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Old bag Joan Crawford is hysterical in the schlockfest. Seeing her prance around in her ringmaster's uniform can not, unfortunately, ever be unseen.
People have a morbid curiosity.
A very hands-on circus organizer and owner starts losing employees to strange deaths. Initially, it appears like the deaths are accidents, but it quickly becomes apparent they are murders. A detective begins an investigation but it doesn't stop the deaths. All the circus employees believe it is the owner, but the owner swears her innocence. Can the owner prove her innocence by uncovering the killer?
"I don't like being touched, especially by strangers."
Jim O'Connolly, director of Horror on Snape Island, The Valley of Gwangi, Sophie's Place, Mistress Pamela, Vendetta for the Saint, and The Little Ones, delivers Berserk. The storyline for this picture is interesting and fun to watch unfold. The kill scenes were better than I anticipated, as was the acting. The cast includes Joan Crawford, Ty Hardin, Diana Dors, Michael Gough, and Judy Geeson.
"You get all worked up and you spoil everything."
I came across this on Movies! and had to DVR it. I enjoy watching Crawford and she played the perfect ruthless circus owner in this film. This film is far from a classic, but it is worthwhile for fans of the old school horror films. I recommend seeing this if you're a fan of horror films from this era.
"Kill! Kill! Kill! That's all I feel inside me!"
Filled with more circus extravaganza than actual horror. Berserk is a campy murder mystery that left its audience going "berserk" with the ending.
What a load of old twaddle.
Not nearly as thrashy and silly as it good have been. Joan Crawford is still fine though.
Joan Crawford stars as Monica Rivers, the hard-charging owner of the world famous 'Rivers Circus'. After a handsome high-wire performer dies in a bizarre "accident", Miss Rivers discovers that the publicity increased ticket sales. Soon other members of the troop perish at the hands of a mysterious serial killer.
I get the impression that Crawford's part was written for someone a little younger or at least someone with less frightening eyebrows. Still, I have to credit J.C. for her serious approach to the character. A very good effort in a very bad film.
Joan Crawford, older here but sure of herself as ever, did quite well in what otherwise might have been forgotten as a rather trite production. Look for both Geoffrey Keen and Michael Gough in this thoroughly British picture that was well-made a la Hammer Films
Being an actress I have always been interested in a film for its actors and not the visual effect or plot as much. I can see why people don't like it because most people are not into the idea of circus flicks However the whole time I saw it I thought the young lover who walked the tight rope was the killer . The conversations between the circus performers could of been cut down a little bit, and I think they should of shown Matilda getting sawed in half. I don't understand why they had to add in the song with the four performers. Other than that the circus acts were a nice touch, Joan as a ringmaster [what could be better], and the suspense was a classic touch.
And so it is we come to the incredibly bizarre winter of Miss Crawford's career, and her second-to-last film outing, Berserk. You know what you're in for in the first few minutes that lead to the credits. The whole thing is so ridiculous you begin to wonder if it's a pastiche of Hammer Horror. This film just doesn't know what it is- horror or thriller or err... advert for a circus.
Joan isn't terrible in it, but she's not exactly good either. And she's not in it enough. I estimate about 1/4 of this film is pure filler- minutes go by and one is simply watching circus acts in their entirety, adding nothing to the rather Christie-esque whodunnit which is supposed to be the main plot. Red herrings are thrown in, some more effective than others, but rather than going "Ohhhhh!" like you would in a Poirot or Miss Marple story when the killer is revealed you go "Huhhh?" and then the film goes even further and further still when it just ends.
Supporting players are almost as campy as Crawford, but also don't get to ham it up enough apart from Diana Dors who really goes for it to her credit. Ty Hardin looks good, if a bit long in the tooth to be the leading man. All you can conclude is it's just too uneven to be called "so bad it's good", unlike the similarly plotted "Straight Jacket" of a few years earlier. In the end, you get just about enough laughs out of it to make it worth seeing, but the filler doesn't do a good enough job of hiding the fact that the script is light on ideas and the plot hangs together less convincingly than your average soap opera.
The frustrating thing is, with some editing of the circus bits so that they just add to the atmosphere rather than dominate it, a bit more of Joan and a bit more of the supporting players it could have at least achieved campy entertainment. The sloppy execution is what fails this film and makes it unsatisfying.
Not to be enjoyed sober.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
MYSTERY/ THRILLER/ SOCIAL COMMENTARY
Joan Crawford stars as owner of a circus and people being mysteriously knocked or killed off, despite the performers themselves checking their own equipment making viewers think that it would be the perfect motivation to draw people to come to see the circus, was to witness an actual death to occur!
As a result of the ending makes the film even less sense! This film can also be an excuse to showcase actual circus performers act which is not the same as seeing it live!
2 out of 4