You watch so many Peter Cushing movies that you forget that he wasn’t always Van Helsing. He wasn’t always Dr. Frankenstein. He’s been in some of my favorite Amicus and Hammer films, but he was in Star Wars too. Star Wars seems pretty far away when discussing 1967’s Corruption, a super sleaze, Cushing-Gone-Wild cut ’em up fest that resembles a Herschell Gordon Lewis, gore pic more than a moderately high-brow adaptation of a classic piece of monster fiction. By all means, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. H.G. Lewis “put the blood on the boobies” movies are some of my favorite. It’s just strange to Cushing with the meat cutter in hand. That’s probably the best reason for you to watch this movie; because everyone deserves to see Peter Cushing going absolutely psychotic in an apartment with a prossie, painting her beautiful mammaries with Crayola red genius.
Synopsis from Grindhouse Releasing:
The legendary Peter Cushing stars as a surgeon driven to murder and madness as he attempts to restore the beauty of his hideously disfigured fashion model wife.
The latest round of Grindhouse Releasing discs on gorgeous Blu-ray are a treat. This particular release feels as obscure as any. An American Hippie in Israel may have seemed like it was pushing the boundaries, Corruption actually takes a well known and loved actor and shows his range. On the disc in an interview with Billy Murray, Cushing is described a country gentleman. That’s the way I’ve always thought of him. He’s reserved, calm. It seems that not even the Count could startle him, but Corruption shows that he can appear panicked and violent, the antagonist rather than the passive victim or tried and true hero. If you want to know what madness looks like, you should see the way that Cushing’s comb over flops to and fro while assaulting young women in an attempt to satiate his female companion’s thirst for perfect beauty. The damn thing has a mind of it’s own and swirls and dervishes while the camera take extreme close ups and pulls back in a frenzy of pleasing confusion. Corruption is as intense as the hip groovy London underground in which it is set.
The Blu-ray/DVD combo is a packed disc. Dramatic new cover art with alternate “filthy booby” cover on the flipside is a work of art. The release contains a poster/booklet inside which could be framed or read offering a greater appreciation of this obscure work. The transfer itself is high quality. My initial viewing was on a laptop in a Vegas bathtub; it works well on the big screen too I assure you. It’s a 2k digital resto with multiple versions (one the censored US/UK release and the other contains the naughty bits). The alternate scenes are actually pulled out in the feature section so you can appreciate them as an isolated viewing.
Interviews include Billy Murray who is actually really fascinating when discussing the place in his career in which Corruption had a part. Jan Waters, Wendy Varnals and even a tape interview with Cushing are all included on the disc. The usual stills, spots and trailers come along for the ride and the commentary is Jonathan Rigby, author of English Gothic as well as David Miller, Cushing biographer. Like I said before; this is a packed disc.
Now before we go off and taught the “extreme nature of material” in Corruption, remember that this movie may have been extreme in the 60’s but it’s somewhat tame compared to today’s standard. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t without it’s aesthetically pleasing violent charm. Just remember that before people drop gallons of sheep guts on their actors, studios let the audience use their imagination. If you want to see all the rumored boobies you’ll have to make sure to click the International release option on the disc. While it isn’t a smorgasbord of ta ta’s, it’s the quality that counts. Oh, and beware of the groovie mod music of the period that is very reminiscent of what Hammer would do with Dracula AD 1972. This is clearly not a Hammer picture in the scope of production, location or writing quality, but that’s part of it’s charm.
Full release notes:
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 the celebrated 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 prevue
When one thinks of the Grindhouse era of cinema, where theaters popped up showing movies that were well below the moral code of the time, filled with grit and murder, sex and nudity as well as gallons of the fake red stuff, Corruption is a movie that epitomizes the best traits of that moment in time. 1967/68 was when the exploitation genre was gaining speed and becoming modestly acceptable at least by those who wanted to get naked in the back of their car at a drive-in. It’s not exactly the worst of the 42nd Street flickers. Peter Cushing is a gentleman after all.
A Cushing Alias of course.