Corruption has been a rare film for decades, and I am really pleased to see it finally releases on DVD and Bluray. This pack contains two separate discs, and the DVD and Bluray discs are identical, so you just choose which one you'd like to play.
Now onto the film itself. Corruption tells a familiar tale, in which a man is driven to madness by his efforts to restore the lost looks of his wife. The cure requires the use of the pituitary gland from other women, and let's just say that the women are not willing donors! Set and filmed in England in the swinging Sixties, the film has dated somewhat, especially evident in the "groovy party" opening scene, but apart from that silliness, the rest of if holds up pretty well. Peter Cushing is of course exemplary in the lead role of the doctor who kills to cure his disfigured wife. Even in the most lurid scenes (more of these later), he acts the part realistically and with dignity. Sue Lloyd plays the vain wife with the ruined face, and she also does well, portraying a nasty, selfish character that you really feel no sympathy for. It would be fair to say that she is the villain and Peter Cushing is the good guy in this set up, even though he does the killing!
A few things let the film down, some of it's very "Britishness" means that the violence can sometimes be ineffective, especially noticeable in a "home invasion" scene when a gang of thugs terrorise a small house - the gang don't seem threatening in the least, and I think it's a combination of the acting, the script and direction that no sense of real menace exists in this scene. It's a shame because elsewhere in the film all the acting is quite effective, but this confrontation is not, and it's pivotal to the climax of the film.
So what does work well? Well the performances, as I mentioned before, and this goes for most opt the rest of the cast too. Again to mention Peter Cushing, his most startling scenes are those in which he attacks and murders the female victims of the movie. Theres aren't many but seeing this mild mannered man observe, stalk, and finally attack his prey is very unsettling. Theres not a lot of overt gore in the film, but the scene on the train is effective even without it, as the sense of peril for the female passenger is quite well realised, and it's a nasty scene. Actually what bloodshed there is in this scene is actually pretty badly done!
Now for the most notorious part of the whole film: the scene in which Peter Cushing murders a prostitute. In the UK cinema release,, and in all the late night TV showings throughout the last 3 decades, we saw Cushing meet up with and kill a very chirpy Cockney "call-girl" who spent the entire scene wearing a pink fluffy bathrobe and died with almost no bloodshed or violence shown on the screen. Well, Grindhouse have done the impossible and unearthed the alternative footage that was only shown in some more tolerant Eurpoean and far Eastern countries at the time. In the alternative version, the whole scene was re-filmed using a different actress as the prostitute, with the bathrobe off so she is topless , and gore and violence in abundance! On the Grindhouse release, you get the choice of which version you'd like to see when you start the film. Let me say now that the difference is quite shocking. The "strong version" of this scene is outrageously sleazy. It leaves you in no doubt about what a horrible thing Peter Cushing's character is actually having to do. Quite an eye-opener.
Oddly, it's almost a shame that this murder was filmed separately, as it makes neither version of the film definitive. The "mild" version actually fits better with the overall tone of the film because the actress playing the prostitute can actually act and she is great. It also is much cleverer at setting up the actual kill scene, and it's pretty realistic, even if completely bloodless. On the other hand, the actress in the "strong" version is terrible, she makes a real mess of reading her lines (there are hardly any, the scene plays differently). You can't argue with the fact that it's very violent, but even this does make it feel quite different from the rest of the movie. The quality is great though, there's no difference between the two scenes in terms of technical terms, which is a great job on behalf of Grindhouse who were able to find this footage intact.
Anyway, that's the biggest news about this release, and it's really the answer to a fan's prayers. Corruption is a nasty, rotten story with nothing nice happening to anyone in it - and that's just the way it's supposed to be! Effective as much for the performances as the sick story, reviled at the time, rediscovered now, you could do a lot worse than to pick up a copy of this!