Directed by Robert William Young. UK. 1972. PG-13. 84 minutes. Criterion/Private Collector. 35mm.
Fri., May 4, 2012
Go to the bottom of the post to read about a contest to win tickets to Vampire Circus! “Vampire Circus is a Hammer film. It’s got recycled sets, home counties woodland posing as mittel Europe, dodgy day-for-night shots, unconvincing gore and iffy vampire fangs (always with plenty of fillings showing) and dollops of nudity and sex which those in front of and behind the camera didn’t seem very comfortable with. About the only thing its hasn’t got are those Hammer stalwarts Cushing and Lee. But, for all this, Vampire Circus is still a perfectly entertaining, watchable film.
Indeed, part of its charm, like most Hammer films, comes from spotting the dodgy effects, etc. And, merit wise, it’s got a dense, incident packed story, in which something is always going on; a rousing orchestral score; fine ensemble playing from many of the cast, character actors like Laurence Payne and Thorley Walters really grabbing the opportunity to play the leads, and some nice matchcut editing as circus acrobats transform into bats and panthers in mid-leap (go see it and all will be explained!)
In a long pre-credits sequence, almost a mini-film in itself, the men of Stettel finally summon up the courage to oppose Count Mitterhouse. The vampire has gone too far this time, taking schoolteacher Mueller’s wife as his lover and, with her help, luring little Jenny Shult to her death. The townsfolk storm Mitterhouse’s castle and stake him. The Count swears revenge: “None of you will live. The town of Stettel will die. Your children will die to give me back my life.”
Fifteen years later, Stettel is afflicted by plague and cordoned off from the rest of the world. The mysterious `Circus of Nights’ arrives in town, come to “steal the pennies from dead men’s eyes’. Having somehow got through the roadblocks, the circus (including among its number Dave `Darth Vader’ Prowse as a mute strongman) seems to the townsfolk a welcome distraction from their plight. What they don’t realize, of course, is that this is the Vampire Circus, come to avenge the Count.” (Keith Brown, Edinburgh University Film Society)
Email 10ROOMBIZARRO@GMAIL.COM with the most bizarre dream you’ve had and you will be entered into a contest to win TWO TICKETS to Vampire Circus on May 4. Contest runs from 4/7/12 thru 4/30/12. One entry per email. Please put “Vampire Circus” in the subject line. The 10 Room Bizarro is a very bizarre short movie marathon on July 21 at the Colonial Theater.