Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Blu-ray Review: VAMPIRE CIRCUS (1972)
Directed by Robert Young
Distributed by Synapse films and CAV Distributing
I have to admit....as big of a horror fan that I am, I have seen very few of the original Hammer Films. VAMPIRE CIRCUS is one I had not only never seen, but I had never even heard of until I saw it was coming out on Blu-ray. After watching this film, I will definitely be visiting more classic Hammer titles in the future. Here is the basic plot of VAMPIRE CIRCUS, from the Synapse films website:
A little girl is brutally slain by a vampire in a tiny 19th century Austrian village. Seeking revenge, the townspeople invade the foreboding castle of Count Mitterhaus and kill him for the crime. As the Count dies, he curses the villagers and vows that their children will all die so that he may someday return to life.
Fifteen years later, as the village is ravaged by the plague, a traveling circus comes to town and distracts the villagers from their current hardships. Little do they know that their troubles are only beginning! The circus is actually a troupe of shape-shifting vampires and, as the local children start disappearing, they realize the prophecy of the long dead Count is coming true.
This was one of the most enjoyable films I have seen in a long time. The movie is not perfect by any means, and has some minor flaws like some mild over-acting at time, but you can't deny that the film is entertaining. Sure it is cheesy at times, but this was made in the early 70's and is a movie about a shape-shifting vampires who run a circus, so what do you expect! HA!
The movie starts out excellent with a woman under the spell of Count Mitterhaus who brings a young girl to him. He kills the girl and makes love to the woman....setting the tone for the entire film. I loved this opening and was glad that they didn't back down and started with such a heavy opening. The rest of the film is just as good with a few good scares, some creepy images and some cool circus acts!
I have always loved films (esp. horror films) with a carnival or circus setting. Carnivals have such a fun exterior, but can hide such horrible things. Sideshows and "Freak shows" as they used to be called were like small Horror theaters, set up to scare and thrill the carnival patrons. Tod Browning's 1932 classic, FREAKS, was my first foray into the carnival/circus horror film, and I have been a fan ever since. For this reason, I thoroughly enjoyed VAMPIRE CIRCUS and would highly recommend it to all horror fans.
Synapse has gone all out with this awesome Blu-ray / DVD combo pack and have loaded it with some awesome extras! These extras include:
* The Bloodiest Show on Earth: Making VAMPIRE CIRCUS Documentary
* Gallery of Grotesqueries: A Brief History of Circus Horrors Featurette
* Visiting the House of Hammer: Britain's Legendary Horror Magazine Featurette
* VAMPIRE CIRCUS: Motion Comic Book
* Still and Poster Gallery
* Theatrical Trailer
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack