The Premature Burial is a 1962 American horror film, directed by Roger Corman from a screenplay by Charles Beaumont and Ray Russell, based upon the 1844 short story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. It stars Ray Milland, Hazel Court, Alan Napier, Heather Angel and Richard Ney.
Corman had made two successful adaptations of Poe’s works for American International Pictures (AIP) starring Vincent Price. He decided to make his own Poe film with financing through Pathe Lab. He wanted to use Price, but AIP had him under exclusive contract, so he cast Ray Milland instead. On the first day of shooting AIP’s James Nicholson and Sam Arkoff turned up, announcing Corman was working for them – they had threatened Pathe with the loss of their business if they did not bring the movie back to AIP.
Francis Ford Coppola (Dementia 13; Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Twixt) worked on the movie as dialogue director.
Guy Carrell (Milland), who is obsessed with the fear of death. He is most obsessed with the fear of being buried alive. Though his fiancee Emily says he has nothing to be afraid of, he still thinks he will be buried alive (a common fear and in reality an occasional occurrence). So deluded, he seeks help from a few people, including his sister, but he still is haunted by the fear of death and the sense that someone close wants him dead…
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Reviews [click links to read more]:
“Oh and Milland was fine, not much of a surprise since he IS an Oscar winner. I mean, he’s no Price, but who is? He’s got the perfect look, where you can buy him as a villain or a hero quite easily – a benefit during the back and forth finale. The rest of the cast is also pretty good…” Horror Movie a Day
“There is the nucleus of a good movie in The Premature Burial. Unfortunately, most of that nucleus is recycled from The Fall of the House of Usher and The Pit and the Pendulum, and three consecutive movies spent tinkering with the same material is at least one too many.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
“A shocker rather than a chiller, Corman conjures up some colourful, cobwebbed Poe atmosphere with swirling mists, petrified corpses and dank atmospheric suspense; and Milland’s dream sequence is genuinely frightening.” Peter Fuller, The Spooky Isles
Cast and characters:
- Ray Milland as Guy Carrell
- Heather Angel as Kate Carrell, Guy’s sister
- Hazel Court as Emily Gault, Guy’s wife
- Alan Napier as Doctor Gideon Gault
- Richard Ney as Miles Archer
- John Dierkes as Sweeney
- Dick Miller as Mole
- Clive Halliday as Judson
- Brendan Dillon as Clergyman