The Flesh and the Fiends

1960

Crime / Drama

0
IMDb Rating 7.0

Synopsis


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1.80G
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English
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97 min
P/S 0 / 0
1.14G
Normal
English
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97 min
P/S 0 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by darren shan 7

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 &amp; Hare, no-goods who hit on the idea of providing their own, surprisingly fresh corpses ...<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>Trivia: Although &quot;Psycho&quot; 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&#39;d be grateful if anyone else could confirm this.

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Reviewed by Witchfinder-General-666 7

&quot;The Flesh And The Fiends&quot; 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&#39;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...<br/><br/>Aditionally to the terrifying and fascinating story and the gloomy atmosphere, &quot;The Flesh And The Fiends&quot; 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&#39;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. &quot;The Flesh And The Fiends&quot; is arguably the most brilliant film in either man&#39;s career, which is saying quite something regarding the variety of ingenious films Cushing (&quot;Dracula&quot;, &quot;The Curse Of Frankenstein&quot;, &quot;Horror Express&quot; etc.) and Pleasence (&quot;Phenomena&quot;, &quot;Prince Of Darkness&quot;) have been part of. Along with another Historical Horror masterpiece, Michael Reeves&#39; &quot;Witchfinder General&quot; (starring Vincent Price), &quot;The Flesh And The Fiends&quot; 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

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Reviewed by Jason-38 8

THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS followed in the wake of the success of Hammer Films&#39; early successes. Although not actually a Hammer Film Production, it shares many stylistic points with Hammer. However, the script is a largely accurate version of the history of the body snatchers, Burke and Hare, and their main customer, Dr. Robert Knox.<br/><br/>Although there are memorable performances in this film, it is Peter Cushing&#39;s work as Dr. Knox that ultimately stands out. During the 1820&#39;s in Edinburgh, Scotland, Dr. Knox illegally bought cadavers from Burke and Hare. In spite of every reason to be suspicious of Burke and Hare, Dr. Know persisted in obtaining cadavers from them for medical lectures. To Dr. Knox, the training of competent doctors took precedent over ethical considerations.<br/><br/>In a remarkable scene in the denouement, a little girl in the street begs alms from Dr. Knox. Cushing tells her that he doesn&#39;t have any money with him, but if she will step over to his house he will give her some. The little girl politely declines the offer, saying, &quot;Oh, no, you might be Dr. Knox.&quot; Cushing&#39;s unspoken response is truly unforgettable. It makes you realize that Peter Cushing was really a fine actor. What a pity his talent was too often wasted in pictures that were beneath him.

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