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Circus of Horrors

4.2 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In 1947 England, a plastic surgeon must beat a hasty retreat to France when one of his patients has ghastly problems with her surgery. Once there, he operates on a circus owner's daughter, deformed by bombs from the war. Later he becomes the owner of the circus, and continues transforming disfigured women into the beautiful stars of his show. The police and a nosy reporter (as well as Scotland Yard) become interested when the women who want out of the circus begin dying in freak accidents, and they begin suspecting the good doctor is responsible.

Special Features

  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery
  • Posters & Advertising
  • Anton Diffring Bio

Product Details

  • Actors: Anton Diffring, Erika Remberg, Yvonne Monlaur, Donald Pleasence, Jane Hylton
  • Directors: Sidney Hayers
  • Writers: George Baxt
  • Producers: Julian Wintle, Leslie Parkyn, Norman Priggen, Samuel Z. Arkoff
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2001
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005NKSO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,078 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Circus of Horrors" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
First off, the film transfer on this DVD is nothing short of stunning. The picture is presented in widescreen and the colors are very comparable to the same studio's production of "Peeping Tom". Sound transfer is fine, and there is even a French language soundtrack available.
"Circus of Horrors" is quite enjoyable, but it is a tiny bit of a cheat. There are not nearly as many "horrors" as one might expect. However, a final 15-minute sequence is worth the price of admission. The acting is generally good among the principles, with the lead, Anton Diffring, a standout. He plays just the right amount of crazed obsession to keep it entertaining.
Reizenstein's musical score is more than adequate and often very good. As for the featured song, "Look for a Star"--it's true, you will hum it to yourself for days afterward.
Extras are absolutely top-drawer: trailers, tv spots, posters, lobby cards etc, excerpts from a comic-book version of the film, and, most surprising, a reproduction of the song-sheet for the song! There is also a nicely done biography/filmography for Diffring.
Menus are extremely well-done, animated and accompanied by music from the film.
And, if all this is not enough, there is an Easter Egg. Go to the 'Extras' menu, sit back, and you will hear "Look for a Star" in a complete, uninterrupted performance.
A must-have for 1950s and 60s horror aficionados.
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Format: VHS Tape
Anton Diffring plays a plastic surgeon on the run from the law for some unethical practices which led to patient disfigurement. He retreats to the continent (read that France) where he stops on the roadside and sees a little girl with scars. He visits the girls father, a circus owner and says he can help the girl, which he does. However, in order to use the circus as a cover, he kills the father (using an escaped bear) and sets up the circus as his own. He recruits scarred but otherwise beauteous fems for his circus, does miraculous surgery and they perform for him in the circus. However, jealousy rears its ugly head and Diffring must eliminate various women by circus accidents. Finally, the police become suspicious as there are just too many accidents to be coincidences and a women disfigured in England catches up to Diffring and the police arrive to pressure the doctor into a thrilling climax and fitting end. Listen for Gary Miles' song, "Look for a Star" which was released as a single in the US and did make the charts.
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Format: DVD
What was it about the years 1959 and 1960 that gave us Horrors of the Black Museum, The Hypnotic Eye, and finally this well-crafted, adult-themed, gruesome and exciting melodrama, all three movies fixated on scarring and facial mutilation? Well let's just be glad for it, whatever it was. This has always been an overlooked gem, a crackling shocker that gives Hammer a run for its money in the sex-and-violence department, and features a terrific Continental cast headed by the deliciously icy Anton Diffring, and including Erika Remberg, Yvonne (Brides of Dracula) Monlaur, Donald Pleasance, Jane (The Manster) Hylton, and Yvonne (Curse of the Werewolf) Romain. The colorful cinematography is by Douglas Slocombe (Fearless Vampire Killers, The Music Lovers, all three Indiana Jones movies), and several incredibly convincing deep scar makeups are courtesy of Trevor Crole-Rees (Dr. Phibes). The plot moves along at a snappy pace and there's plenty of naked flesh and verbal/physical violence to distract one from the occasional implausibility (not to mention that really cheesy gorilla suit). I love the fact that Dr. Rossiter (Diffring), though ostensibly an amoral sociopath, is really the protagonist of the film, and I still find myself hoping he won't get caught. (I always did wonder how this passed for Saturday-afternoon kiddie fare all those years.) Highly recommended for fans of British horror or sleazy shockers, fundamentalist gorehounds, etc. You know who you are.
Anchor Bay's DVD presentation is definitely one of the most impressive I've seen for a neglected film like this (perhaps rivaled only by Allday's The Sadist DVD, another must-have). As stated by others here, the anamorphic widescreen (1.77:1) source print is nearly flawless!
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Format: DVD
I was delighted to find this DVD - the film, in its original release, had haunted my childhood dreams for months after I saw it at a Saturday matinee! Watching it again, I was amazed I still remembered many images as clearly as if I'd seen it yesterday. Great fun, the picture's an unholy brew of sex and sadism; Anton Diffring's chilly intelligence as the crazed plastic surgeon turned ringmaster provides a disturbing center to the film's moral universe. CIRCUS is pleasingly peopled with large-busted European starlets constantly in a state of undressed distress, sports luscious color photography by Douglas Slocombe (presented by Anchor Bay in a stunningly crisp transfer), and features an insistent pop ballad that's repeated so often, Helen Keller could leave the theatre humming the theme! Like many horror films, this one's a mixture of intelligent handling of trashy material; it manages to transcend the genre and become truly memorable, like EYES WITHOUT A FACE. Grab this CIRCUS while it's in town!
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