UK release Apr 1959
95 mins 35mm
The original UK cinema version was cut heavily by the BBFC to edit scenes of gore including the ice tongs stabbing, a man's body sinking into an acid bath, sounds of screaming during the binocular murder and shots of a woman's decapitated head being placed into a bag (a proposed cut to the shot of the bloodstained binoculars was never made). Later releases all feature the same cut print and it appears this footage may now be lost forever.
The "Hypno-Vista" segment was removed from American International's television release prints.
The U.S. version of this film, released by American International, featured a special introductory segment titled "Hyno-Vista" that was spliced into the film at the end of the opening credits. This 12 minute segment featured Dr. Emile Franchel, a London born psychologist working in Los Angeles, giving a lecture and demonstration of the power of suggestion, perception and hypnosis (his specialty).
C. Wilfred Arnold
Michael Gough - Edmond Bancroft
June Cunningham - Joan Berkley
Graham Curnow - Rick
Shirley Ann Field - Angela Banks
Geoffrey Keen - Superintendent Graham
Gerald Anderson - Dr. Ballan
John Warwick - Inspector Lodge
Beatrice Varley - Aggie
Austin Trevor - Commissioner Wayne
Malou Pantera - Peggy (Gail's Roommate)
Howard Greene - Tom Rivers
Dorinda Stevens - Gail Dunlap
Stuart Saunders - Strength-Test Barker
Hilda Barry - Women in Hall
Nora gordon - Woman in hall
Vanda Godsell - Miss Ashton
Gerald Case - Bookshop Manager
Geoffrey denton - Sargeant at Jail
William Abney - Patrol Constable #1
Howard Pays - Patrol Constable #2
Frank Henderson - Medical Examiner
Gerard Green - Fingerprint Expert
Ingrid Cardon - Little Girl
Emile Franchel - Introductory Lecturer
Sydney Bromley - Neighbour
John Harvey - Man in Bookshop
Maya Koumani - Hypnotised Woman
Marianne Stone - Neighbour
Carole Ann Ford - Teen in Hall of Mirrors (uncredited)
Norah Hammond - Elderly Woman (uncredited)
Susan Raie - Dark-Haired Girl (uncredited)
Bill Shore - Assistant Director
Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors (1959) (UK) (theatrical)
Merton Park Studios
Gordon Bond - Hair Stylist
Jack Craig - Makeup Artist
Sleazemania! (1985 video documentary) (Parts of this films U.S. theatrical trailer are featured as Hypnotherapist Emile Franchel introduces the audience to 'Hypnovista'.)
Ken Jones - Dance Music
Muir Matheson - Musical Director
James H. Nicholson
Samuel Z. Arkoff
Merton Park Studios
Ronald Abbott - Sound
Derek Holding - Sound Effects Editor
Sidney Rider - Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
One time Gainsborough cameraman, director Arthur Crabtree’s final film was this gruesome exploitation horror classic with Michael Gough in fine form portraying a famed crime writer. The Horrors of the Black Museum was inspired by ex-AIP producer Herman Cohen’s visit to Scotland Yard’s infamous Black Museum and every murder was based on an actual murder that occurred in the UK. The US version opened with a “Hypno-Vision” introduction from hypnotist Dr. Emile Franchel who delivers a 13-minute lecture on hypnosis and then proceeds to hypnotise the audience.
Edmond Bancroft (Michael Gough), an established crime writer takes extreme measures to insure that his next novel contains accurate descriptions of grisly murders. He decides to perpetrate ingenious murders using Scotland Yard’s “Black Museum” for inspiration, not wanting to bloody his own hands; he drugs his pliable young assistant Rick (Graham Curnow), turning him into a deformed Jekyll and Hyde monster and has him do the dirty work using a few devilishly clever gadgets.
The first female victim receives a package from an unknown admirer containing a pair of binoculars; upon using the binoculars a pair of spring-loaded skewers pierces the attractive blonde’s eye-balls and brain rendering her dead. After each sordid murder Bancroft’s health deteriorates but as he writes a crime column for a London newspaper this fails to prevent him goading the floundering investigating officers at Scotland Yard. The next female victim is Bancroft’s girlfriend Joan (June Cunningham), who ends their relationship with a stinging attack on his health and manliness. When she returns home after an evening’s merriment a guillotine poised above her bed is waiting to behead her.
By this stage Bancroft’s actions have raised the suspicions of those familiar. Both his doctor (Gerald Anderson) and elderly antique shop owner (Beatrice Varley) suspect he is the killer, but after confronting him Bancroft deals with both is a typically gory style. When Bancroft later returns home he discovers Rick and his girlfriend Angela (Shirley Ann Field) canoodling in his beloved personal black museum. Acknowledging that Angela could destroy his plans, Bancroft injects Rick with the character-altering serum and orders him to take his girlfriend to an amusement park and dispose of her.