CAT OF THE DAY 079: THE TOMB OF LIGEIA (1964)
A Major Cat Movie. Legendary producer-director Roger Corman shot on eerie Norfolk locations for this supernatural chiller, and the result is one of the most impressive in the series of classy Edgar Allan Poe adaptations he turned out during the 1960s. Vincent Price, in hugely symbolic dark glasses, plays Verden Fell, the wealthy widower haunted by the spirit of his late wife, who might as well have had the words “I’ll be back” etched on her tombstone.
Unless, of course, you’re already familiar with the Poe story, in which case, go ahead…
BIG SPOILERS! Ligeia‘s spirit has apparently passed into a black cat which hangs around her grave. It engineers a meeting between Fell and the Lady Rowena, Ligeia’s successor, by frightening Rowena’s horse when she is out hunting. Throughout the film, the cat indulges in all manner of sinister feline behaviour, lurking, and jumping out, and in one scene luring Rowena to the top of the belltower by making off with Fell’s trademark dark glasses in its mouth.
Black cats are considered harbingers of good or bad luck in many cultures, but in horror films they are invariably bad news, as we have already seen in CAT OF THE DAY 071, CAT OF THE DAY 041 and CAT OF THE DAY 018. Black cats through the ages have been on the receiving end of much superstition and prejudice, often thought to be witches’ familiars or of demonic provenance, and I have heard stories (unsubstantiated) that it’s difficult nowadays to find a cat that is 100% black, as so many of these were burnt in the Middle Ages.
It’s really no wonder some of them might want to get their own back.
- Italian cat brings gifts to his late master’s tomb (rawstory.com)
- Roger Corman Remaking 8 Of His Edgar Allan Poe Movies (theartsyfilmblog.com)
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