Poe’s classic short story of murder and madness is here subtly but effectively repurposed to haunt the dreams of a whole new generation of readers.
It’s been 170 years since Poe’s chilling first-person narrative was first published in an ill-fated Boston-based magazine called The Pioneer. But this marvelously restrained iPad app might just be the ultimate platform for conveying the claustrophobic creepiness inherent in Poe’s gothic tale of a killer betrayed by his own insanity. Snatches of Poe’s first-person narration are found scrawled on a textured background that resembles a pitted wall; they must be manipulated, twisted and turned in order to discover the next outburst of literary lunacy. Slowly and even painstakingly, tracing the story in this most tactile way brilliantly mirrors the disjointed, zigzagging inner workings of the protagonist’s tortured mind while also creating an uncomfortable intimacy with the unnamed antihero. Additionally, following the crooked etchings—which vary in font as well as physical orientation—up, down, over and around conjures an unmistakable feeling of being alone in the dark with an unwelcome someone reading over your shoulder. Poe’s eerily elegiac prose is faithfully rendered. Isolating it bit by bit while maintaining a linear, if wildly undulating flow adroitly capitalizes on the rising tension.
Poe’s psychological masterpiece is perfectly matched with just enough digital interactivity to chill readers anew. (Requires iOS 6 and above.)