Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Flesh and the Fiends (1960)

Director: John Gilling

Starring: Peter Cushing, Donald Pleasence, June Laverick, George Rose, Renee Houston, Dermot Walsh, Billie Whitelaw, John Cairney

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Coffins Looted! Cadavers Dissected!

Plot: 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...

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yup.

Of the many filmed versions of the real life Burk & Hare grave robbing team, this is probably my favorite for so many reasons. The exquisite black & white photography, another outstanding performance by Peter Cushing (I love what they did with keeping his left eyelid down), a creepy early performance by Donald Pleasance and nudity in black & white.

I know, right? How awesome is that? I about flipped. After all, this is 1960! It turns out that the cut for UK audiences went sans nudity but it was added for the European cut, 'cause you know how they like it over there. Well, we like it over here, too, but the prudes get in the way.

One of the things I love about Peter Cushing is his ability to deliciously deliver insults.

It's British so you know the acting's going to be top notch. The pacing is great and John Gilling's script and direction is excellent. Though the ending is a little off from the actual events, it's satisfying. I highly recommend this one and for fans of Cushing, this is a must-own. A blind purchase would not be out of order. You can pick it up for around ten bucks and it includes both the UK cut and the Continental cut, the latter being the one you will want to watch. I mean, c'mon, it's got several minutes of added gore and sexy!

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