The film begins with transparent and overlaid copies of the first page of Poe’s story moving across, diagonally, and up and down across the screen in a mirrored effect. A traveller arrives at the fog shrouded, silhouetted House of Usher. Inside, both Roderick and Madeline sit down for dinner and drinks. The contents of a covered serving dish – a coffin - are shown to Madeline and she faints. Later, the traveller rings the door bells of the house, summoning Madeline. She wanders the halls in a daze, before fainting again. Images of coffins flutter by as Roderick seals his sister away in a casket. Repeating images of hammers fill the screen, signifying that she is being sealed inside.
Hands of Ruin, on the other hand, needs to juggle both the Poe text and the images from the Watson-Webber film to fully capture Poe’s usage of sound. Per Robertson of Hands of Ruin:
I used a mixture of acoustic and electronic sounds throughout the soundtrack. The film has one foot in the Gothic world of Poe and one in the modern and abstract world of experimental cinema. The mixture of old and modern sounds therefore seemed appropriate.14