The Tomb of Ligeia

1964

Drama / Horror

10
IMDb Rating 6.7

Synopsis


Downloaded 15846 times
10/5/2017 11:00:07 AM

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1.56G
1920x824
Unrated
English
23.976 (23976/1000) FPS /
81 min
P/S 1 / 0
698.41M
1280*544
Unrated
English
23.976 /
81 min
P/S 1 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Jonathon Dabell ([email protected]) 5

I was asked recently if I could name any genuinely scary films made before The Exorcist in 1973. The only titles I could come up with were Rosemary's Baby and Night of the Living Dead from the late '60s. I could suggest many horror titles made before 1970, but none were genuinely flesh-crawling enough to make the list. At the time, I had not seen The Tomb of Ligeia. Now I have seen it and, wow! This is one seriously under-rated gem. It is one of the many Roger Corman films from this era based on an Edgar Allan Poe story. Intelligently scripted by Robert Towne, and acted to perfection by Vincent Price and Elisabeth Shepherd, this film is a treat from start to finish. Shepherd plays a well-to-do lady in Victorian England who falls in love with a mysterious loner (Price) who resides in a crumbling abbey and seems haunted by memories of his previous (now-dead) wife Ligeia. She marries Price, but her chances of love are blighted by spooky happenings which may be the work of the ghost of his jealous ex-bride. The dream sequence, featuring a dead fox hidden in a bouquet of flowers and a terrifying metamorphosis midway through a passionate kiss, is a marvellous and memorable scene. All scenes featuring the weird black cat are eerily effective. There's also a wonderfully creepy hypnotism episode. The photography is lovely, with colourful outdoor lensing of a real English abbey and superb blending of light and shadows during the ghostly indoor sequences. So, if you're after a truly spine-tingling film from before 1970 - here you go!

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Reviewed by James Hitchcock 7

"The Tomb of Ligeia" was one of a cycle of films made by Roger Corman in the sixties based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Verden Fell, an English country gentleman of the 1820s has become obsessed with his dead wife Ligeia. Indeed, although she has been buried in a tomb he built for her, he believes that she is not dead but has, as she promised she would, survived death in some form and will return to him. This obsession survives Fell's remarriage to Rowena, the daughter of a neighbouring landowner. Indeed, his obsession worsens, as he comes to believe that Rowena is possessed by Ligeia's spirit. This is an unusual horror film in that much of it takes place not only outdoors but also in daylight. The sort of images of ruin and decay traditional in horror films- Fell lives in a gloomy, crumbling, cobwebbed manor house close to the ruins of a mediaeval abbey- are contrasted with sunlit scenes of the beautiful, verdant English countryside. The difference between life and death is the central idea of the film- which ends with a quote from Poe himself: "The boundaries which divide life from death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends and where the other begins"- so this contrast is possibly symbolic, with the outdoor scenes symbolising life and the indoor ones death. The two main female characters (both played by the same actress, Elizabeth Shepherd) are differentiated in a similar manner. Rowena is a healthy-looking, "English Rose" type blonde with a love of outdoor pursuits, especially hunting. Ligeia is dark haired and gaunt with an unhealthy pallor. Like many films of this period, and unlike later films such as "The Exorcist", this is an example of an understated horror film, with the horror mostly being implied rather than shown directly. Ligeia makes an appearance in the film, but we are never sure whether this is really her ghost returning from the grave or a hallucination conjured up by Fell's distraught mind. Although it is understated, however, it is genuinely frightening, not because of Exorcist-style special effects, but because of the eerie mood that Corman is able to create. Apart from the atmospheric setting, various objects take on a sinister significance- a bunch of flowers, a dead fox and, most of all, a mysterious, malevolent black cat which may be the reincarnation of Ligeia's soul, or may be just a cat. The acting is also very good, especially from Shepherd in the dual role of Rowena/Ligeia and from Vincent Price as Fell. In a way this is also a dual role, as there are two separate aspects to Fell's character. On the one hand he is sinister and frightening, the man who threatens Rowena's happiness, her sanity and even her life. (The adjective "fell" significantly means cruel or fierce). On the other hand he is a pitiable character, a victim of his own obsessions and (possibly) also of his late wife's ghost. This duality is very much in keeping with the mood of the film, which is one of ambiguity and doubt. As befits one based upon the work of Poe, it is a tale of mystery and imagination. 7/10

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Reviewed by capkronos ([email protected]) 8

Well, at least for a little while! His last of eight Poe films as director is (loosely) based on the Poe work of the same name and is a solid metaphorical ghost story. Lady Rowena (the wonderful Elizabeth Shepherd) falls in love with Verden Fell (Vincent Price) despite his strange behavior and questionable past. Soon after their marriage, he starts disappearing, she's menaced by that old Poe stand-by (the evil black cat) and plagued by horrific nightmares involving Verden's deceased former wife Ligeia (also played by Shepherd), whose ghost seems intent on ruining the union. Price, in top hat and strange sunglasses in many scenes (his vision being "dangerously acute"), seems a bit too old for the role, but still manages to come through with an effective performance. Corman has always been underrated for effectively capturing period detail on a limited budget and it's his keen eye for the crumbling ruins, lush green countrysides, oceanfronts and shadowy castle corridors that make much of this film work. Screenplay by future Oscar-winner Robert Towne (CHINATOWN). LIGEIA was Corman's last horror film as director until 1990's FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND.

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