"[Michael] Gough essays his most celebrated horror role with great relish, and is an arrogant, hissable villain: the film wouldn't be half as enjoyable without him." - Graeme Clark, the Spinning Image
London is fear-struck and Scotland Yard is baffled by a series of strange murders plaguing the city. Through his stories of the atrocities, crime journalist Edmond Bancroft (Michael Gough) comes to his own conclusions while clues of the crimes continue to elude the police. This is because Edmond is actually behind these horrible crimes in order to create material for his writing. Along with his assistant Rick (Graham Curnow), Edmond runs a private "Black Museum" filled with the very murder and torture devices used in the creation of these horrific stories. The duration of this version reflects the original British release through there are extended versions in existence the run roughly sixteen minutes longer.
Cast & Crew
Reviews(see the best reviews)
It doesn't matter if you can see it coming from a mile away when it's carrying fifteen megatons of pure EVIL! Thoroughly ridiculous, but very enjoyable horror schlock from across the pond. Good production values, too--with that great, supersaturated color of yesteryear. Imagine every foe Batman has ever faced poured into one character. Then make him a caricature of Thomas "Murder as a Fine Art" De Quincey (after all, the movie's from the U.K., so it has to have a patina of culture). Then transform his private museum of crime into a lab for EVIL science, complete with wall-sized, blinking computers. Then add a frenzied climax at a carnival. Come to think of it, you don't really know what's coming at all. Half the fun is waiting for the roller-coaster to change generic tracks and make our antihero even more EVIL. To quote the film itself: "Get the rubber gloves and apron!"
I'll be honest...I was expecting this to have some connection to the old Orson Welles hosted radio show "The Black Museum." The drama in every episode of that 1950s radio program centered upon an object in Scotland Yard's (in)famous Black Museum (which is a real place!). I love that radio show, so I was prepared for a portmanteau-style film. I quickly realized that this movie was not to be an anthology of shorter stories, but my disappointment didn't last long.
HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM is a fun, fast-paced piece of lurid filmmaking. Though it isn't a Hammer Studios production, the films shares a love of quirky sadism and with that other company. The color palette, too, resembles Hammer's efforts. The reds in this film are REALLY red, making the scenes of violence extra horrific. Don't worry about being subjected to grotesque scenes of horror, though. The movie is put together in such a way that the camera cuts away from the really nasty murders.
Another similarity is the presence of Michael Gough as reporter Edward Bancroft. Gough seems to really relish this role, and he is almost spitting his lines with contempt and loathing.
There are great set pieces (the Tunnel of Love one comes to mind) and the ending is as exciting as it is barmy (and you gotta love the Jeckyll/Hyde references happening). This is perfect viewing for the Halloween season...and beyond.
This is a fiendishly clever movie in which characters talk about fiendishly clever crimes—only to be revealed as fiendishly clever fiends themselves—how ghastly!
It’s all dark, depraved fun, a 1950’s, Technicolor version of a Penny Dreadful. Michael Gough tears up the scenery in a performance of sneering, sadistic intensity without being hammy.
I wanted to revisit this movie after not seeing it since it first came out. It gets strong marks for nostalgia, but its no surprise that its a lot cheesier than I remember it being as a kid. Not that the cheese is bad; in fact it's quite good. The movie is pretty gory for its time, and the production is as good as some of the Hammer classics.
Campy and fun.
These movies had their place during the late 50's and early 60's era. These classic "B" crime and monster plots were the bread-&-butter for the local theaters and drive-ins on Friday and Saturday nights. The high-end Sword-&-Sandal "epics" could be just as predictable. I didn't see Ruth Gordon's (Harold and Maude) name in the credits for her minor speaking role at the bookstore. Oh well, a gig is a gig. This movie was a hit at the local theater when I was 10. The high-school couples dearly loved to scream and gossip about these on Monday mornings in class. One nickname-complement bandied about was "popcorn-choker." That moniker pumped up ticket sales the next weekend. Give this film, and the "Hammer Vamps," a break. A little schmoozing on Fright-Night was fun. They were a pleasant interlude during the "duck-and-cover" Tupelov bomber/B-52/ICBM nightmare. Add the classic Pinewood-Sheppard studios' great naval warfare huge pools for the "other" Brit films that packed us in on those great weekends. Sink the Bismarck's lack of intrusive orchestration for the gunnery scenes still rings those bells.
Next time find something which is considerably less ridiculous! Thank you. Amen!
a bit cheesy but fun.
It's kind of like a Community College theater play, but with better acting and a bigger budget. A ton of fun, with crackling (and authentic) British accents!
You'll never go bird watching again.
Jolly good fun!
The British produced some of the best horror films of the 50's and 60's.....this one is no exception ! Great !
It was odd and campy and very British and I really likesd it.....
Predictable but good of its type.
Great show. Very British.
Reminded me of the old days. Very Hollywoodish.
I liked it even though the plot was pretty predictable. Acting was okay.
Mildly amusing camp horror... camp now, and likely camp in 1959, too. Nice color photography, good (though brief) musical score, crime museum doubles and mad scientist lab. Probably good for people who like this sort of thing.
Opening scene hilarious!