The movie portrays a fictionalized account of the last days of Edgar Allan Poe's life, in which the poet pursues a serial killer whose murders mirror those in the writer's stories.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Edgar Allan Poe's demise, the whole affair is shrouded in mystery. On October 3, 1849, Poe was found in dire need of medical attention. At the time he was discovered, he was wearing clothing that wasn't his. His death certificate and information pertaining to his death has been mysteriously lost. The only information available as to his cause of death (COD) was "congestion of the brain" or "cerebral inflammation" as reported by the newspapers-- that would be considered "death by alcoholism" now-a-days. Other suspected CODs include cooping (which would explain the clothing), delirium tremens, heart disease, epilepsy, syphilis, meningeal inflammation, cholera, and rabies.
The night before his death, Poe allegedly called out the name "Reynolds" repeatedly. Also, on the day he was buried, a long obituary signed "Ludwig" appeared in the New York Tribune. The mysterious identity of the Poe Toaster who has been known to leave three roses and a bottle of cognac at the E.A.Poe memorial also leaves unanswered questions surrounding the author's death.
The actual burial location of Poe's body is largely disputed and so his remains can never be exhumed to enable modern scientists to examine the body. He died a penniless pauper and was buried in an unmarked grave. Yet, he has since been granted a memorial headstone near where he is thought to have been buried.
I can't think of a better way for a Victorian author of macabre mystery to end his mortal life than in a swath of mystery.
See how many of Poe's stories you can recognize from the trailer: