Premature Burial (1962)

81 mins | Horror | March 1962

Director:

Roger Corman

Producer:

Roger Corman

Cinematographer:

Floyd Crosby

Editor:

Ronald Sinclair

Production Designer:

Daniel Haller

Production Company:

Santa Clara Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The 16 Jun 1961 DV included the picture among several upcoming projects by filmmaker Roger Corman, known for his cinematic renderings of stories by Edgar Allan Poe. However, Woolner Brothers Pictures also had plans to make a film of the Poe story, scheduled to begin 1 Nov 1961, as reported in the 21 Sep 1961 IDV. Within days, the 29 Sep 1961 DV stated that the Woolners abandoned the project in deference to Corman, with the filmmaker promising to reimburse them “for their investment.” The brothers went on to film another of Poe’s works, Masque of the Red Death (1964, see entry). Principal photography began 30 Oct 1961 at Producers Studio in Hollywood, CA, according to the 3 Nov 1961 DV. The 22 Mar 1962 DV claimed that filming also took place in England.
       The 9 Jan 1962 DV announced that American International Pictures (AIP) acquired worldwide distribution rights, paying $500,000 for a half interest in the $450,000 production. Negotiations were stalled when the two parties reached an impasse over two-and-a-half percent of residuals from the film’s English release. The issue was settled with a coin toss, which Corman won, netting him an additional $50,000. On 21 Feb 1962, Var reported an exclusive British releasing pact between AIP and Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors, Ltd. Premature Burial was the first release under the agreement.
       One week later, the 28 Feb 1962 Var heralded the 8 Mar 1962 world premiere in Chicago, IL. Openings followed on 28 Mar 1962 in Los ... More Less

