The Flesh and the Fiends

1960

Crime / Drama / Horror

5
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 1486

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
July 09, 2020 at 02:54 PM

Director

Cast

Peter Cushing as Dr. Robert Knox
Donald Pleasence as William Hare
Steven Berkoff as Medical Student
Billie Whitelaw as Mary Patterson
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
867.68 MB
1280*544
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 34 min
P/S 5 / 39
1.57 GB
1920*816
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 34 min
P/S 10 / 43

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Coventry 10 / 10

"We make no apologies to the dead....It is all true"

With this seemly arrogant but honest message showing on the screen, the film opens at a dark Edinburgh cemetery where two vicious figures lift a cadaver from its grave... "The Flesh and the Fiends" tells the true story of William Burke and William Hare, corpse-suppliers to the ambitious surgeon and university professor Dr. Robert Knox. From what I've read in factual biographies and works of reference (yes, I find this stuff so intriguing that I study it on the side), the screenplay is rather accurate and faithful when it comes to the basic re-telling of the murder cases. Burke and Hare's modus operandi as well as their negotiations with Dr. Knox really were this clumsy and unscrupulous while Knox damn well knew about the suspicious methods of the two, but he couldn't care less as long the study-objects he received were fresh and supplied regularly. I reckon that writer/director John Gilling then added some fictional elements to his film, like the characterizations of the main roles, since Hare's persona is almost blackly comical and Dr. Knox' attitude is stubborn and typically obnoxious like nearly every scientist in horror cinema. Still, the escalation of the tragedy is truthfully illustrated with Burke and Hare getting into the body-snatching business coincidentally at first, but quickly specializing in it because of the good cash money and eventually even converting to murder in order to deliver the most 'quality'.

"The Flesh and the Fiends" isn't just a great historical film, it also is a praiseworthy horror achievement with a uniquely grim atmosphere and very convincing acting performances. John Gilling terrifically revives a 19th century Edinburgh with its low-perspective inhabitants (drunks, beggars and thieves...) and ominous bars and alleys. The murders are very mean and cold-heartedly illustrated (the death of a young unintelligent boy, strangled amid squealing pigs is particularly unsettling) which probably makes this film the most disturbing of the entire 50's decade. Peter Cushing is excellent in the – for him – familiar role of brilliant doctor but it especially are Donald Pleasance (hypocrite and self-centered) and George Rose (a simple-minded killer) who impress as Hare and Burke. The supportive roles are somewhat stiff and they bring forward redundant sub plots, like the romantic interactions between Knox' daughter Martha and her doctor-lover Geoffrey. The typically Scottish accents are a joy to listen to and the eerie black and white photography emphases the already very chilling tone. This movie is still incomprehensibly underrated and unknown. Maybe because it's not a Hammer production or maybe because the substance was considered controversial for a long period of time. Fact remains that this old shocker is far better than most contemporary horror gems and everybody who has an interest in the obscure should urgently check it out!

Reviewed by darren shan 10 / 10

Juicy, macabre, intelligent gem

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 & Hare, no-goods who hit on the idea of providing their own, surprisingly fresh corpses ...

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.

Trivia: Although "Psycho" 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'd be grateful if anyone else could confirm this.

Reviewed by Witchfinder-General-666 10 / 10

Grim British Horror Masterpiece

"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

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