It’s nice to see the highly versatile Peter Cushing step outside of his generally mild-mannered roles and sink into some of the lower levels of depravity. In Corruption from 1968 Cushing plays John Rowan, a surgeon who snaps when his model girlfriend, Lynn – played by Sue Lloyd – befalls a freak accident during a photo shoot and her perfect face is maimed by a hot lamp that comes crashing down on her. He discovers that he can regenerate her skin by extracting fluid from the pituitary glands of other women. Naturally, this means he has to slay them in a most excellent display of heinous butchery.
aka: Laser Killer
UK, 1968, Robert Hartford-Davis
It totes tagline: “Corruption Is Not A Woman’s Picture! Therefore: No Woman Will Be Admitted Alone To See This Super-Shock Film!” – while my instinct was to be mildly offended by such a claim, it was clearly effective because heightened my curiosity.
The violence towards women is no more outstanding than basically every other horror movie ever made. That being said, to see Peter Cushing of all actors graphically decapitating a hooker juxtaposed with a dismembered baby doll is a visual I regard with highest level of adoration and reverence.
While the more romantic elements of the story line were somewhat static, it consistently revives itself with inspired glimpses of brilliance in the onslaught of Cushing’s eruptions of brutality. Sue Lloyd’s character becomes so obsessed with maintaining her beauty that she uses her feminine wiles to manipulate Cushing into continuing his homicidal rampage in order to satiate her ego.
As the film progresses he descents further into madness and inevitable chaos ensues. Aside from having a talented cast and filmmaker on its side, the upbeat jazz score adds a vigorous pacing to the film as well as a little extra potency to the budding tension.
While Corruption has found a small audience over the years it has mostly slipped into obscurity. Peter Cushing would have turned 100 years old in 2013, and thanks to Grindhouse Releasing, Corruption was put out just in time to commemorate his centennial. Had Cushing not signed on it would have fallen even further into cinematic ambiguity. While it’s certainly not his classiest role, he still manages to bring his trademark integrity to the part making it one of his most unconventional performances and thus creating a totally unique and worthwhile film experience.
A blu-ray/DVD combo of Corruption is available from Grindhouse Releasing.