The Tomb of Ligeia

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Roger Corman

REVIEWED: 11-24-97

Of all the Corman/Poe films, Tomb of Ligea has stood the test of time most successfully, although a case can also be made for Masque of the Red Death. The standard elements of the other films in the series, the malignant and presumably dead wife, the tormented widower overwrought with melancholy, and the threatened innocent, are certainly present, but Corman plays Tomb of Ligea straight. This is likely due to the script by Robert Towne, whose characters are believably complex and compelling. Price is remarkably restrained as a romantic lead, given his over-the-top portrayals in the other Poe films, and Elizabeth Shepherd manages to strike exactly the right note in her role as Lady Rowena.

Vincent Price, the master of horror, stars in Roger Corman's Tomb of Ligeia.

Thankfully, the laserdisc is letterboxed, preserving the outstanding compositions of cinematographer Arthur Grant, whose choice of muted tones is far better suited to the material than the garish colors which exist in most of the other Poe films. Corman even rises to the occasion in his direction, which is effective and inspired at moments. Tomb of Ligea remains essentially true to the spirit of Poe's work, and its remarkable and unique union of disparate talents makes it worth tracking down on laserdisc.

--Bud Simons

Other Films by Roger Corman
The Trip

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Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood

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