Corridors of Blood (1958)

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After four days of Halloween-ie “goodness,” I needed a break. A chance to come up for air, one that didn’t involve a mute, impossibly strong killer, and his telepathic niece. I figure if Donald Pleasence earned a break after merely doing two of them (the original and its sequel) then I certainly earned a rest after four. A vacation, if you will, a short stop to a simpler time, one where death meant death, surgery (frequently) meant death, and heroine was man’s best friend. Yes, friends, tonight we’re taking a walk down Boris Karloff’s Corridors of Blood.

Corridors of Blood - Alleyway

Karloff plays Dr. Bolton, the Seven Point’s most talented surgeon. Not only is he swift with the knife, but he’s also quite the philanthropist, running a free clinic for the poor on the weekends. On top of all that, he’s also well on his way to developing anesthesia; a drug so far ahead of its time here that most of his peers think he’s mad. A surgery that doesn’t end with the patient perpetually locked in shock? Madness! Utter madness!

Corridors of Blood - The Hit Is In

If you don’t think a horror movie about the creation of pain-killers is enough to hold your attention for 90 minutes, fear not. There’s plenty of what I can only call “organic subplots” to carry the story. I say it’s “organic” because these subplots actually feel natural, rather than pasted on to pad on the running time. Most likely due to the fact that run times weren’t standardized yet, so you could make a movie whose length was dictated by the story’s ability to carry it. 60 minutes for most B-movies, but sometimes, like I did here, you’d hit the jackpot.

There’s academic intrigue as Dr. Bolton works at a school where everyone is envious of his surgical skills, and thus conspire against him to prevent him from going down in history as the man who ended pain. They also thinks he’s insane for leaving money on the table every week by running his free clinic instead of just being a normal doctor.

Corridors of Blood - Signing his life away.

This lack of humanity leads directly into another group who play a large role, the local seedy bar. They’re running a scam where they kill of the house prostitute’s johns, and then sell the corpses to the school. The only hiccup is that a new law was passed, mandating that all corpses bought and sold had to be verified by a doctor. Enter Dr. Bolton who gets muscled into working for the gang.

Corridors of Blood - Obligatory Christopher Lee Shot

While all this is happening, and Dr. Bolton’s now living in the whore-house strung out on the heroine he substituted as the painkiller, his son is back at home making moves on what seems to be a blood relative. (He calls the woman his cousin multiple times, yet still makes moves on her.) So addiction, underworld/academic backstabbing, and incest! Corridors of Blood has it all!

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