Friday, July 19, 2013

The Body Snatcher (1945)

Here's a rather forgetful atmospheric horror from the 1940's.  The only reason I watched it is because it was part of a classic horror double feature.  It stars Boris Karloff as the cabman Gray and also has Bela Lugosi in a bit part.

This film was based on a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson.  It's about grave robbers, who provide an invaluable service to the medical community.  Back then, the study of anatomy was just getting serious, and the teachers needed cadavers for the students to dissect and study.  With not many bodies to go around, the grave robbers helped fill the quota.

One day, a woman comes in to the medical school with her injured daughter, and asks the head teacher to help her.  He refuses because he doesn't know enough about the spinal cord to help her (and because surgery there had never been performed before).  His eager student convinces a grave robber to get him a body so it can be dissected and so they can study the spine.  But with the graveyards being guarder, the robber kills someone instead.  This starts a whole spiral downward, where we learned the same thing happened years ago, and somehow the teacher had something to do with it.  The teacher's past is incredibly vague.  But will his guilt ever catch up with him?

Everyone's backstory is very vague in this film, and almost no one is likable or relatable.  I'm giving this film a 4/10.

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