Best of the later Karloff's.
Birthe Jrgensen | Odense, Denmark | 12/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an old favorite of mine; it also happens to be one of Karloff's best later performances. He's perfect as the kind elderly doctor who gets involved with the wrong people, one of them being Christopher Lee as grave-robber Resurrection Joe (!). And the always good Francis Matthews is, well, good as always. (The film is actually close in tone to "The Body Snatcher", but Karloff's part here is a quite different one.) You really feel deeply for the poor doc, thanks to the great Boris. The b/w movie may look like a Hammer film, but I wouldn't call it a Horror movie. -Sure, it's got some "horrific" scenes, but overall it looks more like a nice period drama stuck with a misleading title. (-If they had to give it such an awful title; something like "Corridors Of Pain" might have been a better choice, considering there are more screams heard than blood seen.) It's not only the best of his last films, but among the very best of his massive and impressive body of work."
Karloff & Lee - together!
L. Carter | 02/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Poor Dr. Thomas Bolton (Karloff). He's a compassionate, elderly British surgeon in the days before anesthesia. Tired of seeing his patients undergo excruciating agonies on the operating table, Bolton is working doggedly to concoct a drug which will banish pain and allow his patients to feel nothing during surgery. A failed and humiliating demonstration of his new drug before his professional peers makes Bolton even more determined to prove them wrong when they insist, "Pain and the knife are one." Alas, as Bolton conducts experiments upon himself in pursuit of his dream, he becomes addicted to his own formula. His hands - once known for their speed with a knife in the surgical theatre - shake and betray him. His memory fails him; he can't remember what happens to him while under the sway of his formula. He begins to deteriorate.The hospital's executive committee denies Bolton another chance to prove his work's validity and puts him, more or less, on "informal leave", suspending his privileges at the hospital's dispensary - the only place he can get the drugs necessary for both his research and his addiction.Bolton falls in with a reprehensible crowd of no-gooders, including the elegant but menacing Resurrection Joe (Christopher Lee), a soulless killer with a penchant for smothering his victims with pillows. In return for getting Dr. Bolton the drugs he now craves both for his experiments and for himself, these body snatchers, who have been murdering drunken alehouse customers and passing them off as natural deaths, manipulate Bolton into a Faustian bargain to sign the death certificates of their hapless victims so they might sell the bodies to the hospitals for teaching purposes and collect the money.The reason I gave this DVD only 4 stars, rather than 5, had nothing whatsoever to do with my total enjoyment of this film. Indeed, the print is excellent and the sound quality clear and distinctive. The one complaint I have is that there is only one "extra" on the DVD - the film's original theatrical trailer. I would have liked to have seen at least an interactive cast listing and additional information on the film itself.Other than that, it's great to see Karloff and Lee in the same production. They just ... belong together in a movie frame, I think. The violence is more implied than shown, making poor Bolton's situation even more tragic, and Karloff plays him sympathetically yet strongly.I think anyone who is a fan of Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee or horror films in general will delight in seeing "Corridors of Blood"."
The Perils Of Self Intoxication
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 05/03/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Plot: Dr. Bolton (Boris Karloff), highly respected surgeon in mid-19th century England believes in the possibility of painless surgery dispite the derision of his unbelieving colleages. In his obsessive desire to discover the right mix of chemicals for his proposed anesthetic he risks his reputation and life by acting as the guinea pig for his experimental concoctions.
This '58 film is not some much a horror movie as it's a tale of how complusion and lack of self restriant can lead one down the road to addiction and depravity. 'Corridors of Blood' chronicles Dr. Bolton steady descent into an intoxicating, hallucinatory realm as his continued inhalation of his elixir slowly overshadows his senses.
This film was directed by Robert Day who was also responsible for directing Karloff's obsessive-complusive performance in 'The Haunted Strangler.' You'll notice the similarities in both movies immediately. Directorial style, cinematic approach, the background settings of 19th century London and Karloff's characterization are all but identical. This film is also noteworthy for bringing Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee together for the first time, two of the great classic actors of the horror genre.
Yvonne Romain and Betta St. John have small roles but add a much needed touch of beauty to an otherwise dark and unseamly tale."
Good period entertainment
David M. Fox | Port Orchard, WA USA | 01/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first was exposed to this movie as the second act on my local Friday night horror movie special when I was a kid. I didn't remember much of the plot or even the name of the movie (I probably was asleep for most of it), but the phrase, "Pain and the knife are inseparable!" stuck in my head.
I wanted to see this movie again after recently undergoing a minor surgical procedure with only a bit of pain (a botched IV insertion).
"Corridors of Blood" is an very good period tale that plays more like real medical history than a horror movie. There are no supernatural elements at all. The Dr. Bolton character (Boris Karloff) is based more than just loosely on the real-life Horace Wells, an American dentist associated with the discovery of anesthesia. There are many parallels between the two (faith in nitrous oxide as an anesthetic, a failed public demonstration with a robust male patient with nitrous oxide, addiction to the chemicals, throwing sulfuric acid on an antagonist, and a bad end).
It is sad to see Dr. Bolton, who means so well, slide into his downward spiral. That is the real horror in this movie.
The visuals are tame by modern standards, where we have "Hostel" and "Saw." The actual violence of a pre-anesthesia amputation is not shown - you just hear the screams of the patient.