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Corruption (1968)

R | | Horror | December 1968 (UK)
A doctor goes to extreme lengths--even murder--to restore the badly burned face of his fiancée.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sir John Rowan
Lynn Nolan
Noel Trevarthen ...
Steve Harris
Val Nolan
David Lodge ...
Anthony Booth ...
Mike Orme
Wendy Varnals ...
Vanessa Howard ...
Marian Collins ...
Girl in the Flat (International version)
Jan Waters ...
Girl in the Flat (UK version)
Phillip Manikum ...
Alexandra Dane ...
Valerie Van Ost ...
Girl in the Train
Diana Ashley ...


A surgeon discovers that he can restore the beauty to his girlfriend's scarred face by murdering other women and extracting fluids from their pituitary gland. However, the effects only last for a short time, so he has to kill more and more women. It is ultimately a killing spree which ends with considerable death and disaster. Written by Jonathon Dabell <barnabyrudge@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


where will the bodies turn up next? ...under a car seat? ...in a valise? ...or in a deep-freeze? See more »




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

December 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Carnage  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Foreign versions of this film replaced Jan Waters in the role of the first victim with Marianne Morris, who played the murder scene topless. See more »


Referenced in Billy Murray Interview (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

CORRUPTION (Robert Hartford-Davis, 1968) **1/2
9 June 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This is the sixth imitation within the genre of Georges Franju's marvelously lyrical hybrid of art cinema and horror, EYES WITHOUT A FACE (1959) – which just happens to be one of my all-time Top 20 movies. For the record, the others have been the Italian Gothic piece MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN (1960), the erotic French-made THE BLOOD ROSE (1970) and three from notorious (and incredibly prolific) Spaniard Jesus Franco – THE AWFUL DR. ORLOFF (1961), THE DIABLOICAL DR. Z (1965) and FACELESS (1988). Furthermore, some time ago I had also acquired another Italian stab at the same theme – ATOM AGE VAMPIRE (1960) – but, in its case, the DivX was faulty and I couldn't get the thing to work properly!

Anyhow, director Robert Hartford-Davis has somewhat mysteriously acquired an aura within the ranks of British horror cinema history not unlike that of the much younger Michael Reeves; other exploitation fare of his include THE BLACK TORMENT (1964), THE SMASHING BIRD I USED TO KNOW aka SCHOOL FOR UNCLAIMED GIRLS (1969), INCENSE FOR THE DAMNED aka BLOODSUCKERS (1970) and THE FIEND aka BEWARE, MY BRETHREN (1972). Although I am aware that TCM USA had shown CORRUPTION (presumably in its correct Widescreen aspect ratio), the version I watched as a DivX came via a soft-looking, washed-out, full-frame transfer courtesy of some obscure outfit called Midnight Video with forced Asian subtitles to boot!! The film itself, while no neglected masterpiece, is good enough to survive these deficiencies and different enough from its prototype to stand on its own two feet.

The lead roles are portrayed by Peter Cushing and Sue Lloyd who are both excellent: Cushing is the middle-aged surgical genius married to a much younger beauty who is reluctant to put her modeling career behind her. This exhibitionistic trait proves her undoing as, during a groovy party sequence (the Swinging Sixties also served as backdrop for the contemporaneous THE SORCERERS [1967] – coincidentally directed by the afore-mentioned Michael Reeves and starring another horror legend on his last legs, Boris Karloff!), Lloyd suffers partial but permanent facial disfigurement when a spotlight topples squarely on her face – following an unprecedented outburst of jealous rage in public from the usually calm and collected Cushing which culminates in a scuffle with a fashion photographer (Anthony Booth). Remorse-stricken, Cushing oversteps his bounds at the hospital where he works in search of a miracle cure but when this withers after a few days' success (with the improbable help of a laser beam dreamed up by ancient Egyptians!), he takes to scouring London's red-light district for possible 'live' donors of the required organ specimen.

Lloyd's sister (Kate O'Mara) – who, unaccountably, seems to live at her married sibling's house – is inconveniently (for Cushing) engaged to a suspicious colleague of his. To avert undue attention from their clandestine activities, they take a trip to a house by the sea but, even here, they are needful of an urgent transplant which presents itself in the lone figure of a bathing and seemingly innocuous youngster but she escapes their grips during the night before they can make 'use' of her. So, egged on by his increasingly batty and nagging wife, it's back to the drawing-board for Cushing…or, rather, the train station as he follows a blonde into her carriage and does her in (cutting her head off and stuffing her lifeless body unceremoniously under the seat) when they are left all alone.

Back at the seaside cottage, the ingénue bursts in on Cushing as he is 'playing around' with the blonde's head on the kitchen table – cue a jazzed-up three-way chase sequence across the beach and cliff-tops which ends, inevitably, in the girl's death (but not before she slams Cushing down with a rock in the face). A short while later, it transpires that the girl was married and her husband and his gang of misfits (including a butch and busty blonde and a gruff John Lennon-lookalike!) in search of "bread" crash the couple's household; Lloyd, completely insane by now, spills the beans about Cushing's involvement in the girl's death (even if it was she who actually killed her) and coerces the leader of the gang into forcing her reluctant husband to perform the usual operation on her face.

However, another scuffle breaks out in the operating room as a result of which the laser beam goes berserk and literally slices everybody up (including O'Mara and her doctor fiancé) who appear on the scene unheralded at the very last minute. The ending of the film seems to suggest that all the events that we've been witness to might just be somebody's feverish dream but one can't be too sure but, thankfully, this ambiguity dos not hamper the film's overall effectiveness or render it a cop-out (as usually happens in cheat ending cases like this). Hartford-Davis' direction is only occasionally flashy – particularly during the killings (although an unwilling participant, Cushing was rarely ever this unhinged) and afore-mentioned chase sequence. The latter third of the film – in which the gang impinges on the couple's seaside home – is its least successful element but that part is still relieved by its crazy ray free-for-all coda.

The film seems to have been available for some time in a longer, more exploitative Continental variant which went under the dubious title LASER KILLER! By the way, the cinematographer-producer of CORRUPTION was Peter Newbrook who would himself later helm a notable and cerebral British horror film – namely THE ASPHYX (1972).

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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