Horrors of the Black Museum (DVD, Region B)

$7.99 Regular price $12.99
Type: New DVD

It’s possible that this 1959 widescreen chiller rates as the nastiest, most mean-spirited horror movie made in the UK before the 1970s… and yet it’s a gonzo classic. Michael Gough, chewing scenery in a manner calculated to make Vincent Price seem like Alec Guinness, is a crippled, sadistic crime writer who uses murder methods borrowed from Scotland Yard’s famous museum of diabolical weaponry to get rid of folks he disapproves of (mostly women who have humiliated him).

In the opening sequence, which is based on a true story, a woman receives the anonymous gift of a pair of binoculars which extrude eye-gouging spikes when she tries to use them… later, another bottle blonde stretches out on her bed and looks up to see a home-made guillotine plunging down at her A sub-plot turns on the villain’s access to a leftover flask of Dr Jekyll’s transformative potion which he uses to turn his devoted assistant into a rampaging, hairy monster. The storyline is silly and the performances sometimes comically ghastly (Shirley Anne Field and June Cunningham are at once dreadful and perfect as bad and good girls who meet equally horrid fates) but the sadistic killings still pack a punch.

Kim Newman


Michael Gough gives a gloriously overwrought performance in this notorious 1959 horror feature. A box-office triumph, it was shot at Merton Park Studios in the relatively new CinemaScope format and presented with the additional gimmick of ‘HypnoVista’. Horrors of the Black Museum was the first in what has been dubbed Anglo-Amalgamated’s ‘Sadian trilogy’ (with Circus of Horrors and Peeping Tom), in which the keynote is sensationalistic, sexually charged violence. It is featured here in a brand-new transfer from original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.

When a series of grisly, macabre and seemingly motiveless murders leaves Scotland Yard baffled, leading crime writer and journalist Edward Bancroft is following events with particular interest. But Bancroft is not what he seems, and woe betide anyone who gets in his way...

[] Original theatrical trailers
[] Original US HypnoVista introduction
[] Image gallery