Burke and Hare

  • The List
  • 10 September 2010
Burke and Hare

If you want to see an old school Edinburgh, look out for it on the silver screen this Autumn says Miles Fielder

Almost three decades after redefining that most tricky film genres, the horror comedy, with his genuinely funny and frightening take on lycanthropy, American Werewolf in London, director John Landis has another go at generating laughs and scares in equal measure with this new version of the grim tale of the Irish graverobbers of 19th century Edinburgh.

Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis (the latter drafted in to replace David Tennant after he had to drop out due to American TV commitments) play the bumbling body snatchers who discover a lucrative source of income in providing Edinburgh’s medical school with fresh(ish) cadavers. Pegg and Serkis are joined by a cast that includes Isla Fisher, horror icon Christopher Lee, The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Tim Curry and Tom Wilkinson. There are cameos too by several comedians, including Stephen Merchant, Bill Bailey, Jessica Hynes, Reece Shearsmith and Ronnie Corbett, as well as a fleeting appearance by American Werewolf’s lovely leading lady, Jenny Agutter.

Landis shot Burke and Hare on location in the Scottish capital, so the film should boast plenty of authenticity and atmosphere. It was produced by Ealing Studios – and written by Piers Ashworth and Nick Moorcroft who previously revived the St Trinians films at the same venerable venue – and, according to Landis, the two stars, who he describes as ‘a very evil Laurel and Hardy,’ fit well with the tradition of the Ealing comedy classics, such as Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ladykillers. If he can pull that trick off, it should be a hoot and a scream.


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