The Body Snatcher
The Body Snatcher
By:, Categories: Words & Images, 2 comments



In a previous blog entry, Don’t Watch Alone, I tell of my passion for all those wonderful old late-night horror movies I watched as a kid back in the early 1970s. I may be much older, but the passion still remains. Some of those old classics were, indeed, classics – and one not-to-be missed is the Val Lewton-produced, and Robert Wise-directed The Body Snatcher, featuring those two masters of the macabre, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.


This is the last in the series of the RKO classic horrors. The plot, based on a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson, is set in Edinburgh in 1831, just three years after the notorious Burke and Hare murders and the subsequent sensational trial that led to their hanging. Burke and Hare had pursued the “resurrection trade”, robbing graves and selling the cadavers to doctors at the Edinburgh medical school, for whom cadavers needed for teaching were in short supply.


In the early 1800s body-snatchers or “resurrectionists” were a serious problem in Scotland. The Necropolis was originally intended to comprise extensive catacombs under the hill. These would have been entered only via the one easily-guarded gateway (see Gates to the Dead) and would have protected the bodies within. But the Anatomy Act of 1832 opened up a legitimate supply of corpses for medical study and research and body-snatching simply ceased. The Necropolis therefore developed into the more open cemetery you see today, as we make our inexorable march to the summit and John Knox.


Leica M3 & 50mm Summilux V2
Kodak Tri-X (200)
Sekonic L-308S
HC-110 (Dil.B – 1:31 – 7 min)
Plustek 7600i & Vuescan



  • Nice work John. Tell me again please. What scanning software do i need for the Plustek?

    • Vuescan Professional is all you'll need.