Vampire Circus - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Vampire Circus Reviews

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November 30, 2011
Ok, so I know I like weird movies and this is one of them. I actually had low expectations for this one. However, it turned out to be a pretty cool little movie. A circus comes to town to avenge the death of the head vampire. I like it that the circus animals turned into vampires. That part was pretty cool. I'm glad I checked it out.
May 2, 2011
Pretty good later Hammer horror film (basically, Hammer's decline began in 1968). Director Robert Young had mainly directed documentaries before this and was clearly inspired by "art house" films (Bergmann, Fellini) as much as the classic Hammer gothic horrors of the past. The plot has an evil vampire (Count Mindaug; never trust the arisocracy in vampire films) victimizing the children of an Austrian village while seducing the wife of the school teacher ("One lust feeds the other, Anna"). The enraged citizenry overcome dispatch the vampire but curses the vilagers. A decade later, the village is ravaged by a plague and the neighboring villages have set up armed roadblocks and patrols to keep the plague from spreading. The Circus of Nights then shows up, rather mysterously, and starts to carry out the counts curse. Lushly photographed, with lots of memorable imagery, and a cast of character actors rather than "big name" Hammer stars; no Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing here. Anthony Higgins and Thorley Walters had been in previous Hammer films as had David Prowse, playing the circus strongman. He went on to play Darth Vader in Star Wars (with the voice of James Earle Jones). Lalla Ward was later a companion of Tom Baker's Doctor Who.
cancercapricorn2002
Super Reviewer
½ March 24, 2011
"Vampire Circus" is, in my opinion one of Hammer's best vampire efforts outside of "Horror of Dracula," and "Dracula, Prince of Darkness." This movie has wonderful atmosphere, rather good special effects for it's day, effective performances, and a good plotline not to mention that classic, lush Hammer cinematography. This is a superior vampire story and it is handled well.

***Spoilers ahead***

The story opens when a man observes his young bride leading a child off toward the castle of Count Rittenhouse, a tyrannical ruler who is feared by all of his subjects. Alarmed, he summons the men of the village and finally persuades them to attack Rittenhouse and free the child. Apparently, this has happened more than once in the village as the men finally overcome their fears and agree to storm the castle. Once inside though, the men find that they have stumbled onto more than they bargained for. Count Rittenhouse is more than just a madman. He is a mad vampire.

A battle ensues in which the men of the village finally get the best of Rittenhouse by staking him in the back. As the vampire lies dying, he pronounces a curse upon the village to the effect that the men who slew him will die, as well as their children, "to give me back my life."

Fifteen years later, the Circus of Nights comes to town featuring a bizzare cast of characters and rather scandalous entertainment. By now the town has fallen under a plague connected with the curse of Count Rittenhouse and is quarantined by its fearful neighbors. The circus has supposedly come to bring life back to the village, although, as time goes on, we see that they have really come to bring death to the village, and life to a certain vampire lying in the ruins of his castle crypt.

If you enjoy Hammer films or just vampire films in general, "Vampire Circus" is a must-see. For those of you who have seen it, it is well worth seeing again, although be warned, if you have never seen the uncut version, you might just be surprised. This movie was made when Hammer was going through its own sexual revolution and there are three scenes in which nudity is a factor although, in my opinion, "Vampire Circus" is not quite the "flesh-fest" production that "The Vampire Lovers" or "Countess Dracula" were.

If you haven't seen this film, it's well worth the time. If you have seen it and don't remember it or you're afraid that it might not be as good as you remember, you've got a real treat coming.
March 17, 2011
eh.. is this what 'cirque du freak' was based on?
February 14, 2011
Amazing Hammer horror movie, loved this so much. The circus is in town...........OMG and then some.......Erotically charged and haunting too. They don't make em like this anymore. Glad Hammer are back up and making films again.
Beefy
Super Reviewer
January 25, 2011
Awesome Hammer is awesome.
½ January 13, 2011
One of the best films from Hammer's later era.
½ December 27, 2010
One of Hammer's most beautiful, hallucinatory and erotically charged thrillers to date. Which is unfortunate because it's also one of their most unfocused efforts. Which is not surprising given that it wasn't scripted by Hammer's usual in-house writers. I hate to call a Hammer film a squandered opportunity at brilliance but if the shoe fits....
½ November 11, 2010
I didn't pay attention to most of this, because I found it boring. I should give it another shot. In all likelihood, though, I never will.
October 31, 2010
Mmmmm, that's some tasty vampire cheez from good ol' Hammer Studios! "Vampire Circus" is absolutely fearless in its over-the-top depiction of 18th (or 19th?) century bloodsuckers in period costumes and eye shadow that makes every male vampire look like a 70's glam rock star... which is probably just what they were after. If you ever wondered what Mark Bolan, David Bowie and Gary Glitter would look like as vampires, you must see this flick!

