6.2/10
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23 user 29 critic

The Doctor and the Devils (1985)

Grave robbers supply a doctor with bodies to test on.

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(earlier screenplay),
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Jennie Bailey
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Dr. Murray
...
...
Elizabeth Rock
...
Dr. Thornton
...
Mrs. Flynn
...
O'Connor
...
Prof. Macklin
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Annabella Rock
...
Billy Bedlam (as Philip Davis)
...
Andrew Merry-Lees
Danny Schiller ...
Praying Howard
Bruce Green ...
Mole
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Storyline

In the Nineteenth Century, the renowned professor of anatomy Dr. Thomas Rock gives classes to neophyte medicine students in the local university. Dr. Rock uses his assistant Dr. Murray to buy corpses for his experiments from body snatchers paying a little fortune for the cadavers. When the alcoholic scum Robert Fallon and Timothy Broom overhear the conversation of grave-robbers about Dr. Rock, they decide to supply fresher corpses that worth more to the doctor, killing the poor inhabitants. Dr. Murray has unrequited feelings for the cockney whore Jennie Bailey that usually hangs around with the also prostitute Alice. When Dr. Murray discovers that Fallon has just sold the corpse of Alice, he seeks out the worthless Fallon and Broom to stop them from murdering Jennie. Will he arrive in time o save Jennie? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Horror | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

4 October 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Médico e os Monstros  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Burke and Hare Murders that this film are based on are based on fact and were a true story. The Burke and Hare (William Burke and William Hare) characters in this movie are known instead as Robert Fallon and Timothy Broom. The legendary Burke and Hare Murders are also known as the West Port Murders. The total number of deaths amounted to seventeen. See more »

Goofs

The song Jennie sings in the tavern ("Whisper and I Shall Hear") was not written until 1891, while the Burke and Hare murders on which the film is based took place in 1828. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Thomas Rock: I don't need any friends, I prefer enemies. They're better company and their feelings towards you are always genuine.
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Connections

Version of Mystery and Imagination: The Body Snatcher (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

TAINTED HANDS
Written and Performed by In Tua Nua
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User Reviews

 
Great title, great ambiance.
27 October 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This is a grim, oppressive, stylish take on the Burke and Hare story that has also inspired such films as Robert Wises' "The Body Snatcher". As has been pointed out, this production by Mel Brooks's company Brooksfilms is clearly inspired by Hammer films of the past - right down to the use of renowned cinematographer and sometime director Freddie Francis. The look of this film is incredible, with intense period recreation & depictions of squalor, and limited use of colour. The actors couldn't be better; the roles are well cast all the way down the line. It also poses the kind of moral questions that would naturally arise from such a story: just what should be permissible in the pursuit of knowledge and hopefully betterment of mankind? How far is too far; what should constitute the "moral" thing to do? Francis and his cast & crew do a solid, if not altogether memorable, job of putting it all together.

This is based on a 1940s screenplay by the great playwright Dylan Thomas, which was then revised by Ronald Harwood ("The Dresser", "The Pianist"). It stars a distinguished Timothy Dalton as Thomas Rock, a doctor / researcher / instructor frustrated with having to settle for the bodies of hanged men for study purposes. So he's supplied with bodies by grave robbers including despicable lowlifes Robert Fallon (Jonathan Pryce) and Timothy Broom (Stephen Rea), who recognize the profit to be made from such an activity. Now, when it becomes a matter of bodies needing to be as "fresh" as possible, Fallon and Broom turn out to be willing to turn to murder to achieve the right product.

The wonderful group of actors also features Julian Sands as Murray, Rocks' young associate who falls in love with world weary prostitute Jennie Bailey (Twiggy), Phyllis Logan as Rocks' wife, Sian Phillips as his sister, Beryl Reid as old Mrs. Flynn, and Patrick Stewart as Professor Macklin. They're all convincing in the kind of environment that Hammer always created so well. Pryce is a standout as the depraved Fallon of whom even Broom becomes wary, convinced that Fallon is enjoying the act of murder much too much. The tale ultimately turns rather conventional, but it's still a tale well told, and Rock is commendably played as a two- dimensional character, no true villain but a man with his own sense of right and wrong, and an attitude of "the ends always justify the means". Often the most intriguing characters are ones that occupy "grey areas", and Rock is just such a man.

Highly recommended to those who favour the Gothic horror of decades past.

Seven out of 10.


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