Vincent Price goes goth steampunk in Roger Corman’s final Poe film, The Tomb of Ligeia. Choosing to go out with more of a slower film than the lavish Masque of the Red Death, Ligeia is still a fairly bleak flick, one that slowly builds up its horrors. Price plays a nobleman who remains under his late wife’s spell, as made very clear by the eerie opening. Other, far darker elements are only hinted at and revealed later on.
Verden, Price’s character, is a nobleman who lives in an old, crumbling abbey full of cool artifacts and his loyal manservant. He makes the mistake of falling in love with Rowena, who is then beset by a cat that may be the spirit of his dead wife. This movie takes “Just the cat!” to unhealthy levels, as that cat attacks everyone who comes near it. Eventually Verden has to face the cat, and the haunting spirit of his decreased beloved.
Elizabeth Shepherd is great in a double role, even though they had to use makeup and other tricks to make Price seem younger. I wonder how the film would have worked had they been able to get Richard Chamberlain in the part instead. Regardless, this is a well made movie that I liked a lot, and I wonder if we will ever see anyone adapt so many literary works from one author like Corman did.