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  • Horrors Of The Black Museum [DVD]
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Horrors Of The Black Museum [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Gough, June Cunningham, Graham Curnow, Shirley Anne Field, Geoffrey Keen
  • Directors: Arthur Crabtree
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • DVD Release Date: 19 July 2004
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001Z653K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,291 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


A crime writer uses a hypnotised assistant to carry out a series of intricately plotted and gruesome killings. He then writes stories which benefit from the field-tested plots. Michael Gough stars.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 9 July 2012
Format: DVD
Originally a very notorious X certificate, now reduced to a puny 15, Horrors of the Black Museum is a wildly enjoyable rare colour and CinemaScope production for Herman Cohen, the American producer of I Was a Teenage Werewolf and the English Poverty Row studio Merton Park, whose budgets were so low they couldn't even afford Sid James or Richard Wattis.

Michael Gough stars as a conceited crime reporter with a chamber of horrors in his basement and bats in his belfry who hypnotises his juvenile assistant into carrying out a series of gruesome murders so he can write about them. You can fill in the gaps yourself. The only things that retain their dignity 47 years on are Geoffrey Keen's performance and Gerard Schurrman's exceptionally strong score. The latter actually led to the film being recut; the censors originally passed the notorious binocular murder that opens the film without music but insisted on trimming it after hearing his scoring for the scene!

Like the same team's Konga, there is some truly astonishing dialogue. "Don't forget by bringing her down here you've placed both of us in jeopardy!" rants Gough of Shirley Ann Field, who gives a performance you will never forget no matter how hard you try. "The first time she wants to feel her strength, the first time you quarrel she can start a toboggan that will crush us!"

Other unintentional comic highlights abound, with blowsy June Cunningham's solo dance number in a London pub to Rockola accompaniment pipped to the post by 'poor demented barmy' Howard Greene's confession scene: "You used a guillotine?" "Well, I felt like it. Saw a picture of one in a history book. It inspired me to build one. I'm clever with my hands! Do you know what I'll use next? A death ray!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Griffiths on 11 Jun. 2014
Format: DVD
I enjoy a lurid British thriller when I can find one, but sadly "Horrors of the Black Museum" is not an effective example of one. I was hoping for something similar to "Circus of Horrors" which is from a very similar period, but that film is altogether more grisly and entertaining than this one.

The plot sees a string or murders in London, all employing elaborate killing techniques. A famous author of true-life crime (Michael Gough) seems particularly interested in the murders, and although he regularly helps the he actually the killer? The best murder in the story (from a pair of deadly binoculars) appears in the first 5 minutes, which actually does the film a disservice as it's not equalled or bettered by anything else that happens. The rest of the plot does see more murders, but in typical British fashion, they all take place off screen, or just tastefully masked out of shot, which makes things pretty dull for a supposed "horror movie". Now, things can still be rescued by a gripping plot, but there's not much of that either.

The real nail in the coffin is the appalling acting. Michael Gough is ok, but Graham Curnow is terrible as his assistant, and Shirley Ann Field is wooden beyond belief. Theres an abundance of very grating Cockney dialogue, along the lines of "Oh, ta very much, dearie" from the women and "Cor Blimey!" from the men, and things wind up with a really rubbish climax set in a funfair. If the movie had exploited it's "tools of death" angle more salaciously, then "Horrors of the Black Museum" would have earned a nice place in horror history, but the reluctance to show anything even mildly nasty is a real mistake. Only the opening binoculars death has any shock value, and as mentioned before, it's followed buy a full 90 minutes of running time when nothing else good happens. I'm disappointed when I have to be negative but this film really isn't very good.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A gaudy Eastmancolor killer-thriller from the early days of the British horror boom, Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) was the last film from director Arthur Crabtree and the first in what later became known as the Anglo-Amalgamated `Sadian Trilogy'; it was seen as a particularly nasty and pernicious little movie when it was first released, though when viewed today the most striking thing about it is just how tedious it is.
Veteran supporting player Michael Gough, who had just contributed a less-than-stellar turn as Arthur Holmwood to Hammer's first Dracula movie, is here top-billed in the role of a crackpot crime writer responsible for a series of horrendous murders. In contrast to his anonymous playing in the Hammer film, here Gough goes wildly over the top as a hot-tempered nutcase with grey-streaked hair whose personality and modus operandi are basically an assembly of moustache-twirling movie villain clichés; he possessively keeps a sexy blonde mistress cooped up in a flat, he gloats to the police, and he has a cellar full of potential murder weapons and torture devices (the `Black Museum' of the title) as well as huge, indeterminate electrical machines and a handy acid vat (!), not to mention a dopey stooge (Graham Curnow in a terrible performance) that he injects with a Dr. Jekyll-style chemical so he can carry out all the dirty work. Bumping off various accomplices who are starting to cotton on to what he's up to, Gough's crazy hack really comes a cropper when his assistant invites his own red-headed bimbo of a girlfriend (the indescribably bad Shirley Anne Field) home to see their collection of killing tools.
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