Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Tomb of Ligeia

With Shenan out of town for the weekend, I carved out time on Saturday to do a Vincent Price horror movie marathon. I watched 5 of his films, 3 of which were also Poe adaptations directed by Roger Corman. In the spirit of The Price is Right and Two For the Price of One, I will name this marathon Time to Pay the Price.

The Tomb of Ligeia is a loose adaptation (as all three films were, to varying degrees) of the Poe story, about a man who becomes obsessed with his dead wife. He remarries, but soon becomes convinced that his wife holds power over him, and that she is perhaps somehow trying to return to life.

This was probably my least favorite movie of the marathon, but that doesn't mean that I thought it was bad. It works itself to a nice climax (with a lot of cool shots of the characters with flames licking the bottom of the frame), but it's at times a bit of a slog getting there. Most disappointing is that Price doesn't really get to have much fun, as his character is morose and in mourning for much of the film. I think we can agree that the best Price performances are when he really sinks his teeth in and hams it up. In this film he has to underplay a bit. Uh, you know, relatively speaking.

I've seen a few other of Corman's Poe adaptations, and Ligeia has the goods but doesn't really distinguish itself. I don't recall the original short story well enough to know how much this differs/adds/changes/is combined with other stories, but based on his track record I'm guessing a lot. It has all of the Corman trademarks: costumes galore, opulent sets, spooky castle, revelation of a rotting corpse, trippy dream sequence. Worth seeing if you like this sort of thing, but we'll be getting to some better ones later.

Grade: B-

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