The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)

ROGER CORMAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  , 1964.  .  Screenplay by , based on the story Ligeia by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Richly enjoyable horror classic inspired by the story by Edgar Allan Poe.  is superb as an aristocratic woman who rides her horse into the ruins of an old abbey during a fox hunt and, distracted by the site of a large beautiful tombstone, is frightened by a man standing next to it.  He turns out to be the widower of the deceased (and is played with his usual relish by ), and she becomes fascinated with him, insisting that he is the man she wants to marry.  He appears to be tortured by the past, unable to let the memory of his wife go, but Shepherd eventually inspires him to marry her and embrace the future.  Turns out it might not all have been to up him, as creepy things start happening in the house and the family’s black cat takes one too many swipes at our heroine’s face.  This delightful good time is notable for not giving Price all the glory, he’s actually quite subdued (for him) in a film that focuses on its excellent leading lady, who more than justifies the attention.  It’s the last of the film inspired by Poe that Corman made before embracing late-sixties counterculture, its gorgeous cinematography and sumptuous production design (it was mainly shot on the sets left over from Peter Glenville’s Becket) contributing a great deal to the haunting atmosphere.

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