Why Did Verna Place Items On The Tombstones In ‘The Fall Of The House Of Usher’ Cemetery Scene?


The events of The Fall of the House of Usher began with the funeral of the penultimate members of Roderick Usher’s bloodline. Fortunato Pharma, which was co-owned by Roderick and his sister, Madeline, was also in shambles because they were selling an addictive painkiller called Ligodone while claiming that it was non-addictive. But Auguste Dupin, the investigator who was trying to take down Fortunato, needed something concrete to truly bring an end to the Ushers and Fortunato. So, he was surprised that Roderick called him to his old home for a confession. Dupin recorded the whole conversation where Roderick talked about committing murder to become the owner of Fortunato, penning a deal with the devil, the circumstances under which his bloodline was erased, and how he didn’t actually regret any of it. Soon after that, Roderick met his end at the hands of his undead sister, and the twins were crushed under the weight of their own house. Dupin barely made it out alive with the recording of the whole conversation. However, he refused to publish Roderick’s confession because that’d humanize the Ushers, and that was something that they didn’t deserve. He left the recorder near Roderick’s tombstone and left. Soon after that, the graves of the Ushers were visited by Verna, as she placed an item on their tombstones while reciting Edgar Allan Poe’s Spirits of the Dead. Let’s talk about the significance of those items.

Spoiler Alert

The Mask for Prospero Usher

Prospero Usher’s final moments were defined by the exclusive and raunchy masquerade party that he had arranged for 100 influential people at an old factory that the Ushers owned and was about to be demolished. He convinced the attendants that everything that would happen at the party would stay at the party. But he was secretly filming everyone, and his main target was Morelle Usher, i.e., Frederick Usher’s wife. Prospero wanted to use the footage of Morelle partaking in extramarital activities to get back at Frederick for reprimanding him at every step of the way. And by showing the success of the party, he wanted to convince Roderick Usher to bankroll his idea of creating a nightclub franchise. However, all those plans went down the drain as soon as Prospero ordered Faraj to turn on the sprinklers and begin the rain dance because those pipes and tanks were filled with toxic waste that was supposed to be moved and destroyed during the demolition. Verna visited Prospero while he was breathing his last and placed a skull mask on his face. Given how she placed the mask that Prospero was originally wearing on his tombstone, she must’ve kept it safely and saved it for that moment.

The iPhone for Camille L’Espanaye

Camille L’Espanaye’s final act took place via her iPhone. She wanted to expose Victorine for using chimpanzees to test her mechanical heart and make herself look like a saint in front of Roderick. So, Camille went through all the chimpanzee cages and took pictures of them with the flash on. This provoked the chimps, but that didn’t affect Camille because she didn’t care about the chimpanzees; she just wanted to ensure that the animals looked tortured enough to prove that Victorine was a monster. Verna approached her by taking control of one of the chimps, and when Camille realized that she had been cornered by her, she took one last picture on her iPhone, and that was of the chimp that mauled her to death. I am guessing that those pictures never made their way to the authorities. They didn’t need to because Victorine, the Rue Labs, Fortunato, the Usher household—the whole circus was fated to go down. What was even the point of providing proof? Maybe that was why Verna kept it with her so that, even in death, Camille could remain synonymous with the gadget that she used for her PR activities.

The Gucci Cat Collar for Napoleon Usher

Napoleon Usher hated his boyfriend’s cat, Pluto. One day, while he was high out of his mind, he killed the cat and removed all evidence of its death. To keep up appearances, he brought a cat that looked exactly like Pluto, and the first thing that he said after bringing it home was that someone had nicked its Gucci collar, with the emphasis being on the word “Gucci.” This meant two things: Napoleon had forgotten to remove Pluto’s Gucci collar before disposing of its body, and, despite being uber-rich, Napoleon probably hated the fact that he had bought such an expensive accessory for a cat. Anyway, the version of Pluto that Napoleon brought home turned out to be Verna in disguise, and she used his already drugged-out mind to send him plummeting to his death from his high-rise apartment. So, putting that very cat collar on his tombstone seemed like a sick but very apt joke from Verna.

The Mechanical Heart for Victorine LaFourcade

This one was pretty blunt because Victorine lived and died trying to perfect that mechanical heart. She never got to know why Roderick Usher was so adamant about perfecting it and sending it out for human trials. She just saw the millions of dollars that Roderick would give her if she gave him the right results. So, to achieve that dream, she fooled a patient at Dr. Ruiz’s clinic (which was actually Verna), butchered a bunch of chimpanzees, and even killed Dr. Ruiz for declining to perform the required surgery on the aforementioned patient. When she realized what she had done, she attached the mechanical heart to Ruiz’s physical heart, and she was haunted by the sound emanating from the device. Eventually, it drove her crazy and caused her to kill herself in front of her father. Given how the mechanical heart never went into production, the one that Verna had with her was probably the only copy of the device. Hence, it was apt that it was placed on Victorine’s tombstone, serving as a reminder of all the laws she had broken to perfect it.

The Goldbug for Tamerlane Usher

Goldbug was the name of the company “founded” by Tamerlane. She popularized it by associating it with the brand of her fitness influencer husband, William Wilson. It was basically a rip-off of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, and that was why she didn’t even know a lot about the products that her company was making. She spent many a sleepless night preparing for her presentation, but when the time came, she fumbled the bag, albeit with some help from Verna. She freaked out when Verna tried to kill her in a peaceful manner, and she ended up dying miserably, thereby making her horrible attempt at launching her brand, Goldbug, her final public act in The Fall of the House of Usher. It was evident that Tamerlane had manufactured Goldbug boxes for all the people who had attended her press conference, and we saw that each of those care packages had a physical Goldbug on it. So, that was what Verna put on Tamerlane’s tombstone. It didn’t have a lot of thematic depth, much like Tamerlane and her brand.

The Bag of Cocaine for Frederick Usher

Frederick turned out to be the most violent member of the family, even though he wasn’t like that initially. When he started having doubts about his wife, Morelle, and Roderick held him responsible for not demolishing all the defunct factories on time, which led to Prospero’s death and Morelle’s third-degree burns, Frederick started doing cocaine. He didn’t allow Morelle to get proper care for her horribly scarred skin. He pumped her body full of a paralytic drug made from Nightshade. And he became so erratic that he lashed out at Lenore as well. Even though Verna never really pushed anybody to their death, for Frederick, she intervened and manipulated him to mix some of that Nightshade powder with his cocaine. So, when he snorted it, while urinating on the ground where Prospero breathed his last, he lost control of his body and died underneath the rubble of the demolished factory. Since the concluding chapters of Frederick’s life were defined by his drug abuse, Verna put that on his tombstone. I am hoping that all these gifts are metaphorical because somebody can visit the Ushers’ corner of the cemetery and take that bag of cocaine, which is probably mixed with Nightshade.

A Raven Feather for Lenore Usher

Lenore’s death was the most unfortunate. She was the nicest member of the Usher household, whose fate was sealed by her greedy grandfather, Roderick. She had a heart of gold. She called out her grandfather and the rest of their family for being villains. And the worst part was that she had hopes of crafting a better future for the family. That was why even Verna shed a tear before putting Lenore to sleep permanently. She put a raven feather on her tombstone because Verna took on the form of a raven, and that served as a token of her love for Lenore. Additionally, Lenore was the character that the narrator pined for in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven. So, it made literary sense for Verna (an anagram of Raven) to use a raven feather to underscore what she meant to her.

Two Sapphires for Madeline Usher

As mentioned in The Fall of the House of Usher by Roderick, the two sapphires that he brought from Egypt were placed on the head of the Nineteenth Dynasty pharaoh, Twosret, when she was mummified. Apparently, it was supposed to give her sight in the afterlife. So, when he killed Madeline, he replaced her eyes with those two sapphires because he saw her as a queen, and he wanted her sendoff to be glorious. Here’s the issue, though. The number of years of Twosret’s reign is disputed. The nature of her coffin is disputed because it was apparently usurped by Amenherkhepeshef. And there’s no official mention of Twosret’s sapphires. Therefore, it’s possible that Roderick was duped by the authorities and those “invaluable” sapphires were fake. It makes sense because Madeline’s sense of godliness was fake as well. Therefore, gracing her eyes as well as her tomb with two pieces of jewelry with no depth or history is quite apt.

A Whiskey Glass for Roderick Usher

The first time that Verna showed up in front of Roderick, she presented a whiskey glass and offered him (and Madeline) a drink. Roderick wanted to stay in character (he was dressed as Jay Gatsby) and refused to drink. But Madeline wanted to keep up appearances and forced him to drink. When Roderick and Madeline sealed their deal with Verna, they drank the Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac (it’s apparently a real thing) from that whiskey glass. Of course, as soon as Roderick and Madeline exited the bar, it vanished into thin air. However, it’s apparent that Verna held onto that glass so that she could put it on Roderick’s tombstone because the final swig of the cognac from that very glass was what sealed the deal that doomed the Usher bloodline. By the way, given how Roderick was particular about the kind of glass he used to drink from (throughout his conversation with Auguste Dupin, he drank the aforementioned brandy from a brandy glass), I think the joke here is that Verna served brandy in a whiskey glass.

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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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