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Month of Horror 2015: World Edition – United Kingdom: Corruption (1968)

Editor’s Note: These posts originally appeared starting here on the AV Club *stares off wistfully*. They are being reposted for completionist sake as this annual series continued onto the AVCAD and now here. Also, forgive the writing for I was younger and dumber and these were written to appear in comments so don’t include pictures and are far shorter and less thorough than the series is now. They have been preserved as they were.

Month of Horror: World Edition
10/13/2015 – United Kingdom: Corruption (1968)
Directed by Robert Hartford-Davis

Like the US before it, picking one film to represent the UK is incredibly challenging, and Corruption certainly isn’t that film (something I knew going in). After the US, there may not be another nation with a deeper and more diverse tradition in horror. Perhaps the most well-known, and largely responsible for the British horror, are the films of Hammer Film Productions who got their start with the genre in the 50’s and was responsible for both establishing a distinct if very mixed in quality style and for popularizing a number of actors including Peter Cushing.

Corruption is very much a Hammer Horror movie for better and worse, although this time Cushing gets to step out of his normal good guy roles and play the other side for a change and boy does he ever. Like its company relatives, it’s bright (and so very late 60’s), lacking any resemblance of subtlety, and featuring acting that outside of Cushing is questionable to say the least. There is a wonderfully crazy jazzy score which perfectly fits the madness on screen especially the moments that the film throws itself into scenes of quick cut montages, featuring a crazed hair flying all over the place Cushing murdering his next victim. Cushing gives it his all to the very standard “scientist/surgeon killing to get body parts to save/fix his love” (yes this film does feel like a Hammerfied low rent Eyes Without a Face) part and is able to get some semblance of sympathy for someone is clearly killing against their will but is held under the spell of his manipulative fiancée who is only concerned about her looks (nothing sexist about that at all).

Outside of him though, his fiancée is adequate playing manipulative but she generates more laughs than anything else. The film also features quite possibly the most bizarre gang I’ve ever seen led by a man in a cape with a mutton chopped, mustachioed brainless henchman who devours an apple in quite possibly the most hilarious way possible, and a girl whose method for insinuating herself into a family apparently involves staring off into the ocean and then playing the most unusual combination of naïve and suicidal possible when a creepy man comes up to her who clearly has murder or at the very least something unsavory on his mind. Corruption is certainly not a good movie but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an entertaining one. Unlike many other Hammer films, there is a narrative logic and the film is well paced which allowed me to enjoy the madness instead of struggling to keep up and/or stay awake. That alone makes it worthwhile and the kind of film essential to any horror marathon.

Up Next: Gustavo Hernández’s The Silent House representing Uruguay (I will also be looking at the remake)

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