Vampire Circus (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) [Blu-ray]
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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. Synapse Films is proud to present VAMPIRE CIRCUS, now available for the first time on home video in glorious 1080p high-definition and loaded with amazing extras you can really sink your teeth into! Special Features Include: THE BLOODIEST SHOW ON EARTH: Making Vampire Circus - An all-new documentary featuring interviews with writer/director Joe Dante, Hammer documentarian Ted Newsom, Video Watchdog editor/author Tim Lucas, author/film historian Philip Nutman, and actor David Prowse. GALLERY OF GROTESQUERIES: A Brief History of Circus Horrors - A retrospective on circus/carnival themed horror productions. VISITING THE HOUSE OF HAMMER: Britain's Legendary Horror Magazine - A retrospective on the popular British horror/comic publication featuring author Philip Nutman. VAMPIRE CIRCUS: Interactive Comic Book- Featuring artwork by Brian Bolland. POSTER AND STILLS GALLERY ORIGINAL THEATRICAL TRAILER
Top customer reviews
What a fabulous film, I was happy I took the chance and bought it sight unseen. It's campy, bloody, grotesque, erotic, and unsettling (they specialize in children as their victims). I thought it was very stylish. And very well made for a film that's incomplete. (The director needed more time to finish the project but was told time's up, make do with what you've got. And he certainly did.) Wow, what a freaky film...................loved it!
B) For its day, it's terrifying, experimental and a genuinely well-made movie
C) Are those human mammalia? Oh my.
Not for kids, but if you're a fan of the Hammer horror films, you MUST see this movie. It lacks the all-in-good-fun sense of some of the lesser Hammer offerings and delivers genuine disturbing weirdness and dark corners where the viewer fills in the blanks. Quite gory in an early 70s way. Everything you could ask for in a Hammer horror movie and then some. Highly recommended.
I had read a little about Vampire Circus in horror fan magazines before finally viewing an edited version on US television. Even in it's trimmed state Vampire Circus was a visual, emotional and visceral experience. Along with the obvious new freedom of showing more sex and violence, films of the early 70s questioned authority and left moral quandaries in the viewers head. Hammer followed this trend with Twins of Evil and Vampire Circus. In both movies the persecuted towns people are no longer innocent victims. Twins of Evil showed Peter Cushings Brotherhood witch burners/vampire killers just as evil as the vampiric Count Karnstein. The difference is they were misguided but Karnstein knew exactly what he was doing.
The villagers in Vampire Circus are basically self centered cowards who would almost sacrifice their children than confront a powerful nobleman. That the undead bloodsuckers in Vampire Circus seem to prefer killing children over adults is jaw dropping. Even in 1931s pre-Code Frankenstein Boris Karloff's monster only threw the little girl in the lake because he thought she would float like a flower. These undead are truly perverse and frightening. In 2011, this pedophilic plot does accomplish what most Hammer films fail at, it makes you queazy and really care about the victims. That this is exploitive is unquestionable. However, the artistry of this well made film in showing the hypocricy of normal people, makes one take the film seriously as a legitimate examination of our societies values.
The movie as a whole is very exciting. The first 12 minutes have so much intrigue and action the main body of the film almost seems like a sequel, but a GOOD sequel. Both Robert Tayman as lead vampire Count Mitterhaus and Anthony Corlin as his cousin Emil, who fulfils the Counts curse on the villagers, are handsome, sensual and menicing at the same time. Classic Hammer director Terrance Fisher stated in making Horror of Dracula with Christpher Lee in 1958 that he wanted to show the attractiveness of Evil. Vampire Circus director Robert Young definitely learned from the master.
A humerious side note, Cousin Emil seems downright stoned in parts. Hey, it was the 70s, and the deadpan expressions and crazed eye rollings could just as easily fit an undead monster who enjoys his work, as a young, long haired actor experiementing and enjoying the hedonistic decade. Everyone in the movie is perfectly cast. See this one.