The Flesh and the Fiends, also known as Mania, is one of those pleasant surprises. It is a very good film with excellent acting, a thorough, thought-provoking script, suspenseful direction, and quite a jarring, almost twisted/perverted mood. I was genuinely surprised just how good this film was, because I had heard so little about it. But I can honestly say that I found it a highly enjoyable, disturbing, horrific film. Where to begin? Let's start first with the story. The story covers old ground here(The Body Snatcher with Boris Karloff for instance precurses this)about those two infamous body snatchers of Scotland Burke and Hare and the doctor who needs dead bodies to help find cures for the sick - Dr. Knox. This film is pretty faithful to those stories. What really helps this come alive is three characterizations done by three highly gifted actors: Peter Cushing, Donald Pleasance, and George Rose. Rose plays Burke and Pleasance plays Hare and I do not think I have seen two men play such vile, degenerate men as well as these two do. They both ooze oil and shed scales with their portrayals of heartless, cold, ignorant men who don't want to work and find that there is easy money in grave robbing. Soon they find it is even easier to just kill then dig up bodies(in fact they do not dig up ONE body in this film). Rose is snaggle-toothed and has a real weird twitching laugh. He is just plain repulsive and this is one of his finest characterizations in film. The same can be said for Pleasance who also plays a bad man with such conviction. Both he and Rose fit like gloves together. But as good as these two are, the real star of the film is that wonderful, under-appreciated British screen stalwart Peter Cushing, who makes cold stoicism seem so easy. Cushing plays Dr. Knox as a heartless man only concerned with science and who never really wants to think about where these bodies that he pays for come from. Cushing plays the role to the hilt in several scenes. My favorite is where he argues with "colleagues" about their medical shortcomings, saying, "incline your heads to the right Gentlemen. There you will find the door. I suggest you use it." I love his ability to be so arrogant and yet so witty and convincing. Cushing even goes through some kind of a catharsis in this film which he does as only he can. Director John Gilling, a great Hammer film director, shows us why he was to make such good films as Plague of the Zombies. He is very sure behind the lens and knows how to pace and create suspenseful scenes. Mania is a very good film that, despite its above-average acting and directing, should make you think a bit about several philosophical/moral/ethical questions. Questions that may have changed shape today but still exist in some form.
The Flesh and the Fiends (1960) 1080p YIFY Movie
The Flesh and the Fiends (1960) 1080p
The Flesh and the Fiends is a movie starring Peter Cushing, June Laverick, and Donald Pleasence. In 1828 Scotland, Edinburgh surgeon Dr. Knox does medical research on cadavers he buys from murderers Burke and Hare, without...
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The Synopsis for The Flesh and the Fiends (1960) 1080p
Edinburgh surgeon Dr. Robert Knox requires cadavers for his research into the functioning of the human body; local ne'er-do-wells Burke and Hare find ways to provide him with fresh specimens...
The Director and Players for The Flesh and the Fiends (1960) 1080p
The Reviews for The Flesh and the Fiends (1960) 1080p
Underrated Cushing VehicleReviewed byBaronBl00dVote: 8/10
What a nice surprise this movie was. Director John Gilling surely knows how to make a well build up thriller with a slow pace but never a dull moment.
The movie is extremely well written and has some at times incredibly good dialog. The fact that this movie is based on the true story of Burke and Hare-, two murderers who sold their victims to professor Knox, who uses them for his research, makes the movie even more interesting to watch.
This movie is not really an horror movie, I would prefer to describe it as a dark-thriller. The movie doesn't have any scares but it has some well build up tension and a great thriller-story. I think it is more because of the fact that Cushing and Pleasance are in this, that people consider this a horror movie. But please, when watching this movie, don't expect a movie with walking death people or Cushing in a role of a 'Frankenstein' like professor.
The movie is shot in atmospheric black & white. It was wonderful to see both Cushing and Pleasance in black & white for a change. My only complaint about the style is that it is a bit too dark at times, which makes the movie sometimes hard to follow.
Peter Cushing is most certainly good in his role as Dr. Robert Knox but it really is Donald Pleasence who uplifts the movie with his performance. This might very well be the best performance of him I have ever seen in a movie. He plays a slimy-tramp who is the lead-murderer of the movie. His character is portrayed so powerful and believable without ever going over-the-top.
It really is the way the movie is build up and the wonderful directing by John Gilling that makes this movie an absolutely great thriller that deserves to be better known.
The Flesh and the Fiends is similar, in a lot of ways, to the Val Lewton produced Robert Wise film, The Body Snatcher, but for some reason; this one has flown further under the radar. It's odd, because despite the greatness of the other film; The Flesh and the Fiends is a lot better, and has the added malevolence of being based on a true-life story. The film takes place in Edinburgh, and director John Gilling does an excellent job of ensuring that the city looks as foreboding as possible, and the perfect home for a story as macabre as this one. The film follows the idea of having to break eggs to make an omelette, and sees Doctor Robert Knox buying corpses from a couple of murderous grave robbers in order for him to have subjects, from which new surgical procedures can be ascertained. The real stars of the show, however, are the graverobbers themselves; Burke and Hare. They begin their careers by simply taking bodies from graves; but once they realise how lucrative the business of selling cadavers is, they soon resort to making a few corpses of their own...
The biggest name in the cast is the one belonging to the great Peter Cushing. Cushing has shown throughout his career that he is capable of a number of different roles, and his role here is one of the best he's had. He gets to sink his teeth into the character of Doctor Knox. In fact, this man isn't a world away from Cushing's world-beating turn as Doctor Frankenstein in Hammer's classic series, which explains why Cushing is so good at it. George Rose and Donald Pleasance give the film its extra dimension in the roles of the graverobbers. Rose is good, but it's Pleasance who really stands out in this film. Seeing him in a role like this is actually quite heartbreaking; as here we see how great he can be, rendering his roles in films like Halloween even more of a waste of time. The plot plays out from a number of different angles, ensuring that there's always enough going on around the central plot to ensure that the film never dries up and becomes boring. It's strange that a film of this quality could fly straight under the radar; but somehow it has. However, copies of this are out there; and it definitely is well worth tracking down!