In the United Kingdom, there are 9.8 billion pounds (not lbs.) worth of beauty products sold each year, so England is understandably the perfect setting for the knock-off brand of Frankenstein-meets-the-door-to-door-Mary-Kay-salesperson splatter flick Corruption! They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and for the most part, this can be true… unless the eye is in the chopped-off head of a random girl Dr. John Rowen kills for his research (played by the king of medical trauma-drama Peter Cushing)! The ad campaign (though a little chauvinist… wait! a little?), says it is not a movie for women, yet I say it is a perfect feminist empowerment horror flick, showing just how easy it is to make us slobbering dodos do your bidding (what is thy wish, master?)
I have always been a huge fan of Cushing’s, especially during his earlier years of playing Dr. Frankenstein for Hammer Films, but the meat of this film seems a bit off. Cushing himself wrote in his autobiography this movie started off well with a great script and turned sour as the weeks went on. Shadey producers, infighting amongst the crew, and a desire to exploit the gratuitous violence all led to a final product that would never be shelved in the cosmetics aisle. Like most Cushing films, he always puts his best foot forward (or limb for that matter) to salvage the cinematic experience, and it is worth it alone just for him, but the effects of old age and poor sensibilities at the time will surely make the audience lash out!
Dr. Rowan is another kind of mad scientist… one who is in love (maybe he should have been a heart surgeon) with his model girlfriend (rough life, huh?). Rowan smothers her with adulation, admiration, and dedication, but has a real hard time when she lets her wild child loose during a photoshoot. Trying to stop the Warhol-wannabe photographer from disgracing her, Rowan accidentally knocks over a lamp and disfigures her! Desperate to right his wrong, he finds a way to ravish her damaged skin and make her beautiful again by the use of a dead woman’s endocrine system. The only issue is it “wears” off in a week. Searching through her purse for whatever tools she’s got, she makes the love-sick Rowan find new innocent blood for her bedazzling good looks (and helps remove a few crows feet). Throw in a few innocent hitchhikers, an ample amount of fake tan spray, and a couple of groovy dance sequences, and you have an interesting take on the more contemporary (or at least then it was) mad scientist genre!
Lipsticking your way at a gorgeous ninety-one minutes, and directed by Robert Hartford-Davis (who would give us such classics as The Sandwich Man and the Jim Brown classic Black Gunn), Cushing biggest issue was the fact it was supposed to be a ‘dream’ the entire time but this was not portrayed in the final version of the film (hence the weird repeat ending out of nowhere). You can find the streaming on Tubi and Prime, but be sure to get your manicured hands on the special edition from Grindhouse Releasing (great cover art). So put on your charcoal-infused mask. squirt some agave cocoa powder syrup on your canned chicken, and enjoy watching this beautiful pre-slasher basher of MOD-ern love.