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I've always had a deep admiration for British actor Peter Cushing. He
was, after all, able to convincingly portray such a wide range of
characters on screen from Sherlock Holmes to Dr. Frankenstein,
instilling each role with cool intelligence plus an element of human
pathos. When one thinks of a Hammer horror film from the late 1950's
through the ensuing fifteen years, inevitably(apart from his frequent
co-star Christopher Lee)Cushing's name comes first to mind.
While CORRUPTION is not a Hammer film,(Columbia Pictures,surprisingly, is the distributor) it is a sheer delight for Cushing fans. Here, he portrays a respected surgeon who slowly goes insane, all for the love of his fiancé played by Sue Lloyd with her kitty claws rendered even sharper than the good doctor's scalpel. After a tragic accident which effectively ends her modeling career, Dr. Cushing works obsessively to repair the damage to poor disfigured Sue's face. Realizing the cure is to be found in the female pituitary gland, he wantonly murders and decapitates young, pretty lasses to achieve his goal.
After each of Cushing's kills in this flick, the camera graphically provides a distorted, fish eye lens view in which we see this eminent physician with hair disheveled and a manic look which has to be seen to be believed. Eventually, an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame reduces the doctor to a quivering mess of nerves as he tries to find solace in the bottle. He certainly won't find it in Sue. She has issues of her own which, in comparison, make Dr. Cushing look almost sane. The climax to all this blood & spatter is provided by a high powered laser(part of the cure,apparently, for Sue's face) which looks more at home in GOLDFINGER than a spartan medical lab.
CORRUPTION is a florid feast for the eyes,too, as we see swinging 1967 Carnaby Street fashions worn by both sexes. Anthony Booth really camps it up as an Andy Warhol wannabe portraying a fashion photographer who tries to shoot a nudie-cutie roll of film with Sue Lloyd to devastating results. Since this is 'Swinging London' there are mini-skirted girls aplenty, with special mention to bimbette Shirley Stelfox whom no party would be complete without. She doesn't wear flowers in her hair, but under her eyes.
CORRUPTION is a delirious roller coaster of madness, mayhem and a minimum of mirth. Character actor David Lodge does appear as a cretinous villain called 'Groper.' Watching him salute(don't ask why) is one of the highlights.
Anyway, after seeing CORRUPTION, don't be surprised if you feel uneasy opening the freezer door of your fridge. Some cold cuts are better left untouched.
Marketed with the ridiculously misogynistic tag-line 'This is not a
woman's picture! No women will be allowed in alone!', Robert
Hartford-Davis's Corruption is hugely enjoyable 60s horror trash which
should prove to be of particular interest to fans of Peter Cushing, who
gives an uncharacteristically manic performance as Sir John Rowan, an
eminent surgeon who, after accidentally scarring his beautiful
girlfriend, turns to murdering women to obtain the fresh pituitary
glands necessary to repair the damage.
The normally reserved star of countless Hammer horrors slugs it out with an Austin Powers style photographer (played by Anthony Booth, ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair's father-in-law) at a swinging sixties party, decapitates a blonde babe before shoving her headless body under a seat in a railway carriage, and, on the uncut version of the film known as Laser Killer, even smears blood all over a dead prostitute's tits. And if that isn't enough to whet your appetite for this bonkers take on George Franju's classic Les Yeux Sans Visage, viewers are also treated to a gang of psycho Sgt. Pepper rejects (which includes Eastender's star Bill Murray, and Carry On regular David Lodge as the completely demented Groper), a penultimate scene that sees everyone killed by a malfunctioning laser, and an outrageously daft twist ending that makes a mockery of all that has gone before!
In addition to all of this sleaze and craziness, Corruption also benefits from surprisingly well defined lead characters: although it is the guilt-ridden Rowan who does the actual killing, the real villain of the piece is his narcissistic fiancé Lynn Nolan (Sue Lloyd), whose lascivious behaviour at the party causes the fight that results in her accident, and who ultimately drives Rowan to murder. The poor surgeon is merely her pawn: a middle-aged man so completely obsessed with the young woman he has fallen in love with that he will do anything to keep her happy.
Since it is currently unavailable as an official release, a good quality copy of Corruption is hard to find. However, hunting down the film is highly recommended, whatever the format or condition.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Corruption is a somewhat unpleasant tale, featuring one of the most
energetic and maniacal performances that Peter Cushing has ever given. It
tells of a top surgeon (Cushing) who injures his fiancee during a violent
argument. Her face is permanently scarred as a result and Cushing feels
terrible about what he has done to her. However, since he's a surgeon, he
decides that he might be able to help her. He discovers that by taking
pituitary fluid from other women, he can restore the beauty to her scarred
face for a short time. This leads to a vicious murder spree in which Dr.
