Cats in Film–The Tomb of Ligeia (1965, Vincent Price)

Early films sometimes based on 19th century novels, featured vicious felines that were latent killers.  The 1965 film The Tomb of Ligeia, based on one of Poe’s short stories, revolves around the main character, Ligeia’s, desire to be immortal.  At the beginning of the film, a black cat jumps on Ligeia’s coffin and Ligeia opens her eyes, a foreshadowing of her soul going into the cat. Shortly thereafter, the cat leaps to Ligeia’s gravestone and looks down.

The Tomb of Ligeia

Verden, Ligeia’s husband, later falls in love with Lady Rowena. Ligeia, in the cat body, is jealous of Lady Rowena, and tries to frighten and even kill her. Meanwhile, references to ancient Egypt abound, as a pharaoh’s head and statues of Bast appear as background props.  In the end, the black cat, the vessel for Ligiea’s soul, and Ligiea herself are both consumed by fire.  The theme of cats as mysteriously evil beings bound to women prevails.


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