Saturday, May 21, 2011

THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS - Stanley Black - "It's All About Money, Willie" (1960)

Well, according to some, the world is going to end today, so I guess I really should be doing something else, but just in case it doesn't, we've got another chance to contemplate the dark past, and this movie, "The Flesh And The Fiends" is a real good place to start, and I just found out this very second that you can watch in for free right HERE!!! What a deal! If you want to see an uninterrupted better copy, it's available on Netflix!

Nice double feature, a Dungeon dream come true, and you must agree, "The Fiendish Ghouls" is a much better sounding title! Another alternate title was "Mania." Child prodigy and bandleader Stanley Black was the man responsible for the music, just as he was for "The Monkey's Paw," "Blood Of The Vampire," "The Crawling Eye," and the musical Cliff Richards' films "Wonderful To Be Young," and "Swinger's Paradise!" Stanley also composed the music for a film in 1963 called "Maniac." I think the title "Mania Maniacs" has yet to be exploited!

This is indeed a true story that happened around 1827 in Edinburgh, Scotland, about two murderous bastards named William Burke and William Hare!!

In 1827 doctors were in need of cadavers in order to further scientific breakthroughs, and their efforts to make life better for all of us! Just like today, the word legal was open to interpretation! As he has done over and over again, Peter Cushing has the lead role, this time as a certain Dr. Knox, who runs a medical school of hard knocks!

Cut to the local pub, and center of excitement in this burg, "The Merry Duke!" In the 1800's, life was a freakin' party, and these people were getting down each and every night!

The two Bills contemplate why everybody's having more fun than them, when they hear two grave robbers explain how they sell bodies to the local Dr. Knox for some decent change. The funky lookin' cat on the left is George Rose as William Burke, and on the right is the amazing Donald Pleasence as William Hare. What a pair of dogs!

Welcome to the weekly meeting of the "Pull My Finger Society!" Everybody gets a tug!!

John Cairney is Chris Jackson, the failing medical student at Dr. Knox's facility who has fallen in love with the bar maiden wench Mary Patterson, who was portrayed by the splendid Billie Whitelaw! Billie has 113 credits to her name including "The Omen" and Alfred Hitchcock's "Frenzy!" John was in "Spaceflight IC-1: An Adventure in Space" and "Jason And The Argonauts" among other things!

The two Williams put the grave diggers out of business by snatching up bodies before they get buried. They're much fresher and command a much better price!!

Consummate professionals Pleasence and Rose work together seamlessly, and while it looks a bit comedic, this is a very serious flick!

This old dude doesn't look like he died as much as it looks like he was killed, and it starts raising eyebrows! Supposedly he died of natural causes, but he's covered with bruises like he was beat to death!

Meanwhile, back at "The Merry Duke," it's girls gone wild, 1827 style!

Chris goes out looking for Mary, and this is how he finds her! She won't change, she loves him, but she can't be tied down to one man, and he really needs to be studying anatomy and can't devote all his time to her like she needs!

So a very drunken Mary ends up with the likes of Hare and Burke!

The lovemaking doesn't progress very far until the Bill's true desires are revealed. For them it's a completely different kind of business proposition!

When Mary's corpse shows up at the school, Chris completely loses it....

.....and when he tries to take matters into his own hands, he too becomes a victim, but now the two Bills have a problem! They can't sell an obviously murdered student's body back to the school, so they have to find another way to dispose of it!

The next victim is Daft Jamie, the local harmless weirdo played by Melvyn Hayes. Melvyn's career runs the gamut from "Quatermass II" in 1955 all the way to today, where he is Blinky in the 2011 TV series "The Legend OF Dick And Dom."

The people have had enough, and finally take matters into their own hands to stop this killing spree!

William Hare as the brains of the outfit does just what one would expect, the dirty bastard rats out his best friend and business partner William Burke, and convinces the court to set himself free!

Burke on the other hand gets the death sentence which is immediately enforced! They didn't waste time back in 1827! The gavel comes down and the noose goes on!

Even though Hare escapes the judicial system, the people know what kind of a backstabbin' murderin' rat he really is, and take it into their own hands to burn his eyes out! The end sets up a real ethical quagmire, as Dr. Knox also has to admit that he knew some of the cadavers had been murder victims, but God Damn It, in the name of science, it was worth it!

The book that was based on the film, that was based on the true story!!! Seems a little basackwards, doesn't it?

Have a nice eternity!


Prof. Grewbeard said...

one always enjoys the presence of Pleasence!

Christopher said...

Pleasence is superb in this and this may contain my all time favorite Peter Cushing performance as well.

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

It really IS a great little movie!!

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