Murder in the Red Barn 2004 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
(As to the picture quality of DVD, see Fred Mudge’s review)
They don’t make films like this any more. Old-school horror maestro Tod Slaughter gives us gleefully theatrical performances as Squire Corder who seduces a local peasant girl Maria Marten, and then plans to get rid of her while attempting to pay his debt by marrying another woman. Tod Slaughter, who often played the roles of villains (including murderous barber Sweeney Todd) on stage, shows his trademark sneering, eye-rolling acting as “evil” square, but his turns as the killer are more restrained than Sweeney Todd.
The film shows a glimpse of what the stage in Victorian era was like, but at the same time it looks less stagy with more sophisticated and modern camera works including the climax sequence in the barn where Corder is driven to near madness.
The story of Red Barn Murder is based on true events that happened in the village of Polstead, Suffolk, in 1827. (The details of what really happened can be easily found on the websites like Wikipedia.) The murder case was immediately turned into a variety of plays, which remained popular stock plays during the 19th century. I know the version that ends with Maria’s ghost haunting Corder, but this filmed version wraps up with more dramatic (and implausibly melodramatic) fashion.
William Corder’s trial and his subsequent execution was soon followed by another sensational case of “Burke and Hare,” notorious Edinburgh murders William Burke and William Hare, which also became a film “Horror Maniacs” aka “The Greed of William Hart” starring, of course, Tod Slaughter.