One film sure to make 2011 shine for our genre is the John Landis directed horror comedy based on the exploits of two actual grave robbers — Burke and Hare.
USA Today recently caught up with Landis on set overseas, and the director chatted with them a bit about the film’s horror elements.
“It has horror things within it — it’s about dissection and grave robbing, after all — but it’s a very black romantic comedy, hopefully in the tradition of the old Ealing Studios’ Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ladykillers,” Landis says, adding, “They’re a very evil Laurel and Hardy.”
Along with Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis as the title characters, Burke and Hare stars Isla Fisher, Jessica Hynes, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Curry, Ronnie Corbett, Reece Shearsmith, David Schofield, Allan Corduner, Bill Bailey, Hugh Bonneville, and Michael Smiley.
For those unfamiliar with the misdeeds of Burke and Hare, which were known as the West Port Murders — These crimes were perpetrated in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1827 and 1828. The killings were attributed to Irish immigrants William Burke and William Hare, who sold the corpses of their seventeen victims to the Edinburgh Medical College for dissection.
“WILLIAM BURKE and WILLIAM HARE are scratching out a living in 1830s Edinburgh. After yet another failed business venture, they return to Hare’s lodging house to find that their tenant has suddenly died on rent day. As the boys decide how to dispose of the body over a drink, they discover that a corpse can fetch a hefty price. Edinburgh is the centre of the medical universe and the city’s doctors are crying out for more cadavers for their educational lectures. First they try the infamous DR. MONRO, but he’s not interested, so they sell the corpse to DR. KNOX, his vain and ambitious rival who urges them to bring any more ‘unfortunates’ they may stumble upon. Entrepreneurial Hare is quick to realize they’ve hit on a great money making venture and despite the more sensitive Burke’s misgivings, they embark on a series of plans to secure more bodies. They arrange a series of deadly ‘accidents’ for the local unfortunates and to celebrate their success, they go out on the town to celebrate. There, Burke meets GINNY, a beautiful and spirited aspiring actress. In a series of hilarious comic misadventures Burke and Hare begin to secure a steady stream of bodies and the cash starts rolling in.”
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