Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM


HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM (1959). Director: Arthur Crabtree.

London is horrified by a series of gruesome murders of young women, while misogynous crime reporter Edmond Bancroft (Michael Gough) both interviews and taunts the police for their inability to solve the murders. Bancroft and his young assistant, Rick (Graham Curnow), maintain their own chamber of horrors that rivals Scotland Yard's "black museum" with its exhibits. This gleefully gruesome and very entertaining shocker features binoculars that have needles in them, and a guillotine placed over the head of a buxom beauty in bed. This was one of three lurid British horror films Gough starred in in the sixties -- the others were Konga and Black Zoo -- and he's just as wild and intense and florid as ever. It may or may not be "great" acting, but it's certainly vivid -- it's as if Gough were daring you to take your eyes off of him! There are other good performances in the film, including vital June Cunningham as the buxom, beheaded Joan, and Shirley Ann Field as Rick's girlfriend, Angela. Graham Curnow certainly scores as the conflicted Rick, and Beatrice Varley is terrific as the blackmailing shop owner, Aggie. Crabtree also directed the zesty monster flick Fiend Without a Face.

Verdict: Highly enjoyable shocker served up with relish. ***

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