Horrors of the Black Museum (1959)

Article #1187 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-14-2004
Posting Date: 11-11-2004
Directed by Arthur Crabtree
Featuring Michael Gough, June Cunningham, Graham Curnow

A series of gruesome murders baffles Scotland Yard while a writer makes a big profit from his coverage of the murders.

I remember having seen this one on my local Creature Feature as a kid, and whatever flaws I may perceive in it nowadays, I would be selling the movie short if I didn’t recognize that three of the murder scenes had a tremendous impact. The night I first watched it, I checked very carefully above my bed before I laid my head down on the pillow, and to this day I always look through binoculars from a safe distance before I put them up to my eyes; fortunately, I’ve never run into anyone carrrying ice tongs. Nonetheless, I do have problems with the movie. It’s crudely obvious at times when I think it would benefit from subtlety, I think Michael Gough’s performance would have been more effective if he had underplayed more, and at times I find myself appalled at the stupidity of some of the characters; just as an example, if you’re going to blackmail someone you believe to be a murderer, you should do so at a time when you haven’t just handed your intended blackmail victim a potentially lethal murder weapon. Still, I did find myself musing on the presence of some of the themes that are common to the works of Herman Cohen; the presence of a younger male who is under the control of an older (and quite misogynistic) authority figure is very prominent here. I also found it quite interesting that Cohen managed to adapt that theme to many of the classic movie monsters; werewolves, (I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF), the Frankenstein monster (I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN), vampires (BLOOD OF DRACULA), King Kong (KONGA), and here, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It certainly makes his entire oeuvre more interesting as a whole.


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