Edinburgh surgeon Dr. Robert Knox requires cadavers for his research into the functioning of the human body; local ne'er-do-wells Burke and Hare find ways to provide him with fresh ... See full summary »
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Edinburgh surgeon Dr. Robert Knox requires cadavers for his research into the functioning of the human body; local ne'er-do-wells Burke and Hare find ways to provide him with fresh specimens... Written by
Mark Doran <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film is an adaptation of the story of real-life killers William Burke and William Hare who, around 1827 in Edinburgh, Scotland, did provide more than a dozen "fresh" corpses to the anatomist Dr. Knox. See more »
This is sort of a variation of the Val Lewton film, THE BODY SNATCHER (1945) starring Boris Karloff with the original story written by Robert Louis Stevenson.
This version is quite good (although I still prefer the earlier film) with an effectively creepy atmosphere that has the look of a Hammer flick, even though Hammer Studios didn't participate in this one.
Peter Cushing plays a medical professor who employs grave robbers (Donald Pleasance and George Rose) in order to steal freshly buried corpses for his medical anatomy classes. The robbers get greedy for more money so they start killing people in order to supply more fresh corpses. At first it's done without the doctor's knowledge, but then when some evidence turns up casting doubt upon the whole affair, he turns a blind eye about it and doesn't seem to care.
We all know justice prevails in the end although I thought the last minute of the film where Cushing restores faith in his students, looked a little too down-pat to me. But only the lower classes suffer the consequences while the upper class gets off scot-free, right?
The Image DVD has both the censored UK version and the Continental version that contains scenes of barmaids with their tops slipping down exposing their breasts. You can also tell because the quality of these deleted scenes is grainer that the film as a whole. I guess they needed something racier for the continental audiences to watch, although Billie Whitelaw gets to keep her top on. Bummer.
The widescreen b/w print is in fair condition with some bad splices and flaking in some scenes, but it's a vast improvement over the old Sinister Cinema VHS tape that was floating around a few years back. Other extras include posters and stills.
6 out of 10
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