This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Premature Burial (1962)

"Can you possibly conceive it? The unendurable oppression of the lungs, the stifling fumes of the damp earth, the rigid embrace of the coffin, the blackness of absolute night and the silence, like an overwhelming sea."
-Guy Carrell.

As this is Halloween, I've spent the past couple of weeks writing reviews of classic horror films on Among them are Roger Corman's great adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe's works. Corman made a total of eight films in this series, beginning with The Fall of the House of Usher (1960) and ending with The Tomb of Ligeia (1965). All of these starred Vincent Price, except the third, The Premature Burial. Perhaps it's the lack of Price that made it less well-known than the other Poe films Corman made. Ironically, Price was Corman's first choice for the lead, Guy Carrell, but Price was under contract with American International Pictures and this film was made by Pathe. However, once filming was underway, AIP bought Pathe, making Burial an AIP production.

But Ray Milland proved a fine choice for Guy, a 19th Century man who lives in constant fear of being buried alive, despite the reassurances of his beloved Emily (Hazel Court), who soon marries him. But his fear remains strong due to the numerous horrible deaths which have befallen his ancestors. Guy enlists his sister Kate (Heather Angel) to help him build a tomb which one can open from the inside.

However, Emily forces him to destroy the tomb, which eventually leads to Guy's worst fear being realized.

As with the other films in Corman's Poe series, the photography looks wonderful and this film, again like the others, captures the spirit of Poe. While we've had many memorable film versions of Frankenstein and Dracula, I often wonder if we will ever see adaptations of Poe's work which will become as famous and as endearing as Corman's.

Corman's work has also become noteworthy for being the starting ground for some who would go onto become major movie legends, including Jack Nicholson and Martin Scorsese. So perhaps I should not be surprised that Francis Ford Coppola, a full decade before he made The Godfather (1972), worked on some of the dialogue for this film.

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