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Premature Burial (1962)

Unrated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 7 March 1962 (USA)
An artist grows distant from his new wife as an irrational horror of premature burial consumes him.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Complete credited cast:
Guy Carrell
Emily Gault
Miles Archer
Kate Carrell
Dr. Gideon Gault
John Dierkes ...
Mole (as Richard Miller)
Clive Halliday ...
Brendan Dillon ...


Emily Gault arrives at the Carrell mansion determined to rekindle an old relationship with Guy Carrell, despite the disapproval of his sister, Kate. Guy overcomes his all-consuming fear of being buried alive long enough to marry Emily but soon becomes obsessed again, building a crypt designed to guarantee that he will not fall prey to his most dreaded nightmare. Trying to prove that he has been cured of his phobia, he opens his father's tomb and is shocked into a catatonic state. His worst fears are realized as he is lowered into a grave and covered over, apparently never to learn that the treachery of someone very dear to him was directly responsible for his predicament. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

fear | nightmare | crypt | tomb | burial | See All (89) »


Within the Coffin Lies a Man...Yet ALIVE! See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

7 March 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Premature Burial  »

Box Office


$1,250,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Guy has several sticks of dynamite in case he needs to blast his way out the tomb. Dynamite was invented in 1868, 19 years after Edgar Allen Poe died. Since there is no definite year set for this film, it's more a curiosity than a goof. See more »


When about to show his guests the cup of poison, Guy refers to this as the coup de grace, but mispronounces it as "coup de gras" (as in "foie gras" or "Mardi Gras"). It is very unlikely that a well educated English grandee such as Guy would make such a mistake. See more »


Guy Carrell: Can you possibly conceive it. The unendurable oppression of the lungs, the stifling fumes of the earth, the rigid embrace of the coffin, the blackness of absolute night and the silence, like an overwhelming sea.
See more »


Featured in Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) See more »


Molly Malone
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User Reviews

Midnight in the garden of good and evil
12 October 2005 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland) – See all my reviews

Intensely gloomy it may be, but an impressive example how a determined cinematic stylist can make a real virtue of a low budget. This was the third of director Roger Corman's AIP chillers based on Poe stories, and the only one not to star Vincent Price. Here, Ray Milland is the protagonist whose family history of catalepsy makes him fear burial alive.

Entirely shot on the sound stage, Corman and his regular art director Danial Haller have created a wonderfully expressionist garden of gnarled trees and shrubs wreathed with dry ice. Even the interior of Milland's mansion seems like a grave, notably in the scene where Hazel Court and Richard Bull take tea in a drawing room with wood-panelled walls, dark green wallpaper, with the dead tree pressing oppressively against the windows.

A number of other directorial touches make even this relatively minor Corman effort a winner. Court's shadow passing phantom-like over the sleeping Milland. The sudden shock moments when the sinister gravediggers Sweeny and Moe appear. And the blue-suffused dream-sequence in which Milland hallucinates the fate he fears most is quite masterfully shot, cut and scored (Ronald Stein).

A dark, dank little gem.

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