Celebrating the Work of Tod Slaughter in 'The Greed of William Hart'

In celebration of a Tod Slaughter Christmas, currently being held over at From Beyond Depraved courtesy of Jose Cruz, I thought it might be fun to take a look at what many considered to be the actor's final film (at least his last feature film): The Greed of William Hart (aka Horror Maniacs).

Based on the ghoulish exploits of William Burke and William Hare, also known as the West Port murders, The Greed of William Hart is the second film ever to adapt the tale of the two fiends (preceded only by Lugosi and Karloff loosely referenced The Body Snatchers). Originally entitled Crimes of Burke and Hare, the film drew so much controversy in England that it was later retitled for Ambassador's 1948 theatrical release, though the story still maintained its macabre sense of murder, greed, and medical mischief.

One of the unfortunate drawbacks of this censorship comes with the constant inclusion of crudely edited soundbyte substitutions of "Burke and Hare" with those of "Moore and Hart." These edits consistently prove to interrupt the natural flow on the screen, proving to be of a different pitch or quality than the rest of the film. However, it's hard to fault any of the actors for this disturbance and aside from that minor complaint the overall production is sinisterly effective thanks in no small part to Slaughter's knack for pulling off villainous fiends and nasty scoundrels.

As mentioned above, the story generally follows the events of the Burke and Hare murders with Slaughter's Hart portrayed as an ill-tempered, woman-beating rat (with a distinctly stage theater flair) who meets his end as any monster should- at the hands of an angry mob. Complimenting Slaughter is Henry Oscar as the equally contemptible William Moore and Slaughter's real life wife (Jenny Lynn) as Helen Moore. For even more of info on the life and times of Tod Slaughter, be sure to visit From Beyond Depraved for a full list of participants and articles.


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