The promotion announced that this film was released in "Hypnovision" which gives an idea of the story. Edmond Bancroft a frustrated crime reporter and thriller writer wants accurate crimes for his next book so he hypnotiz... more »es his assistant to make him comm« less
Steven W. Hill | Chicago, IL United States | 05/08/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Gough suavely chews the scenery in yet another one of his revenge-inspired madman film roles. He does them so well, why hire anyone else? Please, let others be your guide to the quality of the movie. (Suffice to say that I love it, but then again it's exactly the sort of movie I love, so it doesn't have to try very hard!) I'll tell you about the DVD...The picture quality is a bit soft, more so in the darker scenes, but nothing too unpleasant. It'll look fine on a big television. (I check all my DVDs on a computer for consistency, but it's a bit less forgiving of image quality problems - which is a bonus, because I can spot them easier to let other people know!) It's an anamorphic (16:9 or "enhanced for widescreen televisions") widescreen presentation, framed at about 2.30:1. The colors are good, which is a good thing because it's a colorful film. The sound is decent, though mono (of course) and therefore nothing spectatular. The extras are abundant, and since the Amazon listing doesn't detail them (as of this writing), I'll list them:A video tribute to Herman Cohen (producer) by film journalist Tom Weaver and lifelong friend and associate, Didier Chatelain
English and French language option
Original US theatrical trailer
Original European theatrical trailer
Hypno-Vista opening featuring psychologist Emile Franchel*
Commentary by Herman Cohen (from archival materials)
Commentary by music composter Gérard Schurmann and film critic David Del Valle
Phone interview/video featurette with Herman Cohen by Scarlet Street publisher Richard Valley
3D motion menus
Scene selection, photo gallery, biographies, bonus trailers**, booklet insert****Now, about the Hypno-Vision introduction. It IS included on the disc (unlike the French release of this movie on DVD), but NOT as part of the feature as intended. Instead, it is an extra, and although it is widescreen, it's non-anamorphic. The feature's running time is 78m 06s because it doesn't incorporate the introduction...that the back cover reads "94 minutes" is a bit of a cheat in that respect.**Apart from the two trailers already mentioned, the disc also includes trailers for many other movies either related to producer Herman Cohen or VCI (the company that released this disc). They are: Target Earth (also newly available on DVD), The Headless Ghost, Blood and Black Lace, The Whip & the Body, City of the Dead, Ruby and The Bird With the Crystal Plumage.***The booklet insert isn't just a single sheet of paper with a chapter listing - it's a foldout, with a European poster reproduction on the inside and a liner note essay on the other. I think that's very nice indeed.Oh, and before I forget, the disc is region free, too! All in all, a very nice package for a relatively obscure little horror movie. If you like this one, also seek out "Konga" (also with Gough) and "The Woman Eater" with George Coulouris."
I learned ice tongs aren't necessarily just for ice...
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 04/12/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) is certainly one of the more lurid exploitation films I've seen in awhile. Directed by Arthur Crabtree (his last film, by the way), who also directed the sci-fi classic Fiend Without a Face (1958), and produced by Herman Cohen, a pioneer in schlock exploitation with such releases as Target Earth (1954), I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), and I was a teenage Frankenstein (1957), Horrors of the Black Museum, set in London, is a wonderfully nasty little tale about horrific murders of young women in most unusual ways.The film stars Michael Gough, who many may remember as the character of Alfred Pennyworth in the all the Batman movies from 1989 to 1997, as Edmond Bancroft, a crime columnist/novelist who has made quite a living for himself writing about murder in all its' forms and those who commit them. Given the sensationalist nature of his source material, it's only natural that the public would lap it up, propelling Bancroft into the spotlight. The film opens with an attractive blonde woman receiving a package in the mail to find a pair of binoculars. Now, the woman is very attractive, and gifts from suitors are probably not unusual, but binoculars seem a strange gift. Nonetheless, the woman accepts them with glee until she actually peers into them to find metal spikes shoot from the eyepieces and, well, picture the rest for yourself. We learn that this is another murder in a series of gruesome killings, ones that have the police baffled. Clues are scarce, and suspects are few. Very shortly, more murders occur, and Bancroft, along with his assistant, seems to be involved in the events in more than just as the role of reporter/researcher. Bancroft has such an interest in what he writes that he has gone so far as to build a museum, a black museum, to murder in the basement of his house. Scotland Yard has a black museum, one filled with tools and weapons of crime, but Bancroft feels his is a true museum, filled with relevant and meaningful items, much more discriminatory that the one at the Yard. What is Bancroft's connection to the murders?One of the things I really enjoyed about this movie was while the murders gruesome and horrible, the bits of nastiness were certainly limited on screen, as many of the crimes where not shown, electing rather to build to the point of the killing, and then leave the rest to the viewers' imagination. Gough certainly seemed to enjoy himself, chewing the scenery something fierce in quite a few parts, which certainly served to enhance the film immeasurably. The plot leaks like a sieve, but no matter. There is much fun to be had here, of the extremely pulpy kind. The film reminded me a lot of one of my more favorite Vincent Price films, The House