Just Wrong


Yep. I shit you not.


Burke Strip Hare Club.

I kid you not, this is a real establishment in my home town. As regular readers know, I’m not skilled enough with PhotoShop to fake this.

On a related note, what is everybody’s favourite Burke and Hare movie? And should I buy BURKE AND HARE, the Vernon Sewell 1970s version, on DVD? I’ve heard conflicting reports on how good it is, or whether it’s any good at all.


23 Responses to “Just Wrong”

  1. Christopher Says:

    they should be BURKED for that!..altho Burke and Hare might have enjoyed something like that in their day…

  2. Well Burke and Hare are local legends after all their contributions to the advancements in medical science…and science fiction!!!

    I’ve never seen a film on the Burke and Hare gang. Though if you want to talk about allegories I suppose THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, Dr. Praetorious’ gang are transparent derivations. And of course Peter Cushing’s gang in THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN(or is it RETURN? It’s the second in the series).

  3. From Body Snatchers to Body Watchers…

    Like Arthur, I’m afraid I haven’t seen a film of them… But then even the Karloff version hasn’t even beed broadcasted on TV in my country (shame!)

  4. Christopher Says:

    Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde has something on them thats interesting..altho I think they’ve been moved up in time…
    and Lewton’s The Body Snatcher is an eternal favorite with its mention of Burke and Hare in the past tense..

  5. Everybody should definitely see the Wise-Lewton The Body Snatcher, which is based on Stevenson’s potboiler, loosely derived from the Burke & Hare case. Frankenstein’s men are not so much based on B&H as on the historical tradition of medical graverobbing in general. B&H found it was easier to make their own corpses by murdering their tenants, which saved them the trouble of digging up coffins…

    Burke & Hare: The Musical, with book & lyrics by myself, is available elsewhere on this site, via YouTube.

  6. Tony Williams Says:

    I have seen THE ANATOMIST (1961) years ago on UK TV with Alistair Sim as Dr. Knox with the great Michael Ripper and Diarmud Kelly playing the two notorious “resurrection men.” Sim’s friend and next-door neighbor pre-Arthur Daley George Cole also appeared in the production.

    You may also be interested in knowing the the Meng & Ecker coffee bar in Manchester formed the inspiration for Savoy Books banned comic series featuring Lord Horror’s similarly named “creep boys.”

  7. Flesh and the Fiends is the standout for me. Some really savage nasty scenes for a 1959 film and Gilling slips in several shots at the class divide. Pleasance and Rose are the stuff of nightmares, Donald kind of glistens with malovelence.
    I always wondered why the let Cushing’s Knox off so lightly at the end though. I wondered if Gilling was being subversive but then why not be more glib? Censorship too I guess

    Is Freddie Francis/Dylan Thomas Doctor and Devils redeemable? I’ve never heard a good word about it.

    Of course the ideal is Nicholas Ray’s 1965 DATD with James Mason-Cancelled weeks before shooting. But as Ray was in such a terrible state, they were shooting in Prague and apparently going way off script there’s no way of knowing if we missed out

  8. this ‘establishment’ is an an area commonly known as the ‘pubic triangle’ in our fair city.. .there is also a western themed lap dancing club near by. When I used to work a certain film festial not a million miles away we used really lovely serviced apartments along the road from Burke and Hare. They won Expedia’s best hotel of the year two years ago and the manager gave a lovely interview about the apartments and its location – mentioning how helpful the bars had been in toning down their signage after being asked at a local traders group.www.theknightresidence.co.uk

  9. Tony Williams Says:

    Didn’t the real Dr. Knox get away with it leaving Burke and Hare to pay the price? I think they appear as minor characters in DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE.

  10. As a great fan of Freddie Francis, I was sadly disappointed by THE DOCTOR AND THE DEVILS. That Dylan Thomas wasn’t much of a screenwriter. Though it is better than THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS (which I saw as MANIAC in the U.S.).

    THE BODY SNATCHER remains the best adaptation of the Doctor Knox/B&H story.

  11. I’ve read the Dylan Thomas script and it’s much better than the film suggests. But he can’t quite get around the historic anticlimax of Knox going unpunished. That’s why Cushing goes free in the Gilling, the movie is actually very faithful to the facts.

    “Burke by name, berk by nature,” goes the line in Sister Hyde.

  12. Back 1965 Nicholas Ray began pre-production on The Doctor and the Devils — with Barbara Steele in a leading role.

    But alas it all fell apart.

  13. haha pubic triangle.. i forgot about that ;)

  14. That is just priceless, really.

  15. It’s a question of evolution, really. The pub was an ordinary drinking establishment to begin with, situated near B&H’s old stamping grounds. It was sort of reasonable for it to be named after them. Then they got go-go dancers. No reason to change the name. But when they went all out into the realms of lapdancing, a rebranding might have been a good idea. It’s not a sexy name, is it? They should go all the way and have paintings of Pleasence and Rose grinning at us from the banner.

  16. david wingrove Says:

    THE DOCTOR AND THE DEVILS is undeniably wretched – but it does have one bright moment, involving Beryl Reid as a murder victim who comes back to life while the body-snatchers are cutting her apart. She wasn’t dead, you see, just passed out in a drunken stupor.

    It also has Twiggy and Julian Sands as the love interest – perhaps the most unlikely couple in bad movie history!

  17. It’s amazing how incompetent they are at setting it up. The whole thing plays in a couple of 19th century streets, and they’ve obviously said, “OK, 19th century = Victorian = cockneys!” so they draft in Twiggy and everybody is either posh English or mockney mummerset. I *think* maybe B&H are Irish, which is correct, but I’m not sure.

    Then at the end, Timothy Dalton (miscast — Jonathan Pryce should have had his part) goes for a walk in Holyrood Park, so suddenly the film is relocated to Edinburgh, just for the last shot. Mightn’t matter to foreign audiences, but weirdly dislocating to me.

    Have to blame Francis for this, Dylan Thomas was pretty clear about his setting…

  18. The bar calls to mind the strip scene in THE MONSTER CLUB, where the lady takes off not just her clothes, but her skin too. I can’t think of a place where such an act would be more appropriate!

    I have a lot of love for FLESH AND THE FIENDS, which not only has the pleasures of Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasance, but also nice turns from the great Billie Whitelaw and Melvyn Hayes as Daft Jamie, who never gets called James Wilson in any of his screen appearances, bless him. it’s a ravishingly handsome film, and feels more European than British, at least to this viewer.

    That said, the B&H film that I most want to see, and rather suspect that I’ll enjoy the most, is Tod Slaughter’s THE GREED OF WILLIAM HART which was film as a tale of the Edinburgh resurrectionists and then entirely dubbed over to remove all traces of their names. Oddly enough, that one was written by John Gilling!

  19. I have that one! Exceptionally cheap, and not quite top-notch Slaughter, by the looks of it (I only checked the first 20 mins) but probably entertaining enough. I should watch it and check for the dubbing.

    I was thinking you’d have seen the 70s version, but I guess not.

    There’s a very funny shot in F&F of Billie Whitelaw surrounded by topless floozies. She’s staring straight at the camera, and it looks as if they distracted her attention while the extras got them out, so that BW wouldn’t realise she was appearing in a skinflick.

  20. Tony Williams Says:

    The Flesh and the Fiends is also available on youtube.

  21. I’ve not seen the 70’s version, but I do have it. It’s in the teetering pile of things to be watched. I may shift it up to the top after this!

  22. Ah, maybe we can swap bodysnatchers?

  23. Christopher Says:

    public triangle?..is she anything like the Open V Ranch?

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