ⓘ Burke & Hare (1971 film)


ⓘ Burke & Hare (1971 film)

Burke & Hare, sometimes called Burke and Hare or The Horrors of Burke and Hare, is a 1971 horror film, directed by Vernon Sewell, and starring Derren Nesbitt, Harry Andrews, and Glynn Edwards. It is based on the Burke and Hare murders, and was the last film to be directed by Vernon Sewell.


1. Plot

In Edinburgh, in 1828, surgeon Dr Knox Harry Andrews employs graverobbers Burke and Hare Derren Nesbitt and Glynn Edwards to supply fresh corpses for his anatomical lectures at the medical academy. When graveyard supplies run low, the industrious pair turn to murder to keep the business going.


2. Cast

  • Yutte Stensgaard - Janet
  • Harry Andrews - Dr Knox
  • Thomas Heathcote - Paterson
  • Dee Shenderey - Mrs Burke
  • Paul Greaves - Ferguson
  • Françoise Pascal - Marie
  • Yootha Joyce - Mrs Hare
  • David Pugh - Daft Jamie
  • Derren Nesbitt - Burke
  • Joan Carol - Madame Thompson
  • Duncan Lamont - Dr Saint
  • Glynn Edwards - Hare
  • Robin Hawdon - Lord Angus McPhee
  • Alan Tucker - Arbuthnot
  • James Hayter - Dr Selby

3. Theme Song

The eponymous theme song, which opens and closes the film, was written by Roger Webb with lyrics by Norman Newell, and performed by English comedy/musical trio The Scaffold.


4. Critical reception

Allmovie wrote, "the producers opted for sexploitation over gruesome horror, but the end result is decidedly dull"; and the Radio Times agreed, writing, "the accent is on sleazy sexploitation and bawdy comedy rather than anything truly macabre or frightening. Arguably the worst film adaptation of the exploits of the notorious West Port serial killers"; whereas Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings wrote, "I like it well enough, largely due to some interesting dialogue and energetic direction from Vernon Sewell, whose credits include The Blood Beast Terror and Curse of the Crimson Altar.The performances are also fun; in particular, Harry Andrews gives a memorable performance as Dr Knox, who wears an eyepatch and regales his friends with off-color jokes. I was pleasantly surprised by this one, as I wasnt expecting much."