“We can consider the case of the monster killer closed.”

A package is delivered to a young woman. She opens it to find a pair of binoculars. Excited about the gift from an unknown person she goes to the window to try them out. When she presses them against her eyes two metal spikes extend through her eyes and into her skull. She falls to her death. Her roommate, who has witnessed the horror runs screaming from the room.

The police are stymied. This is the third horrible death that has happened in recent months. Superintendent Graham (Geoffrey Keen) and Inspector Lodge (John Warwick) are reviewing the case when Edmond Bancroft (Michael Gough) enters the room. Bancroft is a popular author who has written books and articles about murder and murderers. The Inspector and the Superintendent are not fond of Bancroft. He is smug and condescending.

After discussing the case with the police Bancroft goes home and is greeted by his assistant Rick (Graham Curnow). They descend into the basement of Bancroft’s estate to a room filled with weapons and instruments of torture. Bancroft calls it his “Black Museum”.

Bancroft visits his doctor. Dr. Ballan (Gerald Andersen) is concerned about Bancroft. It seems that every time there is a murder Bancroft’s heath suffers. Bancroft shrugs him off and tells him that he cannot rest until the killer is apprehended. The doctor believes that Bancroft needs psychiatric treatment but Bancroft will not listen. When more murders occur the doctor gets suspicious. He visits Bancroft and tells him that he knows he is responsible for the murders and he wants him to confess and go to the police. Bancroft kills him and has his assistant put his body in a vat of acid.

Bancroft’s new book hits the shelves and he is scheduled for a book signing. After the signing he returns home. He goes downstairs to the basement museum and finds Rick there with his fiancée Angela (Shirley Anne Field). Bancroft is civil but underneath is seething. When Angela leaves, Bancroft injects Rick with a drug. He brags about the drug being the serum that Dr. Jekyll created. The drug keeps Rick in a hypnotic state. He obeys whatever Bancroft tells him to do. Bancroft tells him deal with Angela.

“Horrors of the Black Museum” was released in 1959 and was directed by Arthur Crabtree. Producer Herman Cohen got the idea for the movie after visiting Scotland Yard’s Black Museum. The instruments of death in the movie are based on actual murder weapons used in real life murder cases.

The original film had a thirteen-minute prologue that featured a demonstration by hypnotist Emile Franchele. This was basically a gimmick similar to the stuff William Castle use to add to his movies. At the time it was all the rage and, apparently, it was a hit. Today, however, the prologue is boring and has nothing to do with the movie. Also, Hypno-Vista is not a real thing.

On the other hand, the movie was pretty good. There are lots of interesting weapons used and in interesting ways. Michael Gough was perfectly evil. The part may have been meant for Vincent Price, but Gough does arrogant snob so much better.