Wednesday, 10 June 2015

BURKE AND HARE *** UK 1971 94 mins

One of a handful of British horror movies about the exploits of the infamous Edinburgh bodysnatchers (here played by Derren Nesbitt and Glyn Edwards), this mutes the gruesomeness of the earlier, superior THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS and, despite a gritty look and feel, puts more emphasis on the hijinks at a local brothel. (One dramatic sequence involves a minor fire at the whorehouse caused by Yutte Stensgaard’s whip!). It is, notably, the only genre film to feature a chirpy theme song by The Scaffold (“Burke and Hare, Out to snatch your body from you…They’ll find yer, ‘e’s behind yer!”) and director Vernon Sewell has fun turning the unsavoury subject matter into a bawdy romp that just happens to feature multiple cadavers and disease-ridden streets. While the lower classes struggle to raise funds for acceptable drainage, doctors share stories about suppositories and little dicks over dinner. Best of all for horror fans of a certain persuasion, you get plenty of bare boobs for your money: three cheers for the marvellous chest of Francoise Pascal and the lovely Yutte getting ‘em out in a drunken threesome with Burke and Hare.

Review by Steven West


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