Caleb is perplexed by the discovery of a tombstone bearing his name he dreams of digging up the grave, only to have his own undead self leap out at him. A good old Southern Gothic murder mystery forms the dark heart of the episode. Married men with rumored connections to Selena keep ending up dead, their corpses though only days old curiously stripped of skin and flesh. When the investigating Lt. But Buck is not responsible for the presence of the criminal quartet, who have chosen the wrong Southern town to stir up trouble in.
An exploding gas tank soon decides the matter for the hoodlums. Prior to meeting this grisly fate, the brothers had also run afoul of Caleb. The dashing Dr. Naturally, the supernatural sheriff of Trinity, Lucas Buck, is the driving force behind the recent accident—part of a fiendish plot to send the doctor on a terrible guilt trip. Meanwhile, young Caleb fixates on his creepy neighbor Mr. To the impressionable Caleb just returned from watching a horror movie , Mr.
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Emmett seems to be burying a dead body in his pumpkin patch. Caleb ultimately is proven right, but Mr.
Emmett is not the nefarious figure he seems, as the episode emphasizes the gap between appearance and reality. Caleb moves down a long corridor lined with cells arms stretch ghoulishly through the bars. This figure flashes a razor blade that is then passed to the prisoner, who promptly uses it to make a bloody incision in his own belly.
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Such events no doubt are the stuff of nightmare, but the setting here is what proves most striking to me: the Dark Tunnel has long been a topos of Gothic literature cf. The plot of the episode centers on a hostage crisis that lands Caleb, his cousin Gail, Lucas, and Dr. Matt in hospital room with a gun-wielding escapee from the psych ward of a nearby military base.
The horrors of warfare seem to have left Artie mentally unbalanced, but in true Gothic fashion, the man is also haunted by an incident from his distant past. While on a hunting trip as a child, he accidentally shot and killed his father.
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On the most obvious level, the hidden beast here is the makeshift bomb that the munitions expert Artie has sewn inside his stomach. He presumes he has been buried alive, and all his precautions were to no avail. He cries out and is immediately hushed; he quickly realizes that he is in the berth of a small boat, not a grave.
The event shocks him out of his obsession with death.
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Fear of burial alive was deeply rooted in Western culture in the nineteenth century,  and Poe was taking advantage of the public's fascination with it. Folklorist Paul Barber has argued that the incidence of burial alive has been overestimated, and that the normal effects of decomposition are mistaken for signs of life.
The narrator in "The Premature Burial" is living a hollow life. He has avoided reality through his catalepsy but also through his fantasies, visions, and obsession with death.
He does, however, reform—but only after his greatest fear has been realized. A novelization of the film was written by Max Hallan Danne in , adapted from Charles Beaumont and Ray Russell 's screenplay and published by Lancer Books in paperback.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Short story by Edgar Allan Poe. For burial while alive, see Premature burial. For the film, see The Premature Burial film. Cooper Square Press, Poe, Death, and the Life of Writing. Yale University Press , 58— Vampires, Burial and Death: Folklore and Reality.
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Yale University Press, The Premature Burial. Edgar Allan Poe. Politian