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 <email@example.com>
In the tomb, Carrell refers to dynamite as a new invention. Since Poe wrote the story in 1844 and died in 1849, this would be impossible. Nobel did not invent dynamite until 1867. See more »
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.
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The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to remove shots of maggots being poured from a cup and to edit scenes of Emily's body being covered with earth. The Optimum DVD is the uncut print. See more »
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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