 250 times, but not one of those efforts has nailed down the unencumbered tale of Poe's life and work we so badly want to see. Case in point: The Raven, which swoops into theaters today with John Cusack taking on the role of the famously enigmatic author, but with none of Poe's trademark macabre flair. Instead, director James McTeigue paints Poe as a slick action star, taking a flashy Hollywood spin on his life that would leave Poe furiously clawing at his coffin.

If you're looking to probe Poe's dark and twisted imagination, unconstrained by Cusack, look no further than his classic short stories. While they are fictional tales, critics have long believed that the reality of Poe's life, which was marked by struggle and heartache, was transposed into his work, which is why each tale is encircled by the threat of impending darkness, and tainted by intimations of horror. Take a journey into the many melancholy moods of our favorite morbid author with The 25 Best Edgar Allan Poe Stories. Before purists riot in the streets, though, be warned: neither "The Raven" or "Annabel Lee," both of which are technically poems, appear for this distinctive reason. And, just a suggestion: You might want to keep the lights on.

[Note: Much of the artwork featured can be attributed to Harry Clarke, an Irish illustrator and stained glass artist who illustrated Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Clarke adds another degree of darkness to Poe's work, and heightens the anxiety embedded in Poe's tales, much like those chill-inducing Stephen Gammell illustrations that accompanied our favorite childhood series, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.]

Written by Shanté Cosme (@ShanteCosme)

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