Made in Hammer's later days, "Vampire Circus" is thoroughly saturated with blood and sex for its time. Naked, shaven-headed woman painted with tiger stripes doing using a Cat Stevens look-alike as a stripper's pole? Check. Very large stake-like objects leaving gaping wounds in vampire chests? Check. Implied lesbianism, incest and male homoeroticism involving glammy vampires with long fangs, gold chokers, bare chests and unisex haircuts? Check. Blood dripping from necks and wrists, decapitation, and refined ladies passing out at the site of them while younger women have sex with cat-o-morphic vampires in panther cages? Check. Shamelessly silly dialogue delivered by terribly earnest actors? Check. Hammer fans, and genre fans in general, will NOT be disappointed with this one.

As an added bonus, you'll get Lalla Ward (the second actress to play Romana during Tom Baker's stint as Doctor Who, former girlfriend of Douglas Adams and current spouse of Richard Dawkins) fresh out of film school in her first major screen role. She plays Helga, one of a pair of vampire twins who feel each other's pain and show each other's wounds when one of them is injured. She plays her role with staring eyes and the most innocent grin to spout bloody fangs in vampire cinema history.

"Vampire Circus" is a ton of fun. It works not only as a Hammer period piece, but, unwittingly, a terrific time capsule of early 70's vampire horror in general. Plus, with the somewhat romanticized but still bloody-fanged undead, it makes for perfect common ground between fans of the current spate of rather tame vampire fare (I'm looking at you, "Eclipse" fans) and those who prefer their walking dead with more menace. A must-see for all vampire fans of an age to deal with mature themes and situations. Halloween fun!
October 30, 2010
Great, classic Hammer, with all the moodiness, hammy acting, cool costumes, beautiful girls, and shocking violence one expects. Missing some of their more famous actors, it still has a good cast, including a young Lalla Ward (pre-Doctor Who, pre-Mrs. Richard Dawkins). If you enjoy other Hammer Horror films, check this one out. Oh, and I've seen it listed with a PG rating. Don't believe it. Even by the looser movie standards of the 70s this should probably have had an R for lots of nudity and bloody violence.
½ October 29, 2010
One of Hammer's hip, swingin hippie flicks revolving around an evil circus troop attempting to resurrect their count by sacrificing the blood of local towns children. It's all typical Hammer Horror fun with lustrous sets, costumes, and flowing orange blood; Vampire Circus should not be missed for fans of the studio. Plus, it has one of the most inventive vampire slayings I've seen in recent memory. VF.
September 4, 2010
Vampire Circus appears in the later Hammer years along with the Karnstein Trilogy, The Devil Rides Out, etc. Consequently, it features more nudity and gore than its 50s and 60s predecessors, and I must say that I love it. It is an original entry in Hammer's rather lengthy list of vampire films. When they execute a local vampire, the townspeople of the film unknowingly curse themselves and their progeny. A generation later, a circus appears in town, and slowly the denizens of the town begin to die or succumb to the charms of the vampire circus performers. Featuring a nude performer in tiger body paint and other strange acts, the film is a bizarre, surrealistic plunge into nightmarish eroticism and violence. An unforgettable entry in the Hammer pantheon that unfortunately is not available in the U.S. at present.
August 9, 2010
Vampire Circus appears in the later Hammer years along with the Karnstein Trilogy, The Devil Rides Out, etc. Consequently, it features more nudity and gore than its 50s and 60s predecessors, and I must say that I love it. It is an original entry in Hammer's rather lengthy list of vampire films. When they execute a local vampire, the townspeople of the film unknowningly curse themselves and their progeny. A generation later, a circus appears in town, and slowly the denizens of the town begin to die or succumb to the charms of the vampire circus performers. Featuring a nude performer in tiger body paint and other strange acts, the film is a bizarre, surrealistic plunge into nightmarish eroticism and violence. An unforgettable entry in the Hammer pantheon that unfortunately is not available in the U.S. at present.
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2009
Complete piece of garbage.I watched about 5 minutes of this movie & then turned it off
October 11, 2009
Classic Hammer vampire fare without any major leads. Always loved the twin acrobats tho.
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