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The Tomb of Ligeia
Das Grab der Ligeia

UK 1964
produced by
Roger Corman, Pat Green for Anglo-Amalgamated, Alta Vista/AIP
directed by Roger Corman
starring Vincent Price, Elizabeth Shepherd, John Westbrook, Oliver Johnston, Derek Francis, Richard Vernon, Ronald Adam, Frank Thornton, Denis Gilmore, Penelope Lee
written by Robert Towne, based on the story Ligeia by Edgar Allan Poe, music by Kenneth V.Jones

AIP's Poe-cycle, Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe-adaptations

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Amidst the ruins of an old abbey, lady Rowenna (Elizabeht Shepherd) & her boyfriend Christopher (John Westbrook) find lord Verden Fell (Vincent Price), the owner of the place, & a curious man indeed: His whole life seems to be centered around his dead wife Ligeia (also Elizabeth Shepherd), & he huns the light of day, refusing to go out without dark glasses ... a curious enough gentleman for Rowenna to become more & more interested, & so she decides to pay him some visits, soon on a regular basis.

Soon, too, Verden opens up to her, only his cat, Ligeia's cat, actually, behaves hostile towards her ... that doesn't prevent Verden & Rowenna from marrying eventually though.

At their honeymoon, Verden seems to be achanged man, charming, eloquent, good-natured, without dark glasses, & to shake his past, he decides to sell the abbey ...

But once back in the abbey, everything changes, Verden is his old, grieving self again, wears his dark glasses, disappears for hours on end, treats his wife with neglect ... & above all else, he can't sell the abbey, since it legally belongs to Ligeia, who was never legally declared dead, a mere formality back then that comes back to haunt everyone now.

In her despair, Rowenna turns to Christopher for help, who figures the only way to get to the bottom of it all is to unearth Ligeia ... whose corpse in the grave he eventually finds to be made of wax.

Meanwhile Rowenna is terrorized some more by Ligeia's black cat, but running away from the cat, she discovers a secret passageway to one of the abbey's towers, & up there a secret but lavish room tht turns out to be lady Ligeia's last resting place ... whichis where Verden comes every night, presumably to make (necrophilic) love to her (she even rests in a luxurious double bed).

When Christopher arrives too, with Verden's butler Kenrick (Oliver Johnston), & tries to confront Verden, Verden falls into a state of catatonia ... & now Kenrick explains that Verden was hypnotized by Ligeia on her death bed to never leave her ... which is pretty much what he is doing now.

Somehow Rowenna manages to break the hypnotic spell though & makes Verden burn Ligeia's corpse in one of these big open fires you always have in the secret tower rooms of old abbeys (?), but then Verden goes pretty mad & tries to strangle Rowenna, thinking her to be Ligeia.

Christopher can (just) save Rowenna, but Verden has somehow Verden has set fire to his tower (& the whole abbey, as a consequence), & dies in the flames, reunited with his wife Ligeia.

 

Roger Corman's last Edgar Allan Poe adaptation is perhaps also his silliest ... that's not to say that Poe's short story itself, little more than the fascinating description of a dream of an opium clouded mind, was silly though, it's more that Robert Towne knows remarkably little to do with it, but throws out all references to opium, instead fills up the story with a mix of hypnotism, vengeful spirits & a possessed cat ... which to no great surprise doesn't really work.

The film's not all bad though, it's beautifully filmed in lush primary colours, using the English outdoor sets to greatest advantage, & several scenes show a real feeling of menace & horror. Plus the central performances by Vincent Price (naturally) & Elizabeth Shepherd are quite strong.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD