Blood Circus (film)
Promotional "scream bag" produced for film
Blood Circus (also known as Blood Circus Wrestling) is a 1985 independent American science fiction-horror film, with a professional-wrestling theme. It was produced by Baltimore-native Santo Victor Rigatuso, also called Robert "Bob" Harris, who promoted it through infomercials for his mail-order "Santo Gold" jewelry business. Though it had a brief regional release funded by Rigatuso, the film never received distribution.
Aliens from the planet Zoran are sent to Earth to fight against professional wrestlers from the United States and the Soviet Union, who prove actually to be man-eaters who devour their opponents upon defeating them.
- Santo Victor Rigatuso as Santo Gold
- John Harris (III)
- Jerry Reese (as Voodoo Malumba)
- Vinnie Valentino
Filming for Blood Circus began in 1985 on a purported budget of $2 million, largely financed by Rigatuso's Credit Card Authorization Center business. This business offered customers with bad credit histories the opportunity to purchase a fake credit card for $50, with which they could only purchase exclusive "Santo Gold" jewelry (Rigatuso would later serve ten months in prison in 1989 for mail fraud in relationship to the enterprise).
One of the key moments in Blood Circus was filmed at the Baltimore Civic Center, where Rigatuso, playing a character called Santo Gold, performs a song before the climactic wrestling match. The song lyrics have nothing to do with the film; instead, the song promotes Rigatuso's "Santo Gold" jewelry. Extras were paid $10 each to sit in arena and observe the action. Some of the "Earth wrestlers" were actual professional wrestlers from the San Antonio-based Southwest Championship Wrestling promotion, including Douglas “Ox” Baker, an experienced actor in his own right, Vinnie Valentino, and Eric Embry.
After spending two years editing the film, Rigatuso could not find a distributor for the Blood Circus; he ended up renting several theaters in the Baltimore area to show his film. It was shown for only a week, and took in far less than it cost to produce. The film was never shown to the public after it ended its initial run, and the original copy was believed to have been lost. Clips of Blood Circus can still be seen in portions of "Santo Gold" infomercials circulating on the Internet.
"Scream bags" were also provided to moviegoers as a promotional tie-in. The bags had a long poem about Blood Circus on each side, as well as a coupon for a free diamond ring from Rigatuso's "Santo Gold" infomercials.
In 2008, Santo Gold claimed that the 35mm negatives of Blood Circus had finally been found, and that producers were being sought for its release.
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