Burke And Hare

May 12th, 2011 by Coventry

Burke And Hare   burke and hare 80x120 thriller reviews reviews comedy Director: John Landis
Writer:
Piers Ashworth and Nick Moorcroft
Release year:
2010

Burke And Hare   BIFFF 2011 minilogo thriller reviews reviews comedy Killing and body snatching with a sardonic smile!

In Nineteenth Century Edinburgh, the medical society is making great improvements. But they’re also in desperate need for fresh cadavers to study on. Even grave robbers Burke and Hare find themselves at a shortage of bodies when the demand rises, and they decide to try other ways to get their hands on fresh, dead bodies.

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When I first heard of John Landis‘ new & upcoming movie about the notorious real-life Edinburgh serial killers Burke and Hare, it promptly became my number one anticipated movie. I think it’s one of the most fascinating criminal cases in history and the grueling facts already formed the inspiration for five other horror movies, varying from good to excellent, spread over four different decades. If you really liked ‘Burke And Hare’, try and dig a little harder and deeper for ‘The Body Snatcher’ (1945, starring Boris Karloff), ‘The Greed Of William Hart’ (1948, starring Tod Slaughter), ‘The Flesh And The Fiends’ (1960, starring Peter Cushing), Vernon Sewell‘s ‘Burke & Hare’ (1972) and ‘The Doctor And The Devils’ (1985, starring Timothy Dalton). They’re all terrific movies based on the same story and thus quite similar, but one thing they don’t share is a sense of humor.

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Admittedly I was a bit skeptical and even somewhat worried when I first read that director John Landis would turn his version into a black comedy. There exist a whole lot of adjectives to describe the crimes of William Burke and William Hare, but funny certainly isn’t one of them. With the fast moving evolution of medicine and anatomy at the University of Edinburgh early 1800′s, there was a shortage of fresh cadavers to use as study material. Eminent Doctors, like Robert Knox, were prepared to pay large sums of money for newly deceased bodies and didn’t even ask any questions about the whereabouts. Since grave robbing became more and more difficult, Burke and Hare developed a quicker and more efficient method to obtain corpses…

Burke And Hare   burke and hare simon 300x126 thriller reviews reviews comedy

It was a pure joy to see a good old-fashioned genuine John Landis film again! Even though he made a lot more straightforward comedies, Landis will always be most remembered for his sardonic horror comedy ‘An American Werewolf In London’ (1981). Also owing a great deal of the success to the fabulous dream cast, ‘Burke and Hare’ is one of the most highly recommended horror comedies of the past few years. I watched this movie at the 29th Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival and the crowd – a completely full theater – literally went ballistic on more than one occasion. John Landis was there to present his film and clearly enjoyed how the audience considers him a living legend.

Burke And Hare   burke and hare girl 300x126 thriller reviews reviews comedy

The actual crimes of Burke and Hare may have been horrendous, this new film largely puts the emphasis on black comedy. The duo’s occasional struggles to murder their innocent victims (especially at the beginning of their “career”), their mutual interactions as well as those with Hare’s wife, Burke’s patient efforts to impress an aspiring stage actress and the rivalry between the universities… It’s basically serious subject matter, but Landis and his cast make it joyfully entertaining. Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis are terrific in the leads, but the supportive roles and cameos are even more interesting, with names like Christopher Lee, Jenny Agutter and Tim Curry.


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