Horrors Of The Black Museum (1959)

horrors of the black museum 1959

One of the better British Crime/Horror movies that should be on the movies to see list. Michael Gough is really good as a reporter/true crime writer looking into a series of murders in London. The title refers to a museum the police keep loaded with murder weapons used in real crime. It’s not open to the public.

The movie begins with the murder of Gail Dunlip. The murder weapon made this a legendary opening scene. She’s the third woman killed in London in the past two weeks.  Scotland Yard Superintendent Graham and Inspector Lodge get a visit from arrogant reporter Edmund Bancroft (Michael Gough). He doesn’t think they’re very good at their jobs.  He thinks the latest murder weapon is just like one in their black museum.

Doctor Ballan is Bancroft’s physician. Bancroft walks with a cane. Ballan thinks he’s too dedicated to his work and every time a murder occurs he gets too stressed out by overworking himself. Later Ballan dictates notes to his nurse and thinks Bancroft should be put away for a while and get a rest and a psychiatrist.

Bancroft has his own black museum in his basement along with a high tech computer. He buys weapons from Aggie’s Curiosity Shop. This time she sells him a curved knife. He takes it home and his assistant Rick puts on display.

Now Bancroft goes out for some fun with his hired babe Joan (June Cunningham). She’s all decked out in a tight red dress and asks him for some money. He turns her down. That when she hurls insults and he destroys some glasses by throwing them off a table. She says she’s had it with him and he finally leaves. She goes to a neighborhood pub and puts on a nice dancing display for the boys. A couple make passes but they get nowhere. A couple cops escort her home. Inside she turns on the radio and it’s playing stripper music. She gets into something a little more comfortable. She lays down. The radio now changes to a blaring big band. You know what that means. The neighbors hear her scream and see a man running out of her apartment. The describe him as an old man but a fast runner.

The next night Bancroft is having a party for the release of his next book. Supt.Graham drops by and tells him they have the murderer and a full confession. At the jail Graham and Lodge question the suspect further. He starts saying a lot of bizarre things and confesses to more murders. Then he says he’s inventing a death ray to come out of his eyes as a murder weapon. Looks like they got the wrong guy. Bancroft demands to see him but..too late. He’s been taken to a mental institution.

Rick virtually sneaks out of the house to see his girlfriend Angela. She wants him to be open with Bancroft about their engagement. Meanwhile he’s back at Aggie’s. He’s interested a pair of ice tongs.  It’s obvious she knows something…but not for long.

Later that night Dr.Ballan drops by Bancroft’s museum. He pulls no punches. He’s in for a shock. Later on Bancroft comes back from a book signing. He goes ballistic when he sees Rick brought Angela to the museum. After an argument Rick takes Angels out for a night of fun at the local fun fair.

The movie continues on with a combination of bizarre moments and a lot of suspense and surprises. Definitely worth seeing.

Michael Gough appeared in a number of Batman movies as butler Alfred Pennyworth.

Michael Gough as Edmuind Bancroft standing in front of his high tech computer

Michael Gough as Edmund Bancroft standing in front of his high tech computer



About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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