Cushing kills numerous women for the fluid that will keep his girlfriend
With a plot like that it was never going to be the best of films. But for a film made in 1967, this is really quite startling in its violence and depravity. In one extraordinary scene, a severed head is found in Cushing's refrigerator. In another, Cushing assaults and murders a woman on a train, his face twisted into terrible anger as he carries out the deplorable deed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILERS INCLUDED Corruption is a super shock film' boasts the press book set to pictures of screaming women- and indeed for audiences and critics in 1967 it was just that. The enfant terribe of sixties horror films Corruption manages to touch upon every topic censors feared in movies at the time- the hedonism of swinging london, prostitution, violent youth gangs and mad surgeons. It was also an independent production- released through a major company (Columbia) which further took critics off guard. Almost ten years after it was made a critic of the old guard was still using it as a benchmark for british cinema at its sickest- it had that a lasting impact. Corruption posits a typically regal Cushing as Sir John Rowan- surgeon extraordinaire Rowan is to be married to younger model Lynn Nolan (Sue Lloyd). A woman who lives for cameras' Lynn drags Rowan to a swinging party, she's only really happy when she's the centre of attention- revelling in the leers of swinging photographer Tony Booth give me the pretty girl bit.. freak out baby'. Jealousy rears its head and there is a fight between Rowan and this hipster that ends with a photographers floodlamp crashing down on Lynn's beloved face. Lynn and Rowan retreat into their own narcissistic little worlds she lamenting her mutilated looks while he becomes obsessive in attempts to restore his masterpiece'. Rowan takes to doing DIY surgery with his laser machine, eventually becoming a reluctant Soho slasher to remove the pituitary glands that briefly restore his beloveds face. Taking a trip down the West end that ends with him calling on prostitute Jan Waters, Rowan appears edgy and guilt ridden as if he really has come for a quickie- instead he butchers the girl bringing her severed head home in a bag. A continental' take on this scene available on french video- replays it as a primal expression of the sex and death ethos- here Rowan wrestles with topless Marianne Collins who he stabs and decapitates, copping a feel of her blood splattered chest inbetween- everyone behind the camera denied shooting this footage. (For Derek Ford this was the first of many times he would disown the more egregious aspects of his career- he later distanced himself from Diversions the hardcore version of Sex Express as well as the whole of the Dick Randall produced dialogue free oddity Erotic Fantasies). With headlines like new clue in headless girl murder' the couple flee the capital and head for their seaside house in Seaford. Rowan sees this as his own Shangri-la but mad' Lynn's need for another pituitary gland fix is as strong as ever and soon Rowan is back to his butchering ways. In keeping with the spirit of the times the murder scenes are shot like bad acid trips with memorable closeups on a dishevelled Sir John reduced to a dirty old mac doing unspeakable things to young girls. Boarding a train he decapitates blond passenger Valerie Van Ost, regaining his gentleman posture as he puts the girl's head in his bag and hides the decapitated torso under the seats like a used broadsheet. Eventually Rowan's home is invaded by freaky juvenile thugs including Groper (David Lodge) a primate in beatniks clothing. Chunky Alexandra Dane who later specialised in playing busty barmaids goes to raid Rowan's fridge only to find Valerie Van Ost's severed head wrapped in polythene- with that all hell breaks loose, people are thrown over cliffs, theres brawls and dramatic fistfights. Lynn turns on the laser machine which like everyone else by this point goes berserk- everyone gets zapped and dies, but its still not over. Inspired by an article in The New Scientist but more commonly compared to Franju's Les Yeux sans Visage, Corruption is so tied to Robert Hartford-Davis' overblown take on the swinging sixties scene that it develops an identity thats all its own. Aware that the whole worlds eyes were on London at the time Corruption feeds off audience expectations of the swinging' capital with amongst other things Rowan's cinema verite trip around the West End with hand-held shots of the Windmill theatre and the Jacey cinema where Onibaba is playing along side Nudist Paradise. Earlier Davis had made Saturday Night Out (1963) based around the London experience with a bunch of sailors encountering strip-bars, sexual blackmail and boho chicks. Today both Corruption and Saturday Night Out seem visionary- Saturday Night Out setting the tone for many sexploitation features that followed and Corruption laying railroad tracks for tawdry horror films of the topless prostitutes and severed heads in the fridge variety. For all the films detractors, Davis brings to Corruption a spirted anarchic bent thats rarely been matched in British horror films before or since. According to Cushing, Corruption made Davis enough money to retire, but he went onto direct such worthwhile pictures as the greek psychedelic oddity Incense for the Damned (1969/76) and the bitter The Fiend (1971). Unfortunately as a gun for hire filmmaker Davis' most commercially available films lend him the posthumous tag of a hack- like the blaxploitation movie Black Gunn (1972) and the misfire Gonks Go Beat (1965). He ended his days directing television movies in Hollywood- the long unavailability of his best work denies him the recognition that films like Corruption surely warrant.
