The Tomb of Ligeia

The Tomb of Ligeia is currently available on Amazon Prime.

The Tomb of Ligeia (1964)

“A widower falls in love and marries an exact replica of his first wife. The second wife soon discovers her husband’s fixation with his dead spouse and becomes the object of evil happenings. In HD.”

“She will not die because she willed not to die.”

The Tomb of Ligeia is the last of Corman’s eight Poe adaptations. Like Masque of the Red Death, The Tomb of Ligeia was filmed in Britain to take advantage of the subsidies.

The Tomb of Ligeia is far more subdued than the other adaptations. Not much actually happens during the course of the film but an atmosphere of dread permeates the whole feature.

I love Corman’s elaborate sets but I really enjoyed that he opened up The Tomb of Ligeia (so to speak). A majority of Tomb takes place outdoors. We have cemetery scenes, scenes among the ruins and in fields and a fox hunt.Even the indoor scenes in The Tomb of Ligeia are spacious.

The outdoor ruins of Castle Acre Priory and Stonehenge are fabulous. It is great to see Stonehenge, albeit briefly, without all the ropes and safeguards in place. I envy my wife getting to have a champagne breakfast there with her father but I digress.

Vincent Price is wonderful again here, alternately subdued and manic, haunted and doomed. He is our haunted protagonist and does not get to fall back on his villainous persona this time.

Elizabeth Shepherd, taking a page from Price’s book, gets to play a double role here. She plays both Ligeia and Lady Rowena Trevanion. She was actually cast as Mrs. Peel in The Avengers (1961) but somehow lost the role to Diana Rigg. Ligeia was her big movie role – she moved back to television afterward.

The rest of the cast is stable but do not make much of an impression. Richard Vernon, who plays Dr. Vivian, had just finished playing Smithers in Goldfinger. He would later play Slartibartfast in the 1981 adaptation of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Cat lovers may want to skip this one and the ending feels forced but Elizabeth Shepherd and Vincent Price are fun to watch, the feeling of dread is nicely communicated, and the sets and scenery are nice to look at.

Remake-itis: This was remade, sort of, as The Tomb (2010) starring Michael Madsen, Wes Bentley, and Eric Roberts. It is called The Tomb and has a female character named Ligeia but it is set in modern times and bears almost no resemblance to the Poe story.