Horrors Of The Black Museum: Blu-ray Review

Horrors Of The Black Museum: Blu-ray Review

Horrors Of The Black Museum: Blu-ray Review

Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) stands as a noteworthy, albeit often overlooked, milestone on the tumultuous path of horror cinema’s evolution, especially within the subgenre of proto-slasher films. Nestled between the influential works of Terence Fisher and Herschell Gordon Lewis, director Arthur Crabtree, alongside screenwriters Herman Cohen and Aben Kandel, explores a distinctive facet of horror storytelling that resonates with creative kills, diverging from conventional murder methods and paving the way for later developments in the genre.

In its exploration of proto-slasher themes, Horrors of the Black Museum embraces familiar tropes, including the slaughter of promiscuous women by deranged assailants. However, what sets it apart is its fervent commitment to the notion of ‘creative kills.’ Rather than resorting to conventional stabbing or clubbing, the murderers orchestrate elaborate and often impractical methods of execution. A standout example unfolds at the film’s outset, featuring a mysterious package containing boobytrapped binoculars, leading to a gruesome demise for the unsuspecting recipient. This emphasis on inventive lethality foreshadows similar scenes in subsequent gialli and slashers that would emerge in the following decades.



At its core, Horrors of the Black Museum draws inspiration from Charles Belden’s 1932 short story “The Wax Works.” Originally adapted to film as “Mystery of the Wax Museum” in 1933 by Michael Curtiz, the concept resurfaces in Crabtree’s creation, adding a layer of complexity to the narrative. Interestingly, the film intertwines this wax works angle with the central theme of a villain hypnotizing individuals to commit murder, a subtle nod to Michael Lawrence’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” This multifaceted approach, coupled with the focus on creative kills, distinguishes the film within the broader horror landscape.

To enhance the viewing experience, the U.S. distributor AIP introduced the Hypno-Vista gimmick, a William Castle-style addition featuring a 12-minute introductory sequence by psychologist Emile Franchel. Exploring the psychology and science of hypnotism, Franchel’s presentation culminates in a demonstration aimed at leaving the audience in a suggestive state during the film. Although the gimmick missed the opportunity to incorporate subliminal images and messages, AIP attempted a daring publicity stunt, falsely claiming that the boobytrapped binoculars had been lost at the airport, triggering an unwitting and costly police investigation.

In conclusion, Horrors of the Black Museum occupies a distinctive place in the history of horror cinema, serving as a precursor to the slasher genre while infusing creativity into its portrayal of violence. Its amalgamation of narrative influences and the bold introduction of Hypno-Vista underscore its unique contribution to the evolution of horror on the silver screen.


We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.


Trending on BRWC:

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

By BRWC / 9th July 2024
I Saw The TV Glow: The BRWC Review

I Saw The TV Glow: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 25th June 2024
Inside Out 2: The BRWC Review

Inside Out 2: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 23rd June 2024
Boys Like You: The BRWC Review

Boys Like You: The BRWC Review

By Rudie Obias / 21st June 2024
Spirited Away: Review

Spirited Away: Review

By BRWC / 28th June 2024

Cool Posts From Around the Web:



BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese, which is a blog about films.

NO COMMENTS

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.