Mania; Flesh And The Fiends, The; Psycho Killers; Feindish Ghouls, The

2493. MANIA (The Flesh and The Fiends) (Psycho Killers) (The Fiendish Ghouls) (1959-England). With PETER CUSHING, DONALD PLEASENCE, GEORGE ROSE. A preface to this harrowing tale of vice and murder in Edinburgh in 1828 points out that the events really occurred…and the film offers no apologies to the dead! The story begins in a cemetery crowded with old crumbling markers. Body snatchers work clandestinely in the dark of night to dig up the recently deceased. The grave robbers sell the corpses to the highly accomplished but controversial Dr. Knox, director of a prestigious medical school. The thieves talk as though they are merchants in a marketplace: “Nice and fresh, sir. Just a week in the grave.” Dr. Knox believes that dead bodies do not contain souls and therefore make perfect tools for the study of medicine. He calmly instructs his assistants to place the bodies in a wash of brine where they are pickled. This horror thriller focuses on William Hare and William Burke (interpreted with great broad strokes by master character actors Donald Pleasence and George Rose). When Burke’s elderly lodger dies of natural causes, the men rush the fresh cadaver to Dr. Knox for a good price. So attracted are they to the easy money of this illegal enterprise that they begin assisting unfortunates to premature deaths. Eventually the crimes of Hare and Burke and the runaway ambition of Dr. Knox lead to chaos in the streets of Edinburgh. A potent combination of civil justice and mob hysteria treat the evildoers to their just desserts in this truly horrific film. 94 minutes. Horror