The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Horror, Thriller  |  20 January 1965 (USA)
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Reviews: 50 user | 42 critic

A man's obsession with his dead wife drives a wedge between him and his new bride.



(short story), (screenplay)
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Complete credited cast:
Elizabeth Shepherd ...
John Westbrook ...
Christopher Gough
Derek Francis ...
Lord Trevanion
Oliver Johnston ...
Richard Vernon ...
Dr. Vivian
Ronald Adam ...
Minister at Graveside
Denis Gilmore ...
Livery Boy
Penelope Lee ...
Lady Rowena's Maidservant


Some years after having buried his beloved wife Ligea, Verden Fell meets and eventually marries the lovely Lady Rowena. Fell is something of a recluse, living in a small part of a now ruined Abbey with his manservant Kenrick as the only other occupant. He remains infatuated with his late wife and is convinced that she will return to him. While all goes well when first married, he returns to his odd behavior when they return to the Abbey from their honeymoon. The memories of Ligea continue to haunt him as well as her promise that she would never die. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

abbey | recluse | cat | fox | exhumation | See All (55) »


His first wife is dead- but still a little CATTY! See more »


Drama | Horror | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 January 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

House at the End of the World  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Proposed titles included "The House at the End of the World" and "The Tomb of the Cat" See more »


Position of Ligeia's arms when lying in bed. When Rowena fall on her her arms are in a position like holding something. Few minutes later, when Verden take a look on the bed hidden by the black curtains, their arms are in other position. See more »


Verden Fell: Christopher, not ten minutes ago I... I tried to kill a stray cat with a cabbage, and all but made love to the Lady Rowena. I succeeded is squashing the cabbage and badly frightening the lady. If only I could lay open my own brain as easily as I did that vegetable, what rot would be freed from its grey leaves?
See more »

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User Reviews

"The eyes, they confound me… they do not readily yield up the mystery"
27 September 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Roger Corman is often celebrated for his economies, but nobody ever told me that he was also a wonderful cinematic craftsman. 'The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)' is my second Corman film (after the throwaway cheapie 'The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)'), and I'm now intrigued by the prospect of seeing his other Edgar Allan Poe-inspired creations. Horror maestro Vincent Price stars as Verden Fell, a wealthy widower who becomes obsessed by the possibility that his deceased wife somehow survives. Inexplicably drawn to Verden's sinister charms, the lovely Lady Rowena (Elizabeth Shepherd) agrees to marry him. However, on their wedding night, she is tormented by the memory of her predecessor, who seemingly takes the form of an ominous black cat. Though one could argue that nothing much happens in this film, it is nevertheless exceedingly dense with atmosphere, almost stiflingly so, every frame an overwhelming banquet of garish colours. The darkness of the nighttime is vividly punctuated by the gleaming scarlet of blood, hellish yellow flames, and an invisible black enemy that skulks in the shadows.

While I don't expect that 'The Tomb of Ligeia' stays particularly close to the original story, the screenplay from Robert Towne (later to write 'Chinatown (1974)') emulates the gloomy Gothic overtones of classic Poe. Discomfort is gleaned, not only from the dialogue, but the silences between words. Not that Verden Fell is not given his fair share of dialogue; the film is so apparently entranced by the dark, charismatic tones of Price's voice that he often breaks off into superb, meandering monologues that give voice to the obvious. Not that the audience is complaining, of course – the way Price presents himself to the camera, with complete and utter conviction, is mesmerising. While the film, of course, owes a debt to Poe's literature, it is also an expansion of the Gothic melodrama sub-genre of the 1940s. Consider Hitchcock's 'Rebecca (1940),' in which young innocent Joan Fontaine is plagued by the "ghost" of her husband's previous wife; or Mankiewicz's 'Dragonwyck (1946),' which finds Gene Tierney harassed by her mentally deranged husband – played, appropriately, by Vincent Price.

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