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John Llewellyn Moxey
Francis Barnard goes to Spain, when he hears his sister Elizabeth has died. Her husband Nicholas Medina, the son of the brutest torturer of the Spanish Inquisition, tells him she has died of a blood disease, but Francis finds this hard to believe. After some investigating he finds out that it was extreme fear that was fatal to his sister and that she may have been buried alive! Strange things then start to happen in the Medina castle. Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
The movie adapted from Edgar Allan Poe is par excellence a movie made up of sketches:for instance ,"tre passi nel delirio"(Fellini,Malle,Vadim,1968) encompassed three short stories.
The problem with Edgar Poe's short stories lies in the fact that they are...short!Here Richard Matheson double-jumped his contemporaries by combining elements from several Poe stories in a single classy film. Some kind of" the writer's greatest hits " so to speak.
The beloved late wife subject directly comes from "Morella" which will be filmed by Corman in "tales of terror" the following year.The doomed house which is slowly sinking down recalls "the fall of the House of Usher"."Burried alive" or "premature burial" plays a prominent part in the plot too.The walled up character was present in "the black cat" and "the cask of Amontillado".As for "the pit and the pendulum",it provides the movie with its final,but it's only a small segment of the whole.
The actors are excellent ,the sets wonderfully Gothic,but there's something hollow in these Corman movies.Fellini was able to transcend Poe (eg segment "Tobby Dammit" in "tre passi nel delirio") ,Corman remains a respectful director,and one sees little of the madness which emanates from Poe's best works.The same goes for such works as "premature burial" or "tales of terror".Outside technically,it does not show any improvement on,for instance Jean Epstein's (helped by Luis Bunuel)"chute de la maison Usher" a silent movie from 1928.
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