Corridors of Blood (1958)

Boris Karloff, Betta St. John, Christopher Lee, Finlay Currie,
Corridors of Blood is a movie starring Boris Karloff, Betta St. John, and Christopher Lee. Dr. Thomas Bolton fights for the use of anesthetic in surgery and uses himself as a guinea pig, but soon finds himself addicted.
  • 6.5 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Jean Scott Rogers, Writer:
  • Robert Day, Director:
  • John Croydon, Charles F. Vetter, Producer:
7 / 10

Why did it take four years to release this film? It was excellent and very watchable.

This is a deceptive little film. First off, because it was made and sat for four years before release, you might be inclined to think it is a dud--but that's far from true. The film is very good--good enough to almost earn an 8. Second, while the film has some horrific scenes and features Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee, it is not a horror film but more of a drama. So if you see it, don't expect monsters or madness--instead, there are just bad people and good people doing bad things.

The film is set in 1840 and Karloff plays an exceptionally skilled surgeon who is dismayed that there are no drugs to alleviate the suffering of patients during surgery. Basically, people were wide awake and felt EVERYTHING during surgery and amputations! This is true, as the first anesthesias didn't come about until around 1850. Despite his concerns, other doctors didn't share his enthusiasm for change, so Karloff foolishly begins experimenting on himself--inhaling a mixture of various chemicals (including opium). Not surprisingly, he becomes addicted and this once sweet man becomes an unwilling pawn in the seedy underworld.

The film gets very high marks for construction, writing, direction and the performance of Karloff. There isn't much I'd change about the film, though fans of Christopher Lee might be disappointed that his role isn't that big and his character isn't that interesting (despite the fact he's a cold-blooded murderer). Give this intelligent little film a watch--it's really very good.

7 / 10

Karloff is great in atmospheric drama.

Boris Karloff gives one of his best performances as a tormented doctor trying to invent anaesthesia. In the process he becomes addicted to the narcotics and begin associating with various London low-lifes - including grave-robber Christopher Lee in a rivetting performance.

This is less horror than an atmospheric character study - and it is really very good.

7 / 10


Long before anesthesia, operations in London hospitals were wards of screaming patients in great pain and suffering. In 1840, Dr. Thomas Bolton (Boris Karloff),a great humanitarian surgeon, tries to eliminate all the pain and suffering connected with surgery. Bolton tries out experiments on himself and as a result becomes addicted to the drugs which he is taking. Some of Dr. Bolton's pain-killing gas works against him and a patient revives and attacks employee's of the hospital, therefore, Dr. Bolton is dismissed. Bolton wanders into the Seven Dials, a disreputable tavern and is taken over by the innkeeper, Black Ben(Francis De Wolff) and his assistant, Resurrection Joe(Christopher Lee)(The Dracula of the 60's) This film was originally titled "Doctor from Seven Dials, and this film was produced back-to-back with "The Haunted Strangler" by the same director, Robert Day. This film is a great old gaslite melodrama of Old London in B&W and gives you the creeps with all the cries of pain, blood and pain. Karloff plays a very calm doctor in Wolf's clothing, ready to do his THING!

7 / 10

Wonderful Performance by Karloff

Corridors of Blood (1962) is the story of a doctor trying to discover the secret of painless surgery. While less a horror film and more a study of the decline in an individual caused by drug addiction, it does have several creepy and frightening moments. Some of the surgery sequences are gruesome. And, any film with both Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee has got to have its share of horror moments.

The basic story - Karloff plays the doctor. He experiments on himself with the gas he is developing to be used in surgery. He becomes addicted to the narcotics he is using. Soon, he is unable to function and is released from his position as a surgeon. He meets up with a couple of baddies played by Lee and Francis De Wolff who agree to help him get the drugs he needs. All Karloff has to do is sign some blank death certificates. Revealing anymore of the story would be too much.

Karloff is terrific as the doctor. You can feel his anguish and pain as he realizes what the drugs have done to him. But, you can also see the underlying need he has for the gas. Lee is so incredibly ruthless. His character (Resurrection Joe) kills with no remorse or qualms. This is one character I would have liked to see more of in other films. Also present is an excellent supporting cast lead by De Wolff and Nigel Green.

Corridors of Blood excels at atmosphere. Even with the small budget, the director (Robert Day) is able to portray the seediness and depravity of the Seven Dials area. Perfect! Not a great film, Corridors of Blood is, however, good and very watchable. Karloff's performance alone is reason enough to see this film.

8 / 10

Fantastic little horror gem

Any film featuring both Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff is an instant must-see for any horror fan. Alone, either one of these can carry a film; but together they make a force to be reckoned with indeed!

Karloff stars as the central character; a doctor who, through trying to find a way to separate pain from the knife (create an anaesthetic), becomes addicted to the chemicals he is working with. The character that Karloff portrays here is a world away from his most famous role; that of Frankenstein's Monster, but Karloff has proved time and time again throughout his illustrious career that he can handle all sorts of different roles, and he handles this one brilliantly. Karloff draws you into his character and really makes you believe that his ultimate, and only goal is to create something to ease the pain of his patients. When his character takes a more sinister turn after becoming addicted to his chemicals, Karloff impresses more. The way his eyes look and the atmosphere of weakness that he portrays is fantastic and just by looking at the man you can tell that he is extremely unwell. Karloff is one of horror's finest assets, and he more than proves himself with his role here. Of course, he doesn't need to prove anything to anybody; it's well known that he is one of the masters of the genre. As mentioned, starring alongside Karloff is another horror master; Christopher Lee. Lee doesn't have a great deal of screentime in the movie; but, as Lee would go on to show time and time again in his later career; with just his presence, Lee can create a foreboding atmosphere about his character that is unmatched by almost every other actor out there.

The film isn't so much a horror as a thriller charting a man's decent into addiction, but the movie still features a lot of horror moments; most notably the screams of the patients on the operating table and every scene with Christopher Lee in it. Director Robert Day manages to create a foreboding atmosphere that firmly places the viewer in 1860's London. I didn't doubt it for a second, and that is very admirable; especially when the budget is considered. Corridors of Blood isn't a very well distributed film, and that is a shame as there is much to enjoy about it. However, if you do ever get the chance to see it; be sure to take it. You'll be glad you did.