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."Corruption" aka "Laser Killer" is a surprisingly sleazy British shocker.The murder of semi-nude Soho prostitute is quite nasty and depraved.Peter Cushing's performance as an insane surgeon is brilliant."Corruption" ain't tasteful and restrained.To put it simply it's an exploitation flick with incredibly noble Peter Cushing in the main role.That's why it's worth checking out.Connect it with "Diversions" and have fun.7 eyes without a face out of 10.
Story of a brilliant doctor (Peter Cushing) in love with a beautiful
younger woman (Sue Lloyd). During a fight at a party they're at, Lloyd
becomes disfigured when a flood lamp falls on her face. Cushing becomes
obsessed at restoring her beauty and will do anything to do it--even
Plot wise this has been done before (most notably in the French film "Eyes Without a Face") but this isn't totally without merit. Cushing is excellent as a man who is driven to murder for his lover. You can see that he hates doing it but feels he has to. Lloyd, surprisingly, is not an innocent woman. She knows he's killing for her and actually spurs him on! Aside from those two performances though this is pretty by the numbers...except for an incredibly silly ending which had me laughing out loud! Also there is incredibly inappropriate music blaring sometimes on the soundtrack that's totally out of place. This is pretty much forgotten and it's easy to see why. Worth catching though for Cushing's acting alone.
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
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  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).
A doctor (Peter Cushing) will go to great lengths for his lover. When
her face is scarred, he develops a new treatment to cure skin blemishes
by using the endocrine glands of the dead. But fresh dead bodies are in
short supply, so when he discovers the treatment may take a few doses,
he has to resort to extreme measures.
What bothers me about this review is that I know I've seen multiple films that feature doctors who have to kill again and again to help treat the woman they love, but I can't think of any examples just now. I am a failure in the horror historian department right now. (Edit: Obvious examples include "Eyes Without a Face" and "The Ape".)
But as this film was made in the 1960s, one would suspect that a great many films owe a debt to Cushing and the creators of this film. (At the time of this review, the movie is not available on VHS or DVD, so good luck tracking it down.) I really enjoyed this movie, as it captures the 1960s feel and has a dirtiness to it without being gory or disgusting. Sure, there's some stabbing and a severed head. But it's pretty tame by modern standards. Hippies and beatniks have a role in here and there's a gang of thugs that seem to be heavily influenced by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Two things really sell this film beyond the fact it is just a simple but great plot. First, Peter Cushing. Between Cushing and Christopher Lee, Cushing was always my preferred of the two. I think Vincent Price will always be the master of the era, but Cushing is capable of roles that Price would never be considered for. (It is amazing how often either of them get to play evil doctors, really.) The other thing is a twist towards the end that evokes "A Clockwork Orange" in some respects (though, again, this film came first). I will not give it away, because once I was restfully in position to see a third act about a doctor screwing up and getting caught, I was thrown into a whirlwind and given something almost completely random.
If you can find a copy of this one, see it. Peter Cushing does not disappoint, and the supporting cast is also excellent. I especially enjoyed the actress who played the hitchhiker Terry (Wendy Varnals). The video quality on my original copy was pretty shot, but given the manner I watched it in, that was not surprising. Since then, Grindhouse Releasing has put out a beautiful 2K scan with audio commentary, liner notes and interviews. They have taken this forgotten gem and made it a cult classic.
The legendary Peter Cushing gets a particularly sleazy vehicle with
this "Eyes Without a Face" inspired thriller / dark comedy. It's
definitely unrelenting and delivers many lurid thrills. Directed with
flair by Robert Hartford-Davis ("Black Gunn", "The Black Torment"),
it's irresistible for placing the distinguished actor in modern
swinging London. The characters are damn entertaining and the murders
are effectively brutal. The only thing that really hurts "Corruption"
is the loud and jaunty jazz score by Bill McGuffie; in one instance of
a climactic chase scene, it's particularly intrusive. Otherwise, this
is tons of fun, a silly and sordid tale of obsession written by
brothers Donald and Derek Ford ("A Study in Terror"), and produced and
photographed by Peter Newbrook, later director of "The Asphyx".
