The Tomb of Ligeia is a 1964 American International Pictures (AIP) horror film starring Vincent Price and Elizabeth Shepherd in a story about a man haunted by the spirit of his dead wife and her effect on his second marriage. The screenplay by Robert Towne was based upon the tale “Ligeia” by American author Edgar Allan Poe.
The film was directed by Roger Corman and was the last in his series of eight film adaptations largely based on the works of Poe. The Tomb of Ligeia was filmed in England at Castle Acre Priory and other locations and is marked among the Corman-Poe cycle for its atypical outdoor scenes and opulent settings. It was promoted as Tomb of Ligeia
The soundtrack score was composed by Kenneth V. Jones (Tower of Evil; Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?; The Projected Man; The Brain).
Verden Fell (Vincent Price) is both mournful and threatened by his first wife’s death. He senses her reluctance to die and her near-blasphemous statements about God. Alone and troubled by a vision problem that requires him to wear strange dark glasses, Fell shuns the world. Against his better judgement, he marries a headstrong young woman (Elizabeth Shepherd) he meets by accident and who is apparently betrothed to an old friend Christopher Gough (John Westbrook).
The spirit of Fell’s first wife Ligeia seems to haunt the old mansion/abbey where they live and a series of nocturnal visions and the sinister presence of a cat (who may be inhabited by the spirit of Ligeia) cause him distress. Ultimately he must face the spirit of Ligeia and resist her or perish…
On February 23, 2015, Arrow Video released the film on Blu-ray in the UK:
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the feature, transferred from original
film elements by MGM
- Original uncompressed Mono PCM Audio
- Optional isolated music and effects track
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary by director and producer Roger Corman
- Audio commentary by star Elizabeth Shepherd
- All-new interviews with crew members including cowriter/production assistant Paul Mayersberg, first assistant director David Tringham, clapper loader Bob Jordan and composer Kenneth V. Jones
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
- Collector’s booklet containing new writing by Julian Upton, illustrated with original production stills.
Buy Arrow Video Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk
Reviews [click links to read more]:
“Mr. Corman has made stunning, ambient use of his authentic setting, an ancient abbey in Norfolk, England, and the lovely countryside. The picture is not nearly as finished as “Masque of the Red Death”, also shot in Britain and “The Pit and the Pendulum” remains our favorite of all. But the Corman climate of evil is as unhealthy and contagious as ever.” Howard Thompson, The New York Times, May 1965
” … one of the best in the whole series, an ambiguous, open-ended film which features one of Vincent Price’s most decisive performances. There is a long early sequence involving a long monologue by Verden Fell (Price), juxtaposed against Rowena (Shepherd) climbing a gothic tower, which has a syntactic originality that has rarely been equalled in horror movies. But even more importantly, Corman – like Michael Reeves in Witchfinder General – utilised the English landscape in a way that Hammer had often neglected.” David Pirie, Time Out
“A bizarre mixture of necrophilia, hypnotism and magic, directed to the hilt by Corman and boasting a concentrated and serious performance by Price. Superbly photographed with excellent use of locations, it is one of Corman’s most atmospheric Gothic chillers, ultimately surviving a confusing script.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook
“Corman makes a particular point of giving the film a very different appearance to the earlier works, in using exteriors while the previous films had been entirely studio-bound – this does help to add some variation and the use of the beautiful Castle Acre Priory is a lot more realistic than the matt painted castles of the earlier films – however this move does serve to diminish the claustrophobic, nightmarish atmosphere of the earlier films.” Mondo Esoterica
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“Scripted by Robert Towne, this is a full-blooded gothic romance in the tempestuous manner, with high-flown dialogue just this side of camp (‘not ten minutes ago I tried to kill a stray cat with a cabbage, and all but made love to the Lady Rowena. I succeeded in squashing the cabbage and badly frightening the lady. If only I could lay open my own brain as easily as I did that vegetable, what rot would be freed from its grey leaves?’) and many opportunities for the fetching if skull-faced heroine to run about lavishly-appointed, cobwebbed corridors in her powder-blue nightie pursued by the villainess in the form of a malicious cat who would have spooked Poe himself.” Kim Newman, Empire