VIDEO: Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, and Isla Fisher in Clips from John Landis's Burke and Hare
After taking a 13-year sabbatical from feature directing, comedy legend John Landis is back with the black comedy Burke and Hare, which stars Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis (sans CG, looking like himself!) as notorious 19th century criminals William Burke (Pegg) and William Hare (Serkis), who committed a series of murders in order to sell their victims' bodies to science. Watch three new clips from the September release and decide: Is Landis back in fine comic form?
Burke and Hare is based on the true story of Irish murderers William Burke and William Hare, who were found responsible for an infamous string of killings in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1827 and 1828. Their 17 victims were sold to Dr. Robert Knox, a local lecturer, for dissection. Landis's black comedy also stars Isla Fisher as Burke's paramour, Jessica Hynes as Hare's wife, and Tom Wilkinson as Knox; Christopher Lee, Tim Curry, Stephen Merchant and more also appear.
Get a taste of Burke and Hare in four newly released clips from the film, which is currently available online at SundanceNow.com and on VOD. Burke and Hare hits theaters stateside on September 9 (it opened in the U.K. last year and currently sits at 31 percent at Rotten Tomatoes).
Clip 2: Burke and Hare sell their first cadaver to Dr. Knox, who promises to buy more "unfortunates" from them at five pounds a pop:
Clip 3: Burke and Hare go grave robbing:
Clip 4: Former prostitute Helen MacDougal (Isla Fisher) plots to stage an all-female production of Macbeth with her fellow ex-hookers:
Clip 6: Burke and Hare encounter a stranger in a darkened alley:
Now, about those reviews. Coming out of its 2010 overseas release, Burke and Hare didn't fare so well with critics, some of whom called it "unpleasant," "off the mark," and "excruciating," which is sad news for Landis diehards. The director of such comedy classics as Animal House, The Blues Brothers, and Coming to America had a rough decade's worth of films in the '90s, culminating in 1998's direct-to-video feature Susan's Plan, and Burke and Hare doesn't feel like a bona fide comeback coup. Still, the film features a deep cast of watchable performers and sees Landis return to U.K. soil 30 years after filming An American Werewolf in London, which is probably just intriguing enough to bring in curious Landis fans.