Written by: George Pacheco on October 2nd, 2013
DVD Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Approximate Running Time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Grindhouse Releasing
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
The legendary Peter Cushing stars in the late sixties shocker—molded as a pseudo-remake of French director Georges Franju’s visionary 1960 thriller Eyes Without a Face—the story of a talented and successful doctor who takes to crime and murder in order to finance a series of morally bankrupt surgeries upon the scarred face of his fiancée.
The screenplay for Corruption was penned by Donald Ford and his brother Derek, the latter of whom served as Britain’s notorious purveyor of sexploitation and hardcore pornography during the sexually permissive 1960s and 70s. Ford’s penchant for perversion and overall naughtiness is very much apparent even here in ’69, particularly when taking into account star Peter Cushing’s reputation as a man of character and class.
That being said, it’s deliciously good fun to see the usually reserved, classic horror acting of Cushing let loose a bit here, as the actor takes to task the slashing and dismembering of more than one unsuspecting female here in Corruption. Still, it must be said that the characters here in the Fords’ story usually inhabit one of two worlds: the wooden and lifeless or the thoroughly obnoxious and unlikable. This is sort of the point here, of course, and both Fords take their own liberties with Franju’s original tale, turning their heroine here into much more of a selfish and vain tart than the portrait of young innocence displayed in Edith Scob’s Christiane.
This turning of the narrative tables here in Corruption is interesting, yet ultimately not as satisfying as the original Eyes Without a Face. Robert Hartford-Davis brings little to the table here with regards to direction, and the film—despite some great set ups during the party scenes and its interesting use of fish eye photography during one of the murder sequences—fails to strike the strange, tragic chord of its source material, preferring instead to serve as a sort of exploitation cinema homage; a distorted updating of the tale which, although enjoyable enough on its own, simply doesn’t strike the same emotional chords.
Grindhouse Releasing presents Corruption in an anamorphic widescreen presentation which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. The colors are bright, capturing perfectly the psychedelic vibe of “Swinging London” in the 1960s, while the film’s mono audio track is clear as a bell, without error. Grindhouse Releasing, as usual, packs in a bevy of extra material here, including the “international version” of the film which keeps intact the blood and nudity cut during the film’s initial theatrical run.
There are also plenty of cast interviews, including stars Billy Murray, Jan Waters, Wendy Varnals and Cushing himself. Grindhouse has also added an audio commentary track from English Gothic author Jonathan Rigby and Cushing biographer David Miller, films stills, poster art and the original shooting script, resulting in a predictably impressive package all around.