Corridors of Blood (1958)

The DVD booklet features an amusing comment by the film’s producer about how he had to leave the production for a couple of weeks, and when he returned he was horrified to find it had become a Victorian potboiler. You know, as if he thought he’d been producing a serious drama about drug addiction. Karloff again, this time as a doctor appalled by the medical conditions of early Victorian London, including the lack of anaesthesia. He determines to produce one, and to that end experiments upon himself with a number of substances. Unfortunately, said substances start to have a fairly deleterious effect on his health and his career, and his non-professional relationships aren’t doing him many favours either. Like I said, it was amusing that producer Croydon seemed to think he was making a straight drama, and that he was surprised to find it was actually kind of exploitation; just because he could afford to throw a bit more money at it than The Haunted Strangler and fill the cast with a few more actually recognisable names (including an unfortunately underused Christopher Lee) didn’t necessarily mean it’d end up an A picture. Alas, Karloff and Lee and the suggestive title notwithstanding, it’s not really much of a horror film either. You might equally call it an exploiter struggling to behave respectably rather than just giving into pulp luridness, which is what I kind of wish it had done… In the same piece, though, Croydon praises Karloff’s performance, and here I agree with him; once again Karloff is the film’s chief attraction, and splendidly conveys the collapse of this essentially good and well-meaning man whose only crime is letting things get out of his control. Apparently the film wasn’t released in the UK until 1962, and notably after this Karloff’s own career was limited to TV for nearly five years until a final flourish with help from Messrs Bava, Corman and Bogdanovich…

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