A newlywed husband begins living in a state of paralyzing fear after uncovering the tomb of a man who was buried alive. His wife and family friend force him to confront his obsession with his own death, which causes him to fall into a death-like state that ultimately leads to his own premature burial. Roger Corman attempts to fill this lifeless Edgar Allen Poe adaptation with fog-laced environments and roving cameras, but the above average production is hardly able to mask the tedious plotting and passable performances. The attempt that is made to recover the pacing following Guy's "return" from the dead proves to be too little too late to win back the audience. Ray Milland brings very little with his performance, appearing stiff and unsympathetic as the film's paranoid lead. PREMATURE BURIAL does include a colorful nightmare sequence similar to the one that had been used months earlier in PIT AND THE PENDULUM, where he finds himself trapped in his own tomb with nothing save for the sound of his own heartbeat. This may fall in the lower end of the spectrum for Corman's Poe cycle, but it still provides enough atmosphere and suspense to appeal to most Gothic Horror fans.
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If you liked PREMATURE BURIAL, check out:
PIT AND THE PENDULUM, THE BLACK CAT, THE BODY SNATCHER.