HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
   
 
Newest Articles
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Circus of Horrors Carnival Of Carnage
Year: 1960
Director: Sidney Hayers
Stars: Anton Diffring, Erika Remberg, Yvonne Monlaur, Donald Pleasence, Jane Hylton, Kenneth Griffith, Conrad Phillips, Jack Gwillim, Vanda Hudson, Yvonne Romain, Colette Wilde, William Mervyn, John Merivale, Peter Swanwick, Carla Challoner, Kenny Baker
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ten years ago, a plastic surgeon named Dr. Rossiter (Anton Diffring) considered himself a pioneer in his field, but one unauthorised operation turned out very badly when the woman in question (Colette Wilde) took her bandages off too soon and was left irreparably disfigured and completely insane. A manhunt was organised to track down the doctor, so he and his two associates, Angela (Jane Hylton) and Martin (Kenneth Griffith) fled Britain and headed to France, where he happened to meet Vanet (Donald Pleasence), owner of a travelling circus which had seen better days: could this be the ideal cover for the fugitive?

Well, no, obviously going into showbusiness is not so much hiding in plain sight as it was swanning around practically begging to be recognised even if you have shaved your beard off, especially when Rossiter moves about Europe offering plenty of chances for someone to twig who he is. Which is exactly what happens, but then screenwriter George Baxt had evidently been instructed to go for broke and craft as many lurid and torrid scenes as he could possibly pack into the movie, the censors be damned. This was of a piece with the Herman Cohen shockers such as Horrors of the Black Museum, which had found a moneymaking form in amping up the creativity when it came to the extravagant violence.

Circus of Horrors was also notable as director Sidney Hayers' big break, as it led to him directing a varied run of movies throughout the sixties and seventies, though it was safe to say his forte was in thrillers. Here he was simply delivering on the blood and thunder promise of that title, and few would be seeking any great skill in the talent department when it came to arranging the setpeices, but all credit to him, you could see why some buffs believe he was deserving of more attention as this barrels along quite the thing. Helping immeasurably was the charismatic Diffring's portrayal of the villain, not something that was much of a stretch for him at this stage, but he did it so well.

So when Pleasence exits the movie crushed by bear, sadly quite early and even sadder quite hilariously as that ursine menace is plainly a stuffed animal he is clutching to himself, Rossiter, after pausing to fix Vanet's daughter's face, takes over the running of the circus, seeing it as the perfect cover and populating it with scarred women who he cures of their affliction, making them beautiful, then improbably training them as acrobats. This curious mixture of the gruesome and the sexual was to define horror for quite some time after, and there's something pretty sick about this film's keenness to put ugly-face makeup on its otherwise glamorous actresses, not to mention its enthusiasm in bumping them off in bloodthirsty fashion.

You could say Circus of Horrors was groundbreaking in what it was prepared to show, trying to outdo then-current Brit holder of the terror movie crown Hammer by acknowledging what audiences really wanted to see was some terrible setpiece where some character loses their life much as the crowd at the big top secretly want to see an accident when the knife thrower is doing his act or the acrobat is suspended many feet above the hard ground below. As if that were not enough, Rossiter, now calling himself Schuler, is orchestrating those "accidents" himself whenever one of his staff voices the outrageous suggestion that maybe they could leave, though given the way the man in the gorilla suit acts up whenever he passes his cage we can discern a certain comeuppance on the cards. Needless to say, much of this in its endeavours to be as over the top as possible is now unintentionally funny, but somehow Diffring emerged from it with some style even as he was asked to be in scenes which were nothing short of ludicrous. The soundtrack includes the schmaltzy song Look for a Star at every opportunity.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2098 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: