Horrors of the Black Museum



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 33% · 6 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 24% · 100 ratings
IMDb Rating 5.9/10 10 1602 1.6K

Plot summary

A writer of murder mysteries finds himself caught up in a string of murders in London.

January 31, 2024 at 10:44 AM


Arthur Crabtree

Top cast

Michael Gough as Edmond Bancroft
Shirley Anne Field as Angela Banks
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
751.15 MB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 21 min
Seeds ...
1.36 GB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 21 min
Seeds ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Coventry 7 / 10

Fiendish Fun!

"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 Sadian 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.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 7 / 10

Garish, grisly slice of 1950s exploitation

Is it forever Michael Gough's fate to play crippled characters? With his hand-less performance in DR TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS, his wheelchair-bound role in HORROR HOSPITAL, and now this cane-assisted stance in HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM, it seems this unfortunate actor always comes off the worst. But I digress. HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM is a classic example of an early exploitation film, produced by non less than Herman Cohen, responsible for loads of classic films of this type in the late '50s/early '60s. With an off beat and clever idea (crime writer commits murder to sell his stories) and a twist monster-on-the-loose ending (with Cohen involved, what else would you expect?), the film never fails to entertain.

Chief entertainment comes from the series of murders, which, while not explicitly gory like the Friday the 13th films, are however all staged elaborately and decoratively, and also cleverly, with much relish, like the murders in THEATRE OF BLOOD and the PHIBES films (but never so campy!). Highlights include the memorable binocular death and a woman having her head cut off by an axe, but the best death (or tackiest) occurs when the doctor is electrocuted by a bad special effect, then has his skin boiled off and becomes a skeleton! This scene is a piece of classic horror and easily the best moment of the film.

Although the monster makeup leaves something to be desired (it basically looks like grey paint), there is a good scene with the monster in a hall of mirrors, where he is taunted by a young couple before turning on them with a knife! While none of the acting is sub-par, with the likes of Shirley Anne Field involved (also, Geoffrey Keen has a role as a tough policeman), the film really belongs to Michael Gough as the criminal genius. He also sports the same ridiculous bleached hair as he did in the next year's KONGA! Gough is superbly civilised and a man of true evil, much like in his other films, and as always he's a delight to watch, I'm surprised that this prolific actor is overlooked so much and in the shadow of contemporaries like Cushing and Lee but he always puts in a solid, tongue in cheek performance and raises the level of the films he's in (much like Peter Cushing did). HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM is a typical piece of '50s exploitation, much in the style of CIRCUS OF HORRORS and is a film which is raised above average by the strength of Gough's performance alone. Definitely one for the collection.

Reviewed by planktonrules 6 / 10

Who is so stupid that they'd try to blackmail a serial killer?! She clearly deserves a Darwin Award!!

"Horrors of the Black Museum" is a reasonably enjoyable film, though some other films with similar styles of wild murders are certainly a lot more enjoyable such as "Theatre of Blood" and the Dr. Phibes films. There are also a few times where the script could have used a bit of a polish.

Michael Gough plays a nasty writer who is creating a museum of crime. The police think he's creepy but also respect his practically encyclopedic knowledge of murders. What they don't realize is that his books and museum are so accurate because he commits crimes...or at least, by proxy. It turns out that he's hypnotized his assistant into becoming a murderer and he does all the crimes for him---presumably because Gough's character has extreme difficulty walking.

As for the murders, they're very grisly for 1959 and often very creative. Seeing one person with spikes shooting into their eyes another decapitated and another killed with ice tongs to the throat certainly is memorable!! But in the case of the ice tongs, it's actually VERY stupid and a bad cliché. This is because someone realizes who the killer is and instead of going to the cops, she tries to blackmail him!!! And, there is no one around to stop him from killing her...DUH!!! The ending also seemed a tad disappointing. Still, the craziness of the killing and the typically angry performance by Gough make this worth seeing even if it isn't exactly art and even if you learn almost immediately after the beginning of the film who the guy is who is behind the killings!!

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1 Comment

Purple_Monster profile
Purple_Monster January 31, 2024 at 11:52 am

One of my all time fave British Horror flix. I remember seeing this on late night TV as a kid, Scared six colours of sh1t outta me! :) Great film!