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Red Print Theater : HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM ( 1959 )

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  • Red Print Theater : HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM ( 1959 )

    Welcome to : RED PRINT THEATER !!

    This month's selection is …..HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM ( 1959 ) !
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    A frustrated thriller writer wants accurate crimes for his next book so he hypnotizes his assistant to make him commit the required crimes.

    The Horrors of the Black Museum is a diabolical film. I was very young when I saw it. Dropped at the curb to enjoy Quarter Saturday at the Movies. It left me so traumatized that I was sitting in the lobby when my mother came, uncharacteristically silent. I had spent most of the time after the "binocular" murder, trembling alone with the thought, " What grown-up dreamed this stuff up for a kid to watch? What are grown-ups really like?" I knew some of them didn't care what they exposed kids to make a quarter! I remember trudging to the lobby as if in a fugue state, afraid to turn my back on that abomination.

    I know there are folks who love this genre, and as long as they are grown-ups, they can do the backstroke in ketchup blood and wallow in sadism. Free country. But this movie gave me nightmares , as a kid. It's probably still lurking in my psyche today.

    I guess it was effectively gruesome and twisted for the fans of the genre. ( LIKE ME !! )

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    "Horror of the Black Museum" is incredibly dated, unimportant and overly silly but it remains great fun to watch and watch it again. The opening sequence is delicious and definitely the best part of the entire movie. It involves the supposedly third strange and random murder in the London region and shows a poor woman getting her eyes gouged out by a pair of ingeniously spiked binoculars. A better opening to a colorful horror movie is hard to imagine and you're automatically preparing yourself to see a blackly comical and sadist horror gem. The quality-level of this intro naturally can't be held up throughout the entire movie but the script remains involving and surprising enough to keep you amused for a good 80 minutes. Scotland Yard hasn't got a clue where to begin their investigation and , on top of that , they're constantly annoyed by the vain columnist and pulp-novelist Ed Bancroft. The mysterious killer's identity isn't kept secret for long (I even assume it wasn't meant to be a secret) but his/her insane persona is imaginatively deepened. The "Black Museum" is a technical term to describe the police archive of bizarre and unusual murder weapons that were used in murder cases. The killer here has such a private collection himself which provides the film with a couple of utterly cool gimmicks, like the previously mentioned binoculars, an acid-bath and even a mini-guillotine! Michael Gough is seemly having a great time portraying the cripple cynic Bancroft. His performance is more than decent yet I agree with another reviewer here who already claimed that this role would be even more fit for Vincent Price. This film was the first entry of a Sadist horror trilogy, the others being the 1960 "Circus of Horrors" and "Peeping Tom". "Horror of the Black Museum" is the weakest of the three but still a terrifically odd and sensational genre highlight.

    This was the first film in scope and color released by AIP . My print is a Eastman kodak safety film faded ( pinkish )Flat print , but complete with nothing edited out , as actually shown to USA audiences .

    FUN FACTS :

    Herman Cohen wanted Vincent Price in the lead. While he claimed Price was too expensive, it is also true that by having a British star (as well as director and other crew) he could take advantage of the tax breaks provided by the Eady Levy, designed to assist film-making in Britain.

    Herman Cohen claimed that the "Hypnovista" segment was removed from the television prints because people could become hypnotized. The segment contained images that would have been too disturbing for American television at that time. The Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) passed regulations prohibiting the showing of actual hypnosis techniques on television.

    In his study of Sci-Fi and Horror double features, "Twice The Thrills! Twice The Chills!", Bryan Senn reports that Michael Gough found Herman Cohen very intrusive on set, both with the actors and the director. The producer made five films together and apparently held him in high regard, but still described him as "The cheaper version of "Vincent Price".

    Although the gory scenes were actually filmed ( Eyes gouged out , head cut off , Ice pick in the neck ) they were edited out by the Film Censor board in Britain and believed to be destroyed and lost forever . They have NEVER showed up on ANY Video release .

    Michael Gough's acting is campy and over the top but probably more fun than horrific .

    Check it out !

  • #2
    David,

    Nice choice for the latest Red Print Theater. The trailer is also pretty sadistic! I hope the psychologist remembered to take the needles out...
     

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    • #3
      June was interesting have it on Std 8mm. Off topic

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      • #4
        Does anyone know what he is referring to ??

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