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Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) is a British-American horror film starring Michael Gough and directed by Arthur Crabtree. It was the first film in what film critic David Pirie dubbed Anglo-Amalgamated's "Sadian trilogy" (the other two being Circus of Horrors and Peeping Tom), with an emphasis on sadism, cruelty and violence (with sexual undertones), in contrast to the supernatural horror of the Hammer films of the same era. A package is delivered to Gail, a young blonde woman with a roommate named Peggy. Gail opens the package to find a pair of binoculars, but when she uses them to look out a window, she screams and collapses, dying. The binoculars are revealed to have two spikes emerging out of the eyepiece. Peggy is being interviewed by Superintendent Graham and Inspector Lodge when journalist and crime writer Edmond Bancroft enters the room. He wishes to see the binoculars for himself, and Graham remarks on their similarity to binoculars in Scotland Yard's "Black Museum". Producer Herman Cohen said he got the idea for the film after reading a series of newspaper articles about Scotland Yard's Black Museum. He arranged through a contact to visit the museum, then wrote a treatment and later collaborated with Aben Kandel on the screenplay. Cohen says the use of binoculars as murder weapons, and all the other instruments of death in the film, were based on real-life murder cases. Half the money for the budget was provided by Nat Cohen and Stuart Levy of Anglo-Amalgamated in the UK, the other half from American International Pictures. It was the first movie from AIP in CinemaScope and colour. Cohen wanted to hire Vincent Price for the lead and also considered Orson Welles, but Anglo-Amalgamated pushed for a British actor in the lead, as it would be cheaper, so they decided to use Michael Gough. Arthur Crabtree was hired on the basis of his work on Fiend Without a Face."The price was right, and the old guy needed a job and I hired him", recalled Cohen. "And he was exactly what I wanted and needed as a good craftsman. A thirteen-minute prologue featuring hypnotist Emile Franchele and HypnoVista was added for the US release by James H. Nicholson of AIP, who felt the movie needed another gimmick. "We tested it in a few theaters, and the audience went for it like crazy...hokey as it was", recalled Cohen. "It helped make the picture a success, I guess, 'cause people were looking for gimmicks at that time. Excellent British Horror film in the "Hammer" vein and highly recommended for the British Horror fans. Starring Michael Gough, June Cunningham, and Graham Curnow. Special Features include original theatrical trailers, image gallery, and the original US Hypnovista introduction. 1959 British Horror 78 Minutes on DVD-R. 

Horrors of The Black Museum (1959) British Horror

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