HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
Trapped
We Need to Do Something
Falbalas
Vanguard
A-X-L
Injustice
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Moxie!
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
Demonia
East, The
Mandabi
Seance
Green Knight, The
   
 
Newest Articles
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
   
 
  Berserk Big Topped At The Big Top
Year: 1967
Director: Jim O'Connolly
Stars: Joan Crawford, Ty Hardin, Diana Dors, Michael Gough, Judy Geeson, Robert Hardy, Geoffrey Keen, Sydney Tafler, George Claydon, Philip Madoc, Ambrosine Phillpotts, Thomas Cimarro, Peter Burton, Golda Casimir, Ted Lune, Milton Reid, Marianne Stone
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Monica Rivers (Joan Crawford) is the head of a travelling circus visiting British cities and bringing a wealth of entertainment to the masses, but tonight something different is on the agenda. How about a spot of tragic death to go with that razzle dazzle? Coming right up, as tightrope walker The Great Gaspar gasps his last when the rope breaks and he is sent tumbling, though not before it catches around his neck and hangs him, is inert body swinging above the aghast big top crowd. Monica is briefly horrified, but then again shortly afterwards reasons that there's no such thing as bad publicity and hopes the tragedy raises the circus's profile...

If this is sounding familiar, then it might be down to a film from earlier in the nineteen-sixties called Circus of Horrors which also took as its premise some grisly murders at the circus, only that did it first, unless you counted the likes of Gorilla at Large. These two entries were British, of course, and both shared a distinctly camp quality which has audiences returning to them, not for chills and thrills but for a good laugh; the first movie had Anton Diffring as the star, which garnered some cult cachet, but producer Herman Cohen knew a cult icon when he saw one and hired a rich but professionally down on her luck Joan Crawford for his leading lady and that paid dividends, not least in her costuming.

Apparently Joan insisted on her own wardrobe, and one presumed her own makeup as well, so that screamingly tight bun she sported on her head went some way to providing a cheap if temporary facelift, all the better to look every bit the glamorous celeb that she was, and her fans expected: the still shapely gams were displayed as well. Cohen had evidently been watching another American schlock producer in William Castle, for they used the same actress as a name above the title draw in at least a couple of horror flicks, and Joan was she, indeed her last acting, aside from a little television work, was with Cohen in the infamously wretched Trog. As a writer, he would team up with Aben Kandel to test the boundaries of British censorship around the sixties, though Berserk never quite attained the same hilarity levels of Konga, possibly their masterpiece.

Well, I say masterpiece, it depends on how much roaring with mirth you want from your horror movies. Aside from a few sporadic shock scenes, this was more of a thriller than chiller, which left you tapping your fingers in anticipation of another cast member biting the dust, which may be literal when Monica comments on the ups and downs of the business that she's eaten caviar and eaten sawdust. How hard up do you have to be before you start munching on that? Just another example of the fitful lunacy of Berserk's script, which more played out as a forerunner of the sort of entertainment you'd find packing out eighties prime time American television soap opera: you could envisage Crawford giving another Joan a run for her money on Dynasty had she lasted that long.

In the meantime, you had to navigate your way through the supporting actors and try to work out who was the culprit, and who would be next. Needless to say, when revealed the murderer was such a preposterous choice making so little sense it was one to treasure for the bad movie buffs: was it company associate Michael Gough, one of Cohen's favourite actors? Nope, he gets a tent peg through the skull far too early in the proceedings. Cat-fighting magician's assistant Diana Dors, perhaps? She's too much of the diva when that's Joan's job, so perhaps not. Hunky replacement tightrope walker Ty Hardin, an actor who became notorious for being a mad racist in real life? Might make sense, but with the character's dodgy past possibly too obvious. Teenage tearaway daughter Judy Geeson? She's been away at boarding school for half the movie, so that's unlikely. You could go on, as the film does in fact with interminable padding from the circus acts ("intelligent poodles", anyone?) and even a truly dreadful musical number (Milton Reid singing?!). But it is funny. Music by John Scott.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2366 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
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: