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Corruption (1968)

Studio: Grindhouse Releasing

Theatrical Release: December 4, 1968

Blu Ray Release: October 8, 2013

Director: Robert Hartford-Davis


Review by James Klein

Corruption may be Peter Cushing's most graphic and bloodiest film he has ever done and thanks to Grindhouse Releasing, they have released a big special edition DVD/blu ray combo on the man's 100th birthday. I have never seen Corruption and new very little about it aside from seeing a trailer at some point in the past. Boy, was I in for a shock. Mostly known for being in period gothic horror films, Corruption is set in modern time (well, 1968) with Cushing playing a homicidal crazed doctor. Do I have your attention now?

Cushing plays Sir John Rowan, a distinguished surgeon who lives a happy life with his supermodel young fiancé Lynn (the late Sue Lloyd). When she drags him to a psychedelic party, hosted by her former fashion photographer, Cushing takes offense when the photographer tries to get his wife to take off her clothes during an impromptu photo session. As the two men tangle with one another, they knock over a huge Tungsten light which slams down on Lynn's face, burning her.

As Rowan tries desperately to save her life and restore her beauty, he gets the idea of taking the fluids from the pituitary gland of other women. However, he must kill them to do so. Rowan starts off by killing a prostitute and is able to restore Lynn's beauty but when the scars soon come back, she blackmails him into killing again and again to save her beauty and career.
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Corruption is a hell of a lot of fun. It's great to see Cushing play a man who is just so whipped by his self-centered fiancé, becoming a lunatic when he has to decapitate his victims. I loved how the film plays out as the viewer begins to like Lynn and feel sympathy for her until she starts to lose her mind along with her husband. Both actors are wonderful and their chemistry works well. The supporting cast is just as good with Wendy Varnals playing a Cockney floozy house guest, David Lodge playing a simple minded beatnik, and Billy Murray as Wendy Varnals idiotic boyfriend who tries to break into Rowan's home.
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I especially loved seeing late 60's Britain. At times it looks as if Austin Powers was going to pop up at some point. The clothes, music, style...it's so great to see and adds to Cushing's out of touch Rowan as he tries to fit in with his future wife (I don't think much acting had to be done for Cushing here). And I will enjoy any movie with a deadly laser, wasting people left and right in the films bizarre climax. This is one film not to be missed.
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Grindhouse's blu ray looks pretty awesome. There are a few shots that look soft but for the most part the picture looks clear. The soundtrack is also quite loud so no need to turn the volume up when actors speak. Now, the best part of this blu ray is that we get two versions of the film: the uncut American/UK version and the "international" version that contains an alternate take of Rowan's first murder. In the American/UK cut, the actress that plays the prostitute is portrayed by Jan Waters who keeps her bathrobe on. In the "international" version, the actress is portrayed by Marianne Morris who goes topless for her death scene. She also gets her throat slit with Cushing even fondling her breast briefly!
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Rounding out the special features are interviews with various actors, an audio interview with Cushing in 1974 where he preaches about how films have become too "juvenile". His dislike for the word "shit" is especially funny and I found it interesting that he disliked A Clockwork Orange and The Exorcist. He even thinks Chinatown was just average while saying he wished more films were like The Sting. Great audio interview! There is also a fantastic trailer that warns women to not see this film alone as well as a booklet on the making of the film. One minor complaint: there are various trailers for other Grindhouse Releasing films, some not available on DVD or blu ray. For the love of God, release these films! I cannot tell you how badly I want to see Massacre Mafia Style.

Great movie, great blu ray. For fans of Peter Cushing, 60's horror, or just good cinema, I cannot recommend Corruption enough.

[Rating: 4.5]

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