Corruption is a 1967 British science fiction horror film directed by Robert Hartford-Davis, from a screenplay by Derek Ford (Don’t Open Till Christmas, The Urge to Kill) and Donald Ford. It was also released as Carnage and Laser Killer.
Peter Cushing, Sue Lloyd, Noel Trevarthen, Kate O’Mara (The Vampire Lovers), David Lodge (The Fiend; Scream and Scream Again), Wendy Varnals, Billy Murray and Vanessa Howard (What Became of Jack and Jill?).
Plastic surgeon Sir John Rowan (Cushing)’s girlfriend’s face is badly burned and scarred in an incident involving a large lamp.
Luckily, Rowan has happened upon the secrets of the Ancient Egyptians and has harnessed the use of pituitary glands and a large laser (what Ancient Egyptians were doing with one of these is anyone’s guess) to restore her beautiful looks.
Alas, whilst on holiday, her face reverts to awful ghastliness and Rowan realises that the aforementioned glands must be from a live specimen, not dead; alas, for ladies of slack morals, this means he will be roaming the streets and relieving prostitutes of select parts of their innards.
What follows, as Rowan and his girlfriend connive to keep her looks pristine, is an ever-escalating spiral of depravity until they are both rumbled and it becomes a fight to the death…
Corruption may well be the most eyebrow-raising British horror film of the 60s and despite the rather Austin Powers-like depiction of the sixties at the beginning (Hartford-Davis was a master of this, having already helmed the likes of Gonks Go Beat and The Yellow Teddy Bears) the film progresses to scenes you would never imagine featuring Peter Cushing, from surprisingly full-on snogging, nudity and plenty of savage killings.
European prints of the film featured more nudity along with a scene of Cushing’s bloody hands groping a victim’s breasts. The tone of the film is oddly downbeat, no Hammer comedy klaxons or sunrise endings here.
Cushing delivers the most manic performance of his career, surprisingly believable and an excellent foil to his girlfriend, played by Lloyd, who you lose sympathy with pretty quickly.
The supporting cast is also excellent – particularly the foul, weirdness of David Lodge – all thoroughly repellent and a suitable collective to sound the British fanfare to the end of the innocent sixties and welcome in the grey grime of the seventies.
Daz Lawrence, MOVIES & MANIA
On October 2nd, 2013, Grindhouse Releasing issued Corruption on Blu-ray + DVD in the USA. The package features:
- 2 Disc set – Deluxe dual layer Blu-ray Edition + DVD combo
- Spectacular new hi-definition digital restoration of the original uncensored version – PLUS – the “International Version” of the movie with bloody violence and nudity presented for the very first time in America
- Interviews with stars Wendy Varnals, Billy Murray, Jan Waters and Peter Cushing
- Audio commentary by acclaimed UK horror journalist Jonathan Rigby and Peter Cushing biographer David Miller
- Isolated music and effects track
- Liner notes by Allan Bryce, editor of British horror magazine The Dark Side
- Extensive still galleries, trailers, TV spots and radio spots
- The original annotated director’s shooting script and production notes
- Shocking reversible cover with original art by notorious illustrator Rick Melton
Grindhouse Releasing prevues of coming attractions
- Buy Corruption on Grindhouse Releasing Blu-ray + DVD combo from Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk
Directed with efficiency by Robert Hartford-Davis, Corruption is one of the unsung greats of British horror, appearing as it did right at the start of a shift in gears away from the gothic and into more contemporary, mean-spirited and graphic movies.
The screenplay, by exploitation veterans Donald and Derek Ford (who would make everything from gothic horror to skin flicks in their careers) is a masterclass in efficiency – the story trundles along so quickly, you have little time to question how ludicrous it might be, and the shift in gears with the introduction of the gang – a decidedly modern threat (just dig their Carnaby Street fashions!) against Cushing’s almost traditional mad doctor – is inspired.
David Flint, MOVIES & MANIA
“The standard of acting helps lift the film above being just another sleazy shocker. Lloyd is wonderfully effective as the cool model who transforms into a kill-crazed harpy, and Booth and O’Mara are great in their supporting roles […] Cushing is absolutely brilliant as the desperate and rather pathetic Sir John, horrified at what he’s been reduced to.” Jumble Sale Frenzy!
“A clinically nasty exploitation movie, derivative and gory and made with a complete absence of style.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook
Corruption was turned into a novelization by ‘Peter Saxon‘
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