Synopsis by Cavett Binion
Roger Corman's success with low-budget adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe tales continued with this third installment, the first to lack the commanding presence of Vincent Price. Instead, we have Ray Milland as tormented protagonist Guy Carrell, who is so traumatized by the death of his father -- whom he believes was entombed alive after suffering a cataleptic attack -- that he becomes convinced that he will meet a similar demise. Guy's mounting dementia rapidly undermines his recent marriage to the lovely Emily (Hazel Court), particularly after he begins the construction of a specially designed crypt rigged with numerous escape devices. Encouraged by Emily to face his fears, Guy decides to view his father's remains, to prove once and for all whether he died peacefully. When the crypt is opened, however, what he finds there is so horrifying that he succumbs to a cataleptic episode himself, which doctors misdiagnose as a fatal heart attack... and Guy's worst fear soon becomes a reality. Milland's performance conveys the requisite amount of hand-wringing torment (in the mode of The Lost Weekend), even if he fails to capture the manic intensity that Price brought to the other Poe films. Corman's deft direction, employing a rich palette of colors and superb widescreen compositions, is on a par with the series' finest installments.
fear, medical-student, premature-burial, buried-alive, father, vault [burial chamber], obsession, paranoia, tomb, betrayal