Cushing plays a prominent surgeon named Sir John Rowan, who dotes on his fiancée Lynn Nolan (Sue Lloyd), a model, enough that he accompanies her to a party where he's clearly out of his element. While there, she begins to be photographed by slick and slimy Mike Orme (Anthony Booth), and not liking this, John gets into a fight with Mike that causes a flood lamp to come crashing down and burn & scar Lynns' face. Wracked with guilt, John works to perfect a revolutionary technique utilizing the pituitary glands of donors. When he realizes that he needs fresh specimens for the procedure to work, he's not above resorting to murder. However, he's willing to stop at one victim, while the demented Lynn is so hellbent on maintaining her beauty that she tries to convince him to commit more murders.
The appearances of several new characters - including a thug named Groper, hilariously played by David Lodge - gives the movie a real shot in the arm, and helps to carry it along to an awe-inspiring big finish involving an out of control laser. Until then, there's enough amusing material here to keep the audience watching. One simply *has* to find out how all of this insanity will be resolved. Cushing is excellent, of course, and completely throws himself into his part. (He's never looked quite as dishevelled as he looks here.) Lloyd is deliciously nutty and the two of them are well supported by such players as Noel Trevarthen as Johns' colleague, Kate O'Mara as Lynns' sister, Wendy Varnals as comely "hitchhiker" Terry, and Phillip Manikum as smooth criminal Georgie.
This comes highly recommended, to fans of trash and Cushing completists everywhere.
Eight out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Talking to a friend about Horror related movie clips that they had
recently discovered on Youtube,the one which instantly stood out from
the pack was a "deleted scene" from a near forgotten 1967 Horror movie
starring Peter Cushing!. Checking round online for info about the
film,I was shocked to discover that this movie is said to be the only
one the Peter Cushing (who agreed to do the movie,due to it being
filmed near by to where he was looking after his very ill wife.) found
truly unsettling to work on.
Quickly finding out that no edition of this distinctive film was available on Amazon,I decided to do an extensive search,until I eventually ran into the completely uncut "France cut"! of the movie,which would give me a chance to view this corrupt operation in full.
Getting himself caught up in a shoving match with a photographer over the photographer wanting the female model to "show more skin",surgeon Sir John Rowan accidentally causes a camera light to fall and land on his girlfriend and wannabe model Lynn Nolan.Pushing everyone else to the side,Rowan rushes to pull the now set a blaze light off Nolan.Reaching her in the nick of time,John is able to save Lynn from certain death,but is sadly unable to save half of Nolan's beautiful face from being burnt.
Taking it upon himself to look after Lynn's every need,Rowan soon begins to relies that no matter how much of his heart he gives to her,Nolan will always see her self as a "beast" due to the damage that he has done to her.Finding all his other ideas to fail in repairing Lynn's skin,Rowan begins to consider about doing an "expirmeant" on Nolan,which will involve him having to kill young women,so that he can cut out glands from their faces and put them into Lynn's,so the she can finally see herself to be as beautiful on the outside as John sees her on the inside.
View on the film:
Opening this terrifically psycho film on the sight of Peter Cushing being in the middle of a "happening" party,director Robert Hartford- Davis gives the movie a real grubby sticky feeling which is most prominent in scenes such as Sir John Rowan operating on the unlucky victims,and also when one of the paternal victims (a prostitute) shows Rowan that she wont take his murdering ways laying down!.Along with the moments of grubbiness,Davis shows a real skill in building up tension for two of the best scenes in the film,with a scene on a train having Davis cleverly use the "steam" soundtrack to match the increasing heartbeats of the characters,and also turn a simple "walk along the beach" into a sped-up proto-Slasher moment.
Being the centre of attention in a wonderfully mix 'N' match cast,which features the future father in law of Tony Blair, (Anthony Booth) a star from the Carry On series (David Lodge) and an unexpectedly great,mean and cunning performance from Soap star Sue Lloyd,Peter Cushing's clear unease over the activates that Sir John partakes in Derek and Donald Ford's well paced mad scientist turned on its head plot,helps to give Rowan a more "natural" personality then simply being a crazy doctor.With the growing relationship between Lynn and John being the main thread of the story,Ccushing always impressively makes sure that Rowan's reasons for going to these extremes,as Cushing shows John to always give Lynn,a quiet tender hopefulness,which eventually leads to Rowan being blinded in seeing Nolan slowly becoming increasingly cunning and deranged.
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