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  Corruption Laser EraserBuy this film here.
Year: 1968
Director: Robert Hartford-Davis
Stars: Peter Cushing, Sue Lloyd, Noel Trevarthen, Kate O'Mara, David Lodge, Anthony Booth, Wendy Varnals, Billy Murray, Vanessa Howard, Jan Waters, Phillip Manikum, Alexandra Dane, Valerie Van Ost, Diana Ashley, Victor Baring, Shirley Stelfox
Genre: Horror
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sir John Rowan (Peter Cushing) is a highly skilled surgeon whose talent is renowned among his peers. Life all seems to be going well for him, he is successful at work and at home with his fiancée Lynn (Sue Lloyd), a model doing as well professionally as he is. Yet it all begins to go wrong when she persuades him to go to a party one evening, and being older than she is he doesn't feel he fits in with the bright young things grooving the night away. When photographer Mike (Anthony Booth) starts snapping away at Lynn, Sir John wants to take her home - and then the tragedy occurs.

That tragedy being, we have to watch Van Helsing beat up the "Randy Scouse Git" which would be humiliating enough, but the script by Derek Ford and Donald Ford has their brawl knock over a hot studio light which lands on Lynn and gives her serious burns. Broken with guilt over what he has inadvertently done to his fiancée, Sir John sets himself the task of finding a way of recreating her beauty, and in a development familiar from quite a few horror movies since Eyes Without a Face was released, he finds he has to use the pituitary glands of the recently dead to do so.

Ah, our old friend the pituitary gland, what would the makers of dodgy shockers do without it? Anyway, being a surgeon Sir John has access to them through his work, and first secures one from a corpse of a young woman from the hospital's morgue, well, she's not going to be using it now, is she? And lo and behold, the operation works and Lynn is back to looking her best. Or she is for a while, as after a few days the scars return and Sir John realises he needs a fresh gland for his cure to work permanently, and even then there's no guarantee it will last.

Therefore he does what any surgeon brought to the brink of insanity would do, that's right, he visits a prostitute and cuts her head off to get at the gland. We're supposed to see that he is not in his right mind, and his guilt has driven him over the edge, but what you actually draw from this is that it is females who have sent him around the bend. Lynn, far from being grateful, drives Sir John to acts of depravity for her own vanity, and he is forced to take out his frustrations on other women: the film's misgoyny is so over the top it is ridiculous. We end up feeling sorry for the doctor, but then twig we're actually feeling sorry for the actor.

Every time director Robert Hartford-Davis breaks out the fish eye lens we know that Sir John's mania has descended once more, and casting Cushing as a crazed psycho-killer seems a poor show, especially as he remains sympathetic despite his character's actions. Eventually the couple go on holdiay to their cottage by the sea, Lynn all the while encouraging her partner to find fresh glands for her condition, so that by the end the whole world has turned on Sir John, as made plain when a group of dangerous "hippies" break in and start terrorising them - until they discover the head in the freezer compartment of the fridge, whereupon it's they who are disturbed. It all ends up somewhat hilariously with an out of control laser, then a cheat ending that echoes Dead of Night, but really this is barmy, tawdry, would-be "daring" stuff only good for its unintentional chortles. Music by Bill McGuffie.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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