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(aka "Phantom of the Circus")

 

Directed by Sidney Hayers
UK 1960

 

A deranged plastic surgeon (Anton Diffring) takes over a traveling circus, then transforms horribly disfigured young women into ravishing beauties and coerces them to perform in his three-ring extravaganza. But when the re-sculpted lovelies try to escape the clutches of the obsessed doctor, they begin to meet with sudden and horrific "accidents." Now the trapeze is swinging, the knives are flying, the wild animals are loose – and "The Grisliest Show on Earth" is about to begin.

Donald Pleasence (Halloween) and Yvonne Monlaur (The Brides Of Dracula) co-star in this notorious 1960 British cult classic from writer George Baxt (The City Of The Dead) and director Sidney Hayers (Burn, Witch, Burn!).

***

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.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 1960

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:12.026        
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 30,131,920,222 bytes

Feature: 27,363,305,472 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1572 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1572 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Shout! Factory

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 30,131,920,222 bytes

Feature: 27,363,305,472 bytes

Video Bitrate: 36.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Trailers From Hell With Commentary By Filmmaker John Landis (2:56)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:32)
• TV Spots (0:42)
• Still Gallery (3:50)


Blu-ray Release Date:
September 10th, 2019
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Shout! Factory Blu-ray (August 2019): Shout! Factory have transferred Amalgamated Studios' 1960 UK genre film Circus of Horrors to Blu-ray. It looks quite pleasing with bold colors of the circus performers costumes occasionally appearing rich and deep. There are very few speckles and no damage marks. Detail is consistent in the film's close-ups and there is a texture and depth to the visuals. It is on a dual-layered Blu-ray disc with a max'ed out bitrate and, in-motion, is reasonably impressive in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

NOTE: 46 more full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray captures for Patrons are available HERE.

On their Blu-ray, Shout! Factory use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track (24-bit) in the original English language. The film effects centre around the Big Top with lions growling, elephants trumpeting and a bouncy score credited to Muir Mathieson (This Happy Breed) and Franz Reizenstein (Yesterday's Enemy, The Mummy). Garry Mills' Look For a Star acts as an awkward theme to the film and you can hear La Couronne d'Or and Léo Delibes arranged by Mathieson Shout! Factory offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

Extras are kind of lean for Shout! Factory - no commentary but a 3-minute, sarky, Trailers From Hell piece with John Landis, a theatrical trailer, TV Spots and stills gallery

Yes, this has some Hammer-esque charm which was probably the intent of Amalgamated Studios and it also has a bevy of beauties (Erika Remberg - The Lickerish Quartet, Yvonne Monlaur - The Brides Of Dracula, Jane Hylton - Deadly Record, Vanda Hudson - Libel, Yvonne Romain - The Curse of the Werewolf) parading around often in skimpy and glittering circus attire. Circus of Horrors has some over-the-top fun. It could have been named 'circus of cosmetic surgery'. I enjoyed my viewing - really as Anton Diffring's 'Dr. Schuler' as an unexplained power-mad Svengali who eventually loses all his marbles. The Shout! Factory Blu-ray will be revisited on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Shout! Factory - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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