The 16 Jun 1961 DV included the picture among several upcoming projects by filmmaker Roger Corman, known for his cinematic renderings of stories by Edgar Allan Poe. However, Woolner Brothers Pictures also had plans to make a film of the Poe story, scheduled to begin 1 Nov 1961, as reported in the 21 Sep 1961 IDV. Within days, the 29 Sep 1961 DV stated that the Woolners abandoned the project in deference to Corman, with the filmmaker promising to reimburse them “for their investment.” The brothers went on to film another of Poe’s works, Masque of the Red Death (1964, see entry). Principal photography began 30 Oct 1961 at Producers Studio in Hollywood, CA, according to the 3 Nov 1961 DV. The 22 Mar 1962 DV claimed that filming also took place in England.
       The 9 Jan 1962 DV announced that American International Pictures (AIP) acquired worldwide distribution rights, paying $500,000 for a half interest in the $450,000 production. Negotiations were stalled when the two parties reached an impasse over two-and-a-half percent of residuals from the film’s English release. The issue was settled with a coin toss, which Corman won, netting him an additional $50,000. On 21 Feb 1962, Var reported an exclusive British releasing pact between AIP and Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors, Ltd. Premature Burial was the first release under the agreement.
       One week later, the 28 Feb 1962 Var heralded the 8 Mar 1962 world premiere in Chicago, IL. Openings followed on 28 Mar 1962 in Los Angeles, CA, where a horse-drawn hearse bore a sign, which read, “Drive Safely—Live To See ‘The Premature Burial.’” The picture debuted 23 May 1962 in New York City on a double bill with the Woolner Brothers release, Flight of the Lost Balloon (1961, see entry).
Reviews were lukewarm, several of which commented that Corman’s approach to Poe had become predictable. Regardless, the picture earned approximately $1.25 million in its first three months, according to the 28 Jun 1962 DV. On 3 Oct 1963, DV reported that Premature Burial would be re-released in Nov 1964 with Tales of Terror (1962, see entry).
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
16 Jun 1961
p. 3.
Daily Variety
21 Sep 1961
p. 3.
Daily Variety
29 Sep 1961
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Oct 1961
p. 4.
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1961
p. 4.
Daily Variety
3 Nov 1961
p. 9.
Daily Variety
24 Nov 1961
p. 3.
Daily Variety
9 Jan 1962
p. 1.
Daily Variety
12 Mar 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
13 Mar 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
22 Mar 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
28 Jun 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
3 Oct 1963
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
22 Mar 1962
Section C, p. 22.
Los Angeles Times
30 May 1962
Section C, p. 15.
New York Times
23 May 1962
p. 38.
New York Times
24 May 1962
p. 29.
Variety
21 Feb 1962
p. 7.
Variety
28 Feb 1962
p. 69.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Roger Corman Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Lighting
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Asst to the prod
Film asst
Scr supv
Paintings
Key grip
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Premature Burial" by Edgar Allan Poe in Dollar Newspaper (31 Jul 1844).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Premature
Release Date:
March 1962
Premiere Information:
Chicago premiere: 8 March 1962
Los Angeles opening: 28 March 1962
New York opening: 23 May 1962
Production Date:
began 30 October 1961
Copyright Claimant:
Santa Clara Productions
Copyright Date:
11 March 1962
Copyright Number:
LP22342
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman Color by Pathé
Widescreen/ratio
Duration(in mins):
81
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Guy Carrell, a medical researcher in 19th-century London, fears that his father's catalepsy is hereditary, and that he, too, will be buried alive during a seizure. He postpones marriage to Emily Gault, daughter of his physician and professor, Dr. Gideon Gault, and withdraws with his sister Kate to their country home on the moors, where he paints portraits of death. Emily visits him and persuades him to go through with the marriage, but following the ceremony, Guy builds a tomb containing every possible escape device to counteract his visions of grave robbers and nightmares of live burial. Guy's friend Miles Archer explains to Emily that catalepsy is not hereditary, but that given Guy's susceptible condition, any morbid reminder might precipitate a seizure; she then insists the tomb be destroyed, and Guy complies. Miles suggests that Guy open the family crypt and see for himself that his father was not buried alive. When the coffin is opened and a contorted skeleton is found, Guy collapses and falls lifeless to the ground, whereupon Miles and Dr. Gault pronounce him dead. Two grave robbers try to steal the body directly after the interment, but when they lift the lid from the casket, Guy leaps out and kills them. After murdering the doctor, Guy goes to Emily's room, drags her from her bed, carries her to the cemetery, and buries her alive. He is then confronted by Miles, who has discovered Gault's body and learned of Emily's disappearance. As the two men struggle, a shot rings out and Guy falls to the ground, killed by Kate, who was aware all along that Emily was using her knowledge of Guy's fears in a scheme ... +


Guy Carrell, a medical researcher in 19th-century London, fears that his father's catalepsy is hereditary, and that he, too, will be buried alive during a seizure. He postpones marriage to Emily Gault, daughter of his physician and professor, Dr. Gideon Gault, and withdraws with his sister Kate to their country home on the moors, where he paints portraits of death. Emily visits him and persuades him to go through with the marriage, but following the ceremony, Guy builds a tomb containing every possible escape device to counteract his visions of grave robbers and nightmares of live burial. Guy's friend Miles Archer explains to Emily that catalepsy is not hereditary, but that given Guy's susceptible condition, any morbid reminder might precipitate a seizure; she then insists the tomb be destroyed, and Guy complies. Miles suggests that Guy open the family crypt and see for himself that his father was not buried alive. When the coffin is opened and a contorted skeleton is found, Guy collapses and falls lifeless to the ground, whereupon Miles and Dr. Gault pronounce him dead. Two grave robbers try to steal the body directly after the interment, but when they lift the lid from the casket, Guy leaps out and kills them. After murdering the doctor, Guy goes to Emily's room, drags her from her bed, carries her to the cemetery, and buries her alive. He is then confronted by Miles, who has discovered Gault's body and learned of Emily's disappearance. As the two men struggle, a shot rings out and Guy falls to the ground, killed by Kate, who was aware all along that Emily was using her knowledge of Guy's fears in a scheme to inherit his fortune. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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