From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
I first learned of the film CORRUPTION from the 42nd Street Forever movie preview series. This trailer in particular is one of my old favorites as it plays to heighten the feeling of suspense to an absurd degree with the narrator exclaiming "RUN!....RUN!!...RUN!!...". It really makes the lead character played by Hammer Horror legend Peter Cushing seem to be one diabolical sicko who is unstoppable. The main question you'll have after you see it is: does the actual film live up to all that intensity and hype? Well I'll be answering that right now with my review of GRINDHOUSE RELEASING's Special Peter Cushing 100th Anniversary Edition Blu Ray/DVD spectacular of this long awaited cult release!
Cushing stars as successful surgeon Sir John Rowan. After being invited to a swinging London party one evening, he and his lovely girlfriend Lynn (Sue Lloyd) attend. It's clear right away that the more mature Rowan is out of his element, as the young crowd, who are in full love-in mode, dance to the music and get wild. Lynn is a successful model so she meets with her photographer (Tony Booth), a goofy guy who looks like he was completely influenced by David Hemmings in Antonioni's Blowup. Lynn wants to take some photos for fun, but soon the overzealous photog gets a bit rougher than he should and John, now clearly irritated, begins to intervene. This leads to a scrappy push n' shove match (one of many to come) and the men accidentally knock over a large arclight which lands square on Lynn's beautiful face, burning it to a crisp. John soon becomes obsessed with finding a way to remove the scarring using his medical expertise. Lynn's faithful sister Val (Kate O'Mara) assists him in trying to get her back to normal and keep her subdued. Through some brilliant experimental research he discovers a method to bring back the flesh's subtle appearance by using a special laser scalpel along with pituitary glands (taken from cadavers). The initial surgery goes well and the scar miraculously dissapears. Lynn and John then go on a trip to celebrate but only a few days later, they return due to the scar reappearing. John is now desperate to keep Lynn happy, but the problem is driving them both mental. He is forced to commit murder, in turn becoming a Jack The Ripper-esque killer to get more fresh glands from other young women to keep his squeeze looking pretty. Each of Rowan's attacks are shot with a fish eye effect which really adds a frenzied quality to the scenes.
The story then moves from the cramped urban environs of London to the open English countryside when John and Lynn leave town to lay low. At their seaside cottage they notice a teenager (Wendy Varnals) frolicking on the rocks nearby and the two invite her to stay with them. Of course we know where this is going, but things become more complicated when the girl's boyfriend (Billy Murray) and his gang of off-kilter Beatles clones (David Lodge, Philip Manikum, Alexandra Dane) suddenly show up and cause more trouble for John and Lynn who have a bloody secret they don't want discovered.
Director Robert Hartford-Davis (School for Unclaimed Girls, Bloodsuckers, Black Gunn) does an exceptional job in keeping the suspense, thrills and pacing of the film going strong throughout the running time. I was really impressed by the entire production and can plainly see how CORRUPTION, (based on the French classic Eyes Without A Face) got its unique cult classic status. The premise is rather crazy, I mean someone going to such extremes because of a facial scar, but that just adds to the wackiness and offbeat nature of the whole thing. It's also really enjoyable to see Peter Cushing outside of his usual Hammer Horror digs. The film has the same kind of perverse feel as Michael Powell's Peeping Tom with Cushing's Rowan stalking and heinously killing the pretty birds. It does truly stand out for its over the top and rather unnerving qualities especially when you consider it was made in the Summer of Love before Charles Manson appeared, which as we now know marked the end of the peace and love era.
Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. A Massachusetts native, he is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life. He is currently majoring in Communications and Interactive Media Design.