Review by Jude Felton
The late 1960’s London, the scene was swinging and the heads were rolling in this gruesome little gem from director Robert Hartford-Davis and starring the late, great Peter Cushing. Thanks to Grindhouse Releasing we get to see this movie in two different edits; the US/UK version and the “International” cut.
Made in the wake of England winning the World Cup, which you can tell by the alarming amount of Union Jack hats in the opening party scene, Corruption follows Sir John Rowan, played with the usual finesse by Peter Cushing. He’s an incredibly successful surgeon who’s younger girlfriend, Lynn, is caught in the midst of the London fashion scene.
At one particularly groovy party, tragedy befalls Lynn, in the form of an accident that leaves her horrifically scarred. Bad enough in itself, but a double blow when you make your living at a model.
Rowan is wracked with guilt, and throws himself head first into trying to find a way to restore his fiancé’s face. Meanwhile, Lynn is a shadow of her former self, confining herself to her bedroom. Rowan finds assistance in the shape of Lynn’s sister, Val (a very young Kate O’Mara), who helps all she can.
Eventually, Rowan believes he has found a solution to his problems. However, this will involve methods that would be frowned upon, if anyone found out, and build up to a potential murder spree.
Corruption itself is really a great little film, falling as it does between the classic horror of Frankenstein and the more recent gore-fest, Re-Animator. In effect it borrows a little from the former and influenced the latter (in terms of the Stuart Gordon film). Peter Cushing starts the film playing very much to type; the well-to-do upper middle class gentleman, before crashing down into madness and lunacy. It really is one of his more underrated performances. Mind you, Cushing could have made making a cup of tea look both graceful and cinematic.
Although not the goriest film of 1968, it certainly wasn’t afraid to splash around the body parts, and it definitely had a real sleaze factor to it, once it escaped the earlier shackles of the London scene. The film’s success is, in my opinion, down to the performances of the cast, both young and old. Of course, we expect great things from Cushing, and he duly obliges, but also Sue Lloyd (as Lynn), Kate O’Mara and a young Billy Murray (later to be seen in such TV shows as The Bill and Eastenders, as well as films like Doghouse and Airbourne).
This is a film that successfully takes the swinging sixties, and all its Austin Powers future material, and slowly adds the sleaze and violence, thus turning it into a rather delightfully horror flick.
As you might well have come to expect from Grindhouse Releasing, they have given Corruption the royal treatment. The first thing to notice is the reversible sleeve, which features the uncut artwork on one side (so swap them around now, chaps) and also a fold-out poster with liner notes. Dig into the discs themselves, as you’re getting both Blu-ray and DVD here, and you’ll find plenty to occupy your time. Personally, I found it fascinating to watch the interviews, with cast members recalling their experiences. There’s also an audio commentary and much more; Grindhouse do not mess about with their release.
Having not seen Corruption before, I cannot tell you how much of an improvement the picture quality on the Blu-ray is. What I can tell you though is that this version looks damned good; the picture is crystal clear, with bright and vibrant colors.
Corruption may be a slightly lesser known title, to come from Grindhouse, but it is no less captivating. This is a release for collectors, fans and newcomers alike, AND it’s region-free. What more could you ask for? Go and buy it.
Corruption is released by Grindhouse Releasing on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and is available now.