Vampire Circus, movie (1972)  » Movies  »
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  • While not at the lengths of Cannibal Holocaust, it is done in an understated manner and the expressions of the animals at the time of their death will definitely affect sensitive members of the audience

    • by Mackenzie Lambert


      This entry, we take a look at a recent film from the famed Hammer studios, which was recently involved in the post-Potter Daniel Radcliffe film, The Woman in Black. Their new logo is akin to the logo for Marvel Studios, utilizing their film posters much like Marvel uses comic book pages. One of the film posters in the logo is for this article’ film.

      Albert Muller (Laurence Payne), a schoolmaster, sees his wife and a little girl enter the castle of the much-feared Count Mitterhaus (Robert Tayman). Albert rushes to the village to get help. He returns with a mob to storm the castle. When they arrive, they find the little girl dead.

      After a struggle, they stake the count. Before he dies, he curses the town and that their children’s blood will bring him back.

      After the group leaves, Albert’s wife is beatten by the group. She quickly escapes back into the castle to the body of the slained count. Here, she is told of a means to extract revenge from the village. She must find the Count’s cousin, Emil.

      The film goes forward 15 years after the death of the Count. A horrible plague has swept the village and is put under strict quarantine by the neighboring villages. The town’s council fears this may be the curse of Count Mitterhaus. The village doctor has a plan to go to other towns to gather needed medicine to fight the plague.

      During the doctor’s absence, a traveling circus comes to town to entertain the crowd. Despite the dire situation of the town, the people are more than happy to have this distraction. However, the longer the circus stays , the bodies pile up and its dubious connections to the Count are soon revealed.

      This film shows what Hammer studios does best: present the classic monsters, but in color with sex and violence. There are some grizzly deaths in this film that add much needed energy to the final third that is lacking in the first two-thirds. Director Robert Young presents the action ...

      • Vampire Circus, movie (1972)
      and violence in a matter of fact manner would be utilized by the likes of John Carpenter.

      The performances are fitting for the film. Thorley Walters of Hammer’s various Frankenstein films stands out the town’s Burgermeister. His swift transition from calm to manic is a sight to be seen. Robert Tayman as the Count doesn’t have the suave nature of Christopher Lee, but he makes up for it with a ferocity akin to Barry Atwater’s performance of Janos Skorzeny from The Night Stalker. The most memorable performance for me is David Prowse as the silent, but very intimidating Strongman.

      There is one scene that will disturb viewers more than the vampire violence. It will likely

      be the scene where the villagers kill the animals of the circus. While not at the lengths of Cannibal Holocaust, it is done in an understated manner and the expressions of the animals at the time of their death will definitely affect sensitive members of the audience. It is a very brief moment, but one that will likely turn off many people.

      Vampire Circus makes for a great viewing for people looking to dig deeper in the Hammer catalog. While it doesn’t have the flagship actors of the studio like Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee, it does have some inspired performances and shocking moments of violence that will stay with viewers long after the film ends.

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