Circus of Horrors (Phantom of the Circus) (1960)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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One of a small cluster of creepy films to come from England's Amalgamated Studios in the late '60s, this lesser entry details the twisted practices of a deranged German plastic surgeon (Anton Diffring) who hides out in France after mutilating a patient and begins his work anew under an assumed name. Staying mobile by traveling with a circus troupe, Diffring offers his services to disfigured female criminals, who pay him for his services by joining the circus as performers -- and by catering to his perverse whims. Naturally, it's not long before the ladies' gratitude begins to wear thin, and they begin to plan their escape... only to meet horrible ends in carefully-orchestrated catastrophes while performing. Viewers may find themselves haunted by Gary Mills's "Look for a Star" several days afterward like a cloying advertising jingle; the performance of a rug-topped Donald Pleasence (as the show's former owner, who meets with a sticky end) is a nice touch. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi
Art House & International , Classics , Drama , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
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Anton Diffring
as Dr. Schuler
Erika Remberg
as Elissa
Jane Hylton
as Angela
Conrad Phillips
as Inspector Ames
Yvonne Romain
as Melina
Colette Wilde
as Evelyn Morley
William Mervyn
as Dr. Morley
John Merivale
as Edward Finsbury
Carla Challoner
as Nicole as a Child
Peter Swanwick
as Inspector Knopf
Walter Gotell
as Von Gruber
Chris Christian
as Ringmaster
Jack Carson
as Chief Eagle Eye
Glyn Houston
as Barker
Kenneth J. Warren
as 1st Roustabout
Fred Haggerty
as 2nd Roustabout
Jack Gwyllim
as Supt. Andrews
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Critic Reviews for Circus of Horrors (Phantom of the Circus)

All Critics (2)

Has some brilliant gory Grand Guignol moments during its circus sequences.

Full Review… | September 6, 2015
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...a tedious and downright worthless endeavor...

Full Review… | July 2, 2011
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for Circus of Horrors (Phantom of the Circus)

Ah Circus movies. Did you know one won best picture in 1953? That one was about The Greatest Show on Earth. This one is about the Jinx Circus, where fallen women, given a second chance, thanks to plastic surgery and blackmail, are murdered when the become engaged. Its weird that the ape really hates Dr. Schuler. Really strange. A lot of pre-Twiggy English ladies prance about in their panties. Which is nice.But I could not shake the uncanny resemblance btwn Anton Diffring and Wm. S. Buckley.

R.John Xerxes
R.John Xerxes

Not as gruesome as the title suggests but does have a solid story and some great acting from Anton Diffring and the bevy of beautiful women does not hurt the film at all lol. For a horror flick like this it really is a little dull at times but the film is shot well. And the premise, farfetched as it is, does work and could have been made into a better film I believe. Probably a film for horror fanatics only (which I am). Though it was nice to see Donald Pleasence in an earlier role though was not much of a part.

Josh Hitch
Josh Hitch

Dull horror flick from schock distributor AIP. The plot points are WAY too convoluted for a movie of this genre. A famous plastic surgeon terribly botches a woman's face, changes his name and runs away with his assistants/henchpersons, by chance comes across a run-down circus, buys it from Donald Pleasance (with hair!), staffs it with criminals who he does surgery on so they'll be beautiful and unrecongnizable to the authorities, but he keeps dossiers on all of them so if they try to leave and expose him, he can expose them back, but that doesn't matter because he falls in love with all the women, and when they try to leave he kills them during their circus performances, and....aww, to hell with it. Not bad enought to be fun. Just bad.

Cindy I
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

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