The Tomb Of Ligeia

  • 1964
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Horror

The last of Roger Corman's Poe films, THE TOMB OF LIGEIA is also the most unusual entry in the series and one of the best. Set in 1821, the film opens as Verden Fell (Vincent Price) stands grief-stricken while his beloved wife, Ligeia, is buried in the cemetery outside the ruined, ancient abbey where he lives. Before she expired, Ligeia told her husband...read more

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The last of Roger Corman's Poe films, THE TOMB OF LIGEIA is also the most unusual entry in the series and one of the best. Set in 1821, the film opens as Verden Fell (Vincent Price) stands grief-stricken while his beloved wife, Ligeia, is buried in the cemetery outside the ruined,

ancient abbey where he lives. Before she expired, Ligeia told her husband that she would never die, and, as the coffin is lowered, a black cat sitting on the tombstone screams and the corpse's eyes snap open. Fell rushes to the casket, convinced that his wife still lives, but the eye movement was

merely a involuntary reflex. Months later, while on a fox hunt, the Lady Rowena (Elizabeth Shepherd) falls from her horse near Ligeia's grave. Injured, Rowena is found by Fell, who is dressed entirely in black and sporting bizarre wrap-around dark glasses because of his aversion to sunlight. He

carries her into the abbey, where he tends to her sprain. As the weeks go by Rowena and Fell fall in love and become engaged, although she is disturbed by Fell's morbid obsession with Ligeia. After their wedding and honeymoon, the couple learns that they cannot sell the abbey because much of the

property is in Ligeia's name and she was never officially declared dead. This seems to send Fell even further into madness, and he becomes convinced that Ligeia is still alive. Rowena also begins to suffer from dreams and hallucinations in which she imagines herself as Ligeia. Eventually, Rowena

discovers that Ligeia's body lies in a secret underground passageway in the abbey (Fell had the corpse exhumed and put a wax figure in its place), where Fell tends to it every night. Desperate, Rowena tries to convince Fell that she is Ligeia, but their tragic love is destroyed in a bizarre and

fiery climax. For his last stab at Poe, Corman decided to do something different and shot the film on location at the old Norfolk abbey in East Anglia, much to the delight of Price, who had always wanted to do a picture in a ruin. In addition to the impressive look of its physical production, THE

TOMB OF LIGEIA is the most subtle in the entire Poe series, with a finely nuanced performance from Price and an excellent screenplay from Robert Towne (CHINATOWN, 1974) that is part romance, part horror. Footage from the climax was used by Martin Scorsese in MEAN STREETS (1973).

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The last of Roger Corman's Poe films, THE TOMB OF LIGEIA is also the most unusual entry in the series and one of the best. Set in 1821, the film opens as Verden Fell (Vincent Price) stands grief-stricken while his beloved wife, Ligeia, is buried in the cem… (more)

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