More info: IMDb
Tagline: Tops in Terror!
Plot: In 1840, distinguished surgeon Thomas Bolton is convinced there must be a way to undertake painless surgery. He is a caring man and even runs a free clinic for the poor and underprivileged. He is particularly concerned about patients who are operated on without the benefit of anesthetic. His experiments lead him to the discovery of nitrous oxide but his first attempt at a demonstration to his colleagues goes very very wrong. He is also experimenting on himself, which affects his health and his surgical abilities. When he is banned from the hospital, he turns to a tavern keeper for help in getting the chemicals he needs to continue his experiments. In return, he is forced to help them by providing false death certificates from which they make a pretty penny murdering people and selling the bodies to the hospital. The police are soon on to them.
My rating: 7/10
Will I watch it again? Nah.
Everything about the marketing of this picture smacks of horror but it's more of a crime drama focusing on Dr. Bolton's (Karloff) descent into drug addiction as a side effect in his quest for furthering science. But then you've got scrupulous characters like Black Ben (De Wolff) and Resurrection Joe (GREAT name) (Lee) that murder people to sell the cadavers to hospitals. The atmosphere is fantastic. The slum streets and tavern practically reek of filth. The performances all around are great with Karloff really showing what he's got. Very good flick. Seek it out. It's the kind of thing you'd want on your Burk & Hare double feature if you wanted something in that vein but different.