On May 18, 2015, post about a movie, television show, book, or all three that falls into the category of Blood, Boobs, and Carnage. (Or just Blood and Carnage or other mixture.) It can be any genre that fits the bill – fantasy, science fiction, action, adventure, western, thriller, etc. Post the badge and visit other participants. This Blogfest is hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh and Heather Gardner. See their sites for the Linky List of other participants.
Circus of Horrors
|Circus of Horrors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Circus of Horrors is a British film that was released in 1960. The plot involves a rogue plastic surgeon who is presumed to have been killed after a car crash while being pursued by the police. He manages to escape the burning car, making his way to a nearby house where with the help of a brother and sister team who are his surgical assistants, his face is restored giving him a new appearance. The three escape to France to find a place to go into hiding.
They find cover in a run down financially troubled circus after restoring the badly disfigured face of the owner's young daughter. Shortly after the circus owner draws up an agreement that will place the circus in the doctor's name, the owner is killed by a trained dancing bear leaving the young daughter and the circus in the doctor's charge.
Not long after the doctor has taken ownership of the circus, he develops a devious plan. He seeks out once beautiful young women whose faces have been scarred and maimed and who have fallen into lifestyles of prostitution, thievery, and criminal activities. He restores their beauty through his artful skills in plastic surgery and gives them refuge from the law as they become stars in his Circus of Beauty.
Ten years after acquiring the circus, the doctor has turned it into the most famous circus in Europe with a roster of beauties as his star performers. After a series of mysterious deaths, the circus has gained a nickname from the media as "The Jinx Circus" or "The Circus of Horrors". This is where the fun begins with jealousy, intrigue and, of course, blood, boobs, and carnage. The circus costumes provide ample opportunity to show off beautiful women, however there is no nudity. The sexuality and the gore are very mild by today's standards. If the current film rating system were used this would easily get by with a PG-13.
Circus of Horrors is not too bad of a film. It has an interesting story line. The acting is decent for the most part. The make up effects aren't too cheesy. The murderous dancing bear and the gorilla are as about as stupid and fake as anything I've seen in a movie, but fortunately their roles are minuscule. And for me the most memorable part of the film is the repeated playing of the hit song "Look for a Star" as sung by Garry Mills. That song never left my head after I'd seen this movie. It's a song that I greatly enjoy to this day.
I now own not only the DVD copy of the film, but also two CD's with different but very similar sounding versions of that great pop tune "Look for a Star".
When I First Saw this Film
Actually I'm a bit hazy on when I first saw this film. I'm pretty sure it would have been in 1964, probably in the summer or fall of that year. My father used to take me on occasional Saturday adventures--kind of like a father and son togetherness thing I guess. Most of these outings I recall from when we lived in San Diego. Once it was attending a Chargers game. Then there was a time when we went to an old bookstore downtown where he bought me a used 1910 copy of Tom Swift and his Airship. One time we even headed down to Tijuana where he got me a cheap haircut and then we went to eat at a Mexican restaurant, which is something my mother would have never been willing to do--eat in a restaurant in Tijuana that is.
Our movie theater excursion was after we had moved to Crown Point, Indiana. Circus of Horrors was apparently being shown for a Saturday matinee as I remember that we went in the daytime. I'm guessing the theater might have been in Hammond, Indiana or somewhere near there. It was a big old theater that had probably been there since the 1930's or so. Being a Saturday matinee there were mostly young people in attendance. To my recollection the auditorium was about a quarter full. My father was probably the oldest guy there--he would have been about 40 at the time. We grabbed seats toward the rear middle of the left side of the auditorium.
As a rule my father would have never gone to a horror movie. That was something that my mother might be prone to do, but not my father. However if anything about the circus was involved he was ready to go see it. He was always hoping to catch at least a glimpse of a juggler. In this movie he was to be disappointed as there were no jugglers. The film itself was actually shot on location with a British circus so there was plenty of authentic circus footage.
Besides the featured song "Look for a Star" the most memorable thing for me about going to see this movie was after one of the "gory" scenes there was a commotion in the front right section of the theater. It was quite a distance from us so we couldn't see what was happening, but the news quickly passed to those of us toward the back that some girl had thrown up. The film was momentarily stopped and lights brought up as the ushers attended to the situation.
Now in retrospect I wonder if that whole commotion scene was more of a stunt to get word of mouth going to get more people to come to the later showings. I can't say for sure, but back then it was not unusual for something like that to happen at a horror film showing. On occasion they would even have someone dressed like a doctor or nurse visible in the lobby to attend to anyone who might suffer from attacks of fright.
Here's a clip from the film during the first time "Look for a Star" is played:
And now if you haven't voted in my Battle of the Bands post please go now to pick your favorite version of the song "Look for a Star". You can find that post here.
Have you seen the film Circus of Horrors? Did you ever go to the special matinee showings of second run films? If you don't like circuses, why not?