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On the surface, modern fans would laugh at this movie or consider
it horrible, but in judging some of these old flicks you must do so by
the standards of their time and not now. Thus, with limited technical
capacity, the poor lighting, poor sound, tacky set design that looks
like something from a grade school play should be overlooked. Focus on
some of the merits rather than the defects and this is an enjoyable
The star of the show is Tod Slaughter once again, one of the most
under-rated actors of all time, who specialized in saving badly-scripted
movies such as this, Sweeney Todd
and The Face At the Window from
total disaster. He is as hammy and as campy as ever, but for him, the
style always works.
The plot centers around grave robbers in Scotland who get tired of
digging up bodies to sell for medical experiments and look into murder
instead to keep a good business going. The villains of course, get more
vile as they go along and pay for their sins in the end.
The Bodysnatchers, with Boris Karloff and Lugosi, covered this theme far
better, but The Greed Of William Hart is not without merit as well.
I believe this film was also released either in theatres or on video as
Horror Maniacs or some silly alternate title along the same line, to
draw in the horror fans, as frankly, The Greed Of William Hart
sounded more like a western or a gangster picture.
The story was based on a real crime involving a couple of characters
named Burke and Hare, who did in fact rob graves to provide bodies for
medical experimentation, then started killing people as a more
convenient way to make a profit, without lumbering around a cold
graveyard, shoveling up stiffs. The two were eventually caught and one
turned evidence against the other, escaping with his life while his
partner went to the gallows.
When watching this particular movie, keep in mind cicumstances would not
allow the graphics that could have made things far better, for
censorship was such a big issue back then. Murders could not be graphic,
blood was limited if at all, and of course profanity was out of the
And Slaughter is, of course, Slaughter at his finest in this movie.