Title: The Premature Burial
Release Date: March 7, 1962
Plot: Emily Gault ( Hazel Court) arrives at her former lover’s house in an attempt to marry him. She meets opposition in his dissaproving sister and his phobia of being buried alive.
Review: Third in the series, and I gotta admit this one is dull to sit through at times. I blame this on a lack of Price and his magnetic personality. Instead we get Ray Milland as the phobic and fearful Guy Carrell. He tries, bless him, he tries, but its not the same. Also adding to this is the reused plot elements. Without the glorious cheese of Price to spice things up, they feel incredibly stale at this point.
What are some of these elements? We have premature burials, obviously, a mentally disturbed man, and a lead character going nuts and killing everyone at the end. Guy’s family also suffers from Cataleptic fits, much like the Ushers in the first film. When Poe does it , I don’t mind, but this writer is no Poe. Onto the plot. We open on quite a grim scene: the digging up of Guy’s father to determine if he was still alive when buried. Not surprisingly, he was, and Guy has a mental breakdown afterwards that he never gets over.
His fiancée or lover ( not sure which) Emily Gault grows somewhat concerned for him ( or so it appears) and visits his crumbling and creepy Gothic home. That’s one thing I can give this film. The sets are once again gorgeous and appropriately gloomy when needed. Speaking of gorgeous, Emily Gaunt may look familiar to those of you who watched The Raven, as she’s played by Hazel Court, who plays Lenore in that film. This won’t be the last we see of her either, as she returns for one more in the series.
She meets opposition in Kate, Guy’s somewhat grumpy sister and our red herring for this film. She’s presented as standoffish and somewhat villainous, not that she gets to do much until the end of the film, where she becomes an exposition device to our other side character of importance and is revealed to be harmless (as long as you forget that she kills her crazed brother). Who is this side character?Meet doctor Mike, an old love interest of Emily’s and understudy to her father.
I question his methods, but Emily seems to like him, maybe a little too much considering she’s married to Guy. I also question the fact that the main character takes Laudenum ( which is 10 % opium). That might explain the trippy nightmare out of nowhere, that or the fact this was filmed in the 60s. The last thing a guy with a severe phobia needs is hallucinatory drugs in his system. Drug use or no, his relationship with Emily is nicely developed, but that takes a backseat to him hermiting it up in a crypt he built to face his fears.
This one actually gets things in gear, but does so at a cost of atmosphere. The scene where Guy is being buried alive being one example. The actor can’t pull off that desperate tone one would have in that situation, he sounds kinda bored honestly. Though the music is put to much better use and Guy killing everyone is worth watching. Should you remember my review of The Raven, Emily being a money hungry wench responsible for Guy’s torment shouldn’t come as a surprise. Not that she gets away with it here.
Highlights: The scenery is lovely and Ray Milland does an alright job. Him going crazy in the last act is worth a watch. Otherwise I’d skip this one.
Recommendations: I’d still watch this one, just don’t expect any glorious monolouges from the new guy.
Next week I have finals and graduation to deal with, so the next review and Price’s return will have to wait.