Dr. Knox (Peter Cushing) is an Edinburgh-based doctor of anatomy whose ideas about research on deceased human bodies are in direct conflict with a law that limits the study of cadavers to criminals who have been executed. With these legal cadavers in short supply, a pair of lower-class greedy grave robbers, William Burke (George Rose) and William Hare (Donald Pleasence), appease the doctor's needs by presenting him with illegal bodies they have exhumed. The pair soon escalate to murder.
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