“Burke and Hare” is a black comedy with a huge cast of stars however the tale behind the laughter is far darker. The movies tells the story of Scotland’s most infamous grave robbers and murders, the Irish pair, called William Burke and William Hare, played by Simon Peg (“Shaun of the Dead”, “Star Trek”) and Andy Serkis (“Lord of the Rings”, “King Kong”).
Burke came from Urney, County Tyrone. He served as an officer’s servant in the Donegal Militia. He left his wife and two children in Ireland and moved to Scotland in about 1817. There he met his girlfriend Helen McDougal who was an accomplice to the murders. Burke’s birthplace is unknown but it thought to be either Newry or Derry. They both worked on the Union Canal but saw an opportunity to make money elsewhere.
The gruesome duo made their living in the 19th century by robbing graves and selling bodies to the Edinburgh Medical School. However they soon became obvious that they could simply murder people to sell the cadavers for £3 a go. It is believed that they killed up to 17 people between 1827 to 1828.
"I liked the moral maze of this script.” said Simon Pegg, who plays William in the movie. “It's complex in terms of what the audience are expected to do in terms of supporting Burke and Hare.
"They are a couple of murderers and the script never really denies that, but it does encourage you to kind of sympathize with them, which is interesting because what they do is morally reprehensible.
"But because they are painted as human beings and you don't really know anything about their victims, you start to feel sorry
"At the end you realize they are murderers, but another kind of murderer.
"Within the story, there's the executioner who murders for money, there's Knox and Monro the doctors who are unscrupulous and there are the gangsters, there are a lot of preconceptions so you have to re-evaluate."
The movie was directed by John Landis most famous for his movies “Blues Brother”, “An American Werewolf in London” and “Animal House”.
Of “Burke and Hare” he said “It is a dark comedy with an unusual and witty screenplay which gave me the opportunity to make something very different and to work in England again with some wonderful actors.
"The tone is fun, sad, dark, romantic, silly, scary and hopefully entertaining."
The movie also stars a massive cast of British and international comedy actors including Tim Curry, Isla Fisher, Christopher Lee, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Merchant and Bill Bailey.
It will be released in Britain on October 29.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore