35 user 19 critic

The Flesh and the Fiends (1960)

In 1828 Scotland, Edinburgh surgeon Dr. Knox does medical research on cadavers he buys from murderers Burke and Hare, without questioning the unethical procurement methods.



(original story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

at Amazon


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An isolated remote island community is threatened by an attack by tentacled silicates which liquefy and digest bone and tissue.

Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Peter Cushing, Edward Judd, Carole Gray
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

England, 1795: the young Catherine has just married Charles Fengriffen and moves into his castle. She becomes the victim of an old curse that lays on the family. On her wedding night she is raped by a ghost and gets pregnant.

Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: Peter Cushing, Herbert Lom, Patrick Magee
Adventure | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A kindly English botanist and a gruff American scientist lead an expedition to the Himalayas in search of the legendary Yeti.

Director: Val Guest
Stars: Forrest Tucker, Peter Cushing, Maureen Connell
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A Victorian-age scientist returns to London with his paleontological bag-of-bones discovery from Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, when exposed to water, flesh returns to the bones ... See full summary »

Director: Freddie Francis
Stars: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Lorna Heilbron
I, Monster (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Christopher Lee stars in the Amicus production of "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" where the names have been changed to Dr. Marlowe and Mr. Blake. Lee as Dr. Marlowe experiments with intravenous ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Weeks
Stars: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Mike Raven
Adventure | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 18th-century England, the Royal Crown sends Royal Navy Captain Collier and his crew to investigate reports of illegal smuggling and bootlegging in a coastal town where locals believe in Marsh Phantoms.

Director: Peter Graham Scott
Stars: Peter Cushing, Yvonne Romain, Patrick Allen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Pirate wreckers ravage a small seaside community while the ineffectual local squire tries to discourage his son's romance with a smuggler's pretty daughter.

Director: John Gilling
Stars: Peter Cushing, John Fraser, Bernard Lee
The Skull (1965)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A collector comes into possession of the skull of the Marquis de Sade and learns it is possessed by an evil spirit.

Director: Freddie Francis
Stars: Peter Cushing, Patrick Wymark, Jill Bennett
Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Victor Frankenstein builds a creature and brings it to life, but it behaves not as he intended.

Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Peter Cushing, Hazel Court, Robert Urquhart
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Upon returning to his home village to continue his experimental research, the destitute Dr. Frankenstein revives his old creature, but a hypnotist wants the monster to control for himself.

Director: Freddie Francis
Stars: Peter Cushing, Peter Woodthorpe, Duncan Lamont
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Years after fleeing his ancestral home with his mother, Jason returns home to claim his birthright, only to find his way blocked by his evil cousin Thomas. In order to reclaim his title, ... See full summary »

Directors: Robert S. Baker, Monty Berman
Stars: Keith Michell, Adrienne Corri, Peter Cushing
Action | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

While lecturing in China, Van Helsing agrees to help seven kung fu trained siblings reclaim their ancestral mountain village, now the domain of seven powerful vampires and their army of undead slaves.

Directors: Roy Ward Baker, Cheh Chang
Stars: Peter Cushing, David Chiang, Julie Ege


Cast overview, first billed only:
... Dr. Robert Knox
... Martha Knox
... William Hare
George Rose ... William Burke
... Helen Burke
... Dr. Geoffrey Mitchell
... Mary Patterson
... Chris Jackson
... Daft Jamie
June Powell ... Maggie O'Hara
... Inspector McCulloch
Philip Leaver ... Dr. Elliott
... Dr. Ferguson
Garard Green ... Dr. Andrews
... Aggie


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 <za13@dial.pipex.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Coffins Looted! Cadavers Dissected!


Crime | Drama | Horror


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 November 1960 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Mania  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (uncut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


Dr. Geoffrey Mitchell: We are students of Hippocrates, but some of us are hypocrites.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Dyaliscope logo in the main titles misspells the widescreen process as "Dylascope". See more »


Version of Horror Maniacs (1948) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Grim British Horror Masterpiece
22 November 2008 | by See all my reviews

"The Flesh And The Fiends" of 1960 (other sources say 1959) is a grim, creepy, terrifying and often sad masterpiece of British Horror cinema, that no lover of the genre could possibly afford to miss. John Gilling's film is based on the true case of William Burke and William Hare who supplied the surgeon Dr. Robert Knox with fresh corpses in Edinburgh of the 1820s. The film has a very creepy, chilling Gothic atmosphere, and yet it accomplishes to seem frighteningly real. The story is incredibly macabre, and what makes it even more frightening is the fact that the morbid events in this film actually took place. In Edinburgh of the 1820s, the Medical University is supplied with too little corpses to properly instruct its students. Determined to provide the best possible conditions for research, the ambitious and brilliant Dr. Knox (Peter Cushing) engages corpse-snatchers to supply his University with fresh bodies. Two of the grave robbers, William Hare (Donald Pleasence) and William Burke (George Rose), however, have their very particular methods to bring in corpses that are especially fresh...

Aditionally to the terrifying and fascinating story and the gloomy atmosphere, "The Flesh And The Fiends" also profits from a brilliant cast. The great Peter Cushing, was doubtlessly one of the most remarkable and brilliant actors the World of Horror has ever seen (and ever will see), and he is once again excellent in the role of the dedicated scientist - a role that is familiar to Cushing, who is probably most famous for his portrayal of Baron Victor Frankenstein in the Hammer films. Dr. Knox is not a bad man as such, but his obsession for the good cause makes him forget most of his scruples. The arguably greatest performance in this film, however, comes from Donald Pleasence (another favorite actor of mine), who delivers an ingenious portrayal of evil as the unscrupulous Willaim Hare. Equally great is George Rose in the role of the more simple-minded part of the murderous duo, William Burke. The great black and white cinematography provides a gloomy general mood. The cinematographic style of the film is often compared to earlier Horror classics of the 1940s rather than to those of the late 50s and early 60s, and one can see why. The film's theme, however, and the uncompromising manner it is brought to screen, is unspeakably macabre for its time. The film provides terrifying Horror as well as tragic Drama and a very realistic insight in early 19th century society. I guess I am not standing alone when i declare Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasence two of my favorite actors. "The Flesh And The Fiends" is arguably the most brilliant film in either man's career, which is saying quite something regarding the variety of ingenious films Cushing ("Dracula", "The Curse Of Frankenstein", "Horror Express" etc.) and Pleasence ("Phenomena", "Prince Of Darkness") have been part of. Along with another Historical Horror masterpiece, Michael Reeves' "Witchfinder General" (starring Vincent Price), "The Flesh And The Fiends" is probably the most mature, serious and sophisticated British Horror film ever brought to screen, and an absolute priority for every Horror lover to see. 10/10

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 35 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed