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Two ghoulish grave-robbers supply dead bodies to a medical school by any means necessary... including murder! Moore and Hart, sinister and violent criminals, are a reflection of their surroundings - grim, impoverished 19th-century Edinburgh. The greedy pair abuse their wives and can often be found drunkenly languishing in the decaying confines of the local tavern. When the inebriated Mary Paterson enters the pub with her friend Janet, Moore convinces her to return with him to his lodgings. Hart joins Moore in the gruesome murder of Mary, dismembering her body to fit it into the trunk they use to transport corpses. Dr. Cox, in charge of the medical school, accepts the latest delivery and expresses an interest in a half-witted young man named Jamie. Moore and Hart conspire to add the unsuspecting lad to their growing list of victims. Meanwhile, Janet has enlisted the help of her noble friend Hugh Alston to investigate Mary's disappearance and convince authorities that Moore and Hart are blood-thirsty murderers. Horror Maniacs, also known as The Greed Of William Hart, was originally filmed under the title (The Crimes Of) Burke And Hare. The threat of a lawsuit by the descendants of the notorious grave-robber William Hare forced producers to redub the soundtrack and substitute new character names. The expense of this effort was a major strain for the low-budget production and resulted in the elimination of a music soundtrack. The film was one of the last notable movies to star the deliriously hammy Tod Slaughter, an actor whose maniacal performances peaked in such macabre melodramas as Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street and Murder In The Red Barn. Though his fame in the U.S. horror film genre was eclipsed by actors such as Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, Slaughter was well known in his native Britain as a master of menace. In Horror Maniacs, Slaughter stars alongside his real-life wife Jenny Lynn (playing the role of Helen Moore). The scriptwriter and assistant director of Horror Maniacs, John Gilling, filmed the same story ten years later as Flesh And The Fiends with Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasance.

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ALP4594 Horror Maniacs DVD (1944/Tod Slaughter) $5.99