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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 <email@example.com>
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 »
Peter Cushing plays a lecturing doctor in 19th century Edinburgh who must buy fresh corpses to teach his students about the mysteries of anatomy. While the emphasis is on the doctor and the moral dilemmas he faces, Pleasance and Rose steal the show as Burke & Hare, no-goods who hit on the idea of providing their own, surprisingly fresh corpses ...
This is an unbelievably vivid horror tale, gruesome and perverse, years ahead of its time. It has some weaknesses, and a most peculiar ending, but Cushing and Pleasance give two of their best ever performances, Rose matches them, and a young Billie Whitelaw is memorable also. Despite being a film from the 50s, this is absolutely NOT for the squeamish! An overlooked minor masterpiece, every bit as important to its genre as PSYCHO or NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
Trivia: Although "Psycho" is widely credited with being the first film to feature the actual sound of a stabbing taking place, if memory serves me right, this one might have beaten it to the punch by a year ... I'd be grateful if anyone else could confirm this.
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