Circus of Horrors
|Circus of Horrors|
Theatrical poster to Circus of Horrors (1960)
|Directed by||Sidney Hayers|
|Produced by||Leslie Parkyn
|Written by||George Baxt|
|Music by||Muir Mathieson
|Editing by||Reginald Mills|
|Distributed by||American International Pictures|
|Running time||87 min.|
Circus of Horrors is a 1960 British horror film directed by Sidney Hayers. It starred Anton Diffring, Yvonne Monlaur, Erika Remberg, Kenneth Griffith, Jane Hylton, Conrad Phillips, Yvonne Romain and Donald Pleasence.
It was the third in what film critic David Pirie called Anglo-Amalgamated's "Sadian trilogy", focusing on sadism, cruelty and violence (with sexual undertones) as opposed to the supernatural horror of the Hammer films in the same era. The previous films in the trilogy were Horrors of the Black Museum and Peeping Tom, both in 1959.
In 1940s England, Dr. Rossiter (Anton Diffring) is a plastic surgeon wanted by the police after an operation goes hideously wrong. However, believing himself to have brilliant abilities as a surgeon, he and his assistants (Kenneth Griffith and Jane Hylton) evade capture and escape to the Continent. There Rossiter changes his name to Schüler, and befriends a circus owner (Donald Pleasence) on whose deformed daughter Nicole (played by Carla Challoner as a child, Yvonne Monlaur as an adult) he operates.
Schüler manipulates his way into running the circus, taking it over when the owner dies in a "freak accident." A decade later, he is running an internationally successful circus, which he uses as a front for his surgical exploits. He befriends deformed women and transforms them for his "Temple of Beauty". However, when they threaten to leave, they meet with mysterious accidents which raise the suspicions of local police (Conrad Phillips among them), who are soon on his trail.
- Anton Diffring as Dr. Schuler
- Erika Remberg as Elissa Caro
- Yvonne Monlaur as Nicole Vanet
- Donald Pleasence as Vanet
- Jane Hylton as Angela
- Kenneth Griffith as Martin
- Conrad Phillips as Inspector Arthur Ames
- Jack Gwillim as Superintendent Andrews
- Vanda Hudson as Magda von Meck
- Yvonne Romain as Melina
- Colette Wilde as Evelyn Morley Finsbury
- William Mervyn as Doctor Morley
- John Merivale as Edward Finsbury
- Peter Swanwick as German Police Inspector Knopf
The film was shot at Beaconsfield Studios, with location filming on Clapham Common in London and in Old Amersham, Buckinghamshire. Billy Smart's Circus provided the big top and some of its performers appeared as extras.
The song "Look For A Star" is from this movie. In the US, there were four versions issued at the same time that charted:
- Garry Mills (apparently the original) (Imperial 5674) reached #26
- Garry Miles (Liberty 55261) reached #16
- Deane Hawley (Dore 554) reached #29
- Billy Vaughn (the sole instrumental version) (Dot 16106) reached #19
Taking all four versions together, "Look For A Star" was quite a big hit in 1960. (It's fair to assume that only one version got airplay and sales in each radio market. For example, in the Minnesota market, the Deane Hawley was the version that got played and sold in the stores.)
- Gary A. Smith, The American International Pictures Video Guide, McFarland 2009 p 39
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