The Premature Burial (film)

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The Premature Burial
Directed by Roger Corman
Produced by Roger Corman
Samuel Z. Arkoff
Gene Corman (Exec Prod)
Written by Short story:
Edgar Allan Poe
Charles Beaumont
Ray Russell
Based on The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe
Starring Ray Milland
Hazel Court
Alan Napier
Heather Angel
Richard Ney
Music by Ronald Stein
Les Baxter
Cinematography Floyd Crosby
Edited by Ronald Sinclair
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release dates
  • March 7, 1962 (1962-03-07)
Running time
81 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1 million[1]
172,329 admissions (France)[2]

The Premature Burial (1962) is an American International Pictures horror film, directed by Roger Corman, starring Ray Milland, also with Hazel Court, Alan Napier, Heather Angel and Richard Ney, screenplay by Charles Beaumont and Ray Russell, based upon the 1844 short story of the same name by Edgar Allan Poe. It was the third in the series of eight Poe-themed pictures, known informally as the "Poe Cycle", directed by Corman for American International.


Set in the early dark Victorian-era 1830s or 1840s (also similar to Charles Dickens' fiction of rain-soaked London streets), it follows Guy Carrell, who is obsessed with the fear of death. He is most obsessed with the fear of being buried alive. Though his fiancee Emily says he has nothing to be afraid of, he still thinks he will be buried alive (a common fear and in reality an occasional occurrence). So deluded, he seeks help from a few people, including his sister, but he still is haunted by the fear of death and the sense that someone close wants him dead.



Roger Corman had made two successful adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe's (1809-1849) works for American International Pictures (AIP) starring the famous and preeminent horror and suspense star of the 1950s and 60s, Vincent Price.

He decided to make his own Poe film with financing through Pathe Lab. He wanted to use Price, but AIP had him under exclusive contract, so he cast instead Ray Milland. On the first day of shooting James Nicholson and Sam Arkoff of AIP turned up, announcing Corman was working for them - they had threatened Pathe with the loss of their business if they did not bring the movie back to AIP.[1]

Francis Ford Coppola worked on the movie as dialogue director.[3]


Cavett Binion in "Allmovie" notes, "Milland's performance conveys the requisite amount of hand-wringing torment (in the mode of "The Lost Weekend" movie), even if he fails to capture the manic intensity that Price brought to the other Poe films that he played or starred in. Corman's deft direction, employing a rich palette of colors and superb widescreen compositions, is on a par with the series' finest installments."[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film won a 1962 "Golden Laurel" - "Sleeper of the Year" Award.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Roger Corman & Jim Jerome, "How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never lost a Dime", Muller, 1990, page 83-84
  2. ^ Box office information for Roger Corman films in France at Box Office Story
  3. ^ Coppola Breaks the Age Barrier Madsen, Axel. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 02 Jan 1966: m6.
  4. ^ "The New York Times" Overview. Retrieved 26 September 2008.

External links[edit]