of Wax (1953), which I was actually lucky enough to see in all its' 3-D beauty at Chicago's Music Box Theater many moons ago.Being the first American International Pictures release both in color and Cinemascope, Horrors of the Black Museum looks really good here in wide screen glory, but I think some of the picture is lost as the movie starts and the credits appear, letters are missing off either side of the screen. There are many special features included here, like original American and European theatrical trailers for the film, a really nice video tribute to producer Herman Cohen which was also included on the Target Earth (1954) DVD release, a phone interview with Cohen, a photo gallery, biographies/filmographies, an enclosed booklet with liner notes, extra trailers for films like Ruby (1977), The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) and The Headless Ghost (1959), to name a few. There is also a commentary by Cohen, and another by composer Gérard Schurmann and film historian David Del Valle. Finally, there is the original `Hypno-Vista' opening included and worth watching prior to watching the film. This was a gimmick, much like the ones used by showman Frank Castle, a 13 minute piece which had a hypnotist named Dr. Emile Franchel talk to the audience about hypnosis with the notion that various members of the audience could be hypnotized into a state where they would feel the movie, or, as the tagline stated, "It Actually Puts YOU In The Picture - Can You Stand It?" I know not whether I was put into a trance, but Dr. Emile sure seemed to know what he was talking about. As you can see, there was no skimping here on special features, and even the interactive menus are kinda cool, but I did find switching between the available items in the special features section a little clunky. This is a minor observance, and did little to negatively effect my overall enjoyment. If you take anything away from this film, I think that if you ever get a pair of binoculars sent to you anonymously, be sure to avoid putting them up to your peepers right away. Instead, go and show them off to that annoying nitwit neighbor who lets his dog bark all night or plays his car stereo so very loudly at 2 AM in the morning... Cookieman108"
DELICIOUS GUILTY PLEASURE....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 01/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Outrageous British shocker from the Herman Cohen output of the late fifties-early sixties that was made for sheer lip-smacking sensationalism. Film opens with a looney "prologue" explaining Hypno-Vision and then proceeds to a girl recieving an anonymous gift of binoculars. When she raises them to her eyes to try them out---tiny spikes plunge into her eyes when she adjusts them as her roommate screams her head off. We then meet Michael Gough (as over-the-top as you would expect) as a novelist who specializes in shockingly lurid crimes. He also keeps a "Black Museum" of sensational murder weapons that he purchases from a crafty antiques dealer (Beatrice Varley) who knows a bit too much. He dispatches her with a huge pair of ice tongs when she resorts to blackmail. Gough is an avowed mysoginist and as much says so to his young apprentice (Graham Curnow) who has a pretty marriage- minded girlfriend (Shirley Anne Field). Gough also has a girlfriend (June Cunningham)---a bleach blonde strumpet after his money. She's a Jayne Mansfield look-a-like only smaller on the top. When he refuses her more money, she tells him off and throws him out. She then trots on down to the nearest bar, knocks back some drinks, plays some Latin dance music on the Rock-Ola and does a sexy dance routine for the boys in the bar (and the camera) before becoming another victim...But anyway, there's more and you have to get this to enjoy it. In vivid color and voyeuristically photgraphed, this is a nasty but fun item to have in your collection. The acting is about par but the shocks abound in this gruesome goodie. Shirley Anne Field (also in "Peeping Tom") became a respectable actress and still appears in British films today. I wonder what she would have to say about this little item? "Horrors" is coming from VCI and should look great as they have a good reputation for quality products. Watch for it."
Terrific Early British Gorefest!
R. Craig | New Haven, CT United States | 11/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one wild movie, and the print used in this DVD is simply stunning, far better than a recent cablecast. Strikingly gruesome for the time period, this shocker prophecies the gore trend which was to hit in a scant few years. One of the best British shockers, highly recommended!"
Laughable, gimmicky, campy schlock "classic"
Zuran | england | 03/20/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A gob-smacking camp classic with some great sensationalistic murders and plenty of bad acting. Michael Gough plays a misogynistic crippled author who has various women killed in order to boost sales of his lurid novels and newspaper articles. After each killing he hobbles over to Scotland Yard to gloat. One woman is impaled through the eyes by spikes that jump out of a pair of binoculars, another is decapitated by a guillotine in her bed, a blackmailer has her neck crushed by a pair of giant tongs and Gough's doctor is zapped by an electrical ray and then dunked in a vat of acid. Gough hams it up outrageously and often appears to be addressing an off-stage theatre audience rather than the other actors on screen. He keeps a waxworks chamber of horrors in his basement and has his weak, hypnotised assistant (whose face goes grey when in psycho mood) commit the killings. Poor old Shirley Ann Field plays the assistant's nice girlfriend whom the script mercilessly has stabbed to death in a carnival love-tunnel which no film-maker would have the guts to do today. For US audiences AIP presented this in "hypnovision" with a 12 minute introduction from a psychiatrist who explains about his craft and tries to hypnotise the audience. This introduction adds considerably to the campiness of what is an almost unbelievable experience."