Monday, August 18, 2008

Corruption (Great Britain, 1968)

(A version of this review appeared in a print copy of the excellent film magazine Shock Cinema some half-dozen years ago. If you don’t know the magazine, you should. For more info on Shock Cinema, check out their homepage).

(Trailer) It's Golden Turkey time, but in a good way. A true follower of the William Beaudine school of film making, Robert Hartford-Davis is the type of director one can best describe as a "hack auteur"... or at least he was by the time he died at 54 in 1977. At the start of his career, his cinematic vision leaned mostly towards art house exploitation like The Yellow Teddybear Girls (1963) or The Sandwich Man (1966) before he dived headlong into unapologetic, hyperkinetic trash. His name graces some truly entertaining trash, ranging from truly inept to simply sordid. This best (of his worst) includes The Bloodsuckers (1971), one of the more laughable vampire films of the genre, and Black Gunn (1972), one of the more embarrassing Blaxpliotation films that Jim Brown – or Martin Landau, for that matter – ever had the displeasure of starring in. Corruption is a fourth rate, full color regurgitation of the 1959 classic French horror film, Les Yeux Sans Visage (Eyes Without A Face), and as can be expected of a film that stoops so low, the film is truly entertaining flotsam. In Corruption, instead of a loving Daddy trying to replace the face of his daughter, we have Peter Cushing as famous surgeon out to restore the beauty of his bitchy fashion model fiancée (Sue Lloyd) after he inadvertently causes her disfigurement. Having discovered a restoration technique that combines laser technology with a serum made from the pituitary glands of dead women, the two are dismayed to find out that the effects are only temporary. Bug-eyed and with beads of sweat on his forehead, the doc goes head-hunting while the ex-model applies lipstick to her scarred face. Both the good doctor and the bitch go more and more batty with each woman murdered, and the whole situation finally explodes in the laboratory of their coastal house when they are interrupted mid-preparation by a group of thieving, psychopathic hippies. The big showdown features an out-of-control laser killing absolutely everybody, including the "good" characters, namely the model’s sister and the doctor’s co-worker. Among the best things about this film are its numerous unintentional funny parts, its innate and non-stop grind house aesthetics, its tacky, swinging soundtrack and the feature film debut of the beautiful Kate O’Mara as Val Nolan, the model’s (much better looking) younger sister. Regrettably, she keeps her clothes on throughout the film. (A special appeal to the Crippled Dick Hotwax record company: won't you please release this soundtrack?) Corruption is a hilariously entertaining piece of violent trash that should totally appeal to the sleaze bag inside of you.

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