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(Review originally written at 17 January 2006)

What a nice surprise this movie was. Director John Gilling surely knows how to make a well build up thriller with a slow pace but never a dull moment.

The movie is extremely well written and has some at times incredibly good dialog. The fact that this movie is based on the true story of Burke and Hare-, two murderers who sold their victims to professor Knox, who uses them for his research, makes the movie even more interesting to watch.

This movie is not really an horror movie, I would prefer to describe it as a dark-thriller. The movie doesn't have any scares but it has some well build up tension and a great thriller-story. I think it is more because of the fact that Cushing and Pleasance are in this, that people consider this a horror movie. But please, when watching this movie, don't expect a movie with walking death people or Cushing in a role of a 'Frankenstein' like professor.

The movie is shot in atmospheric black & white. It was wonderful to see both Cushing and Pleasance in black & white for a change. My only complaint about the style is that it is a bit too dark at times, which makes the movie sometimes hard to follow.

Peter Cushing is most certainly good in his role as Dr. Robert Knox but it really is Donald Pleasence who uplifts the movie with his performance. This might very well be the best performance of him I have ever seen in a movie. He plays a slimy-tramp who is the lead-murderer of the movie. His character is portrayed so powerful and believable without ever going over-the-top.

It really is the way the movie is build up and the wonderful directing by John Gilling that makes this movie an absolutely great thriller that deserves to be better known.

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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