Burke and Hare | Chicago Reader

Burke and Hare

Director John Landis (Animal House, An American Werewolf in London) proves there's no limit to the number of times you can get a laugh by having characters keel over in shock. This 2010 British comedy tells the true story of 19th-century serial killers William Burke (Simon Pegg) and William Hare (Andy Serkis), who did a brisk business supplying dissection cadavers to an anatomy lecturer (Tom Wilkinson) at the Edinburgh Medical College. Macabre humor dominates—in one scene Wilkinson promises his students "the human form in all its glory" and tears away a sheet to reveal a hideous green corpse crawling with worms. But almost all the gags connect, probably because Landis learned his craft before American movie comedy settled at the level of weak improv and smug pop-culture references. With Isla Fisher, Ronnie Corbett, Tim Curry, and Christopher Lee; look sharp for the brief cameos by Ray Harryhausen and Costa-Gavras.

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