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View Full Version : "Vampire Circus" Reviews/Discussion - 2011 Horror Challenge: Day 7


Chad
09-25-11, 07:39 PM
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Vampire Circus (1972)
http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n172/dvdchad/vampirecircus.jpg

Selected by mallratcal
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IMDB ENTRY (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067924/combined)

NETFLIX WATCH INSTANTLY (http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Vampire_Circus/70147078?trkid=2361637)

These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/10392593-post257.html).

MAIN THREAD (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/578743-100-movies-31-days-6th-annual-october-horror-movie-challenge-10-1-10-31-a.html) | LIST THREAD (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/579437-6th-annual-october-horror-movie-challenge-10-1-10-31-list-thread.html)

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags are unnecessary in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

OHMC7 HOME (http://forum.dvdtalk.com/dvd-talk/578743-100-movies-31-days-6th-annual-october-horror-movie-challenge-10-1-10-31-a.html)
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GoldenWheels
10-07-11, 12:10 PM
One of my absolute favorite Hammers. Will gladly watch it for the umpteenth time, especially having the Synapse blu ray.

Trevor
10-07-11, 12:16 PM
Just streamed it. Don't remember Hammer film being quite this sexy and Felliniesque. Not that either is a bad thing.....

Pizza
10-07-11, 12:56 PM
Just streamed it. Don't remember Hammer film being quite this sexy and Felliniesque. Not that either is a bad thing.....

I find most Hammer films sexually infused. :) Seems the later Hammer films started to border into Felliniesque land.

GoldenWheels
10-07-11, 02:04 PM
I think this one's opener in particular takes the sexual angle to another level most Hammers only touched with fangs and copious cleavage.

The prologue with the young girl, and Mitterhaus saying "one lust feed the other". The whole scene somehow feels borderline taboo for me. The point was of course being feeding leading to lust but when the feeding was a child and that leads to lust, even with a grown woman...

And then the idea he stole the mans wife with some variable combination of vampire charisma and sexual decadence...love it! I haven't watched it in maybe 6 months but I believe at one point she begs him to come back to bed?

Love the colors of the circus too, and the transformations. I've seen them described as laughable, I find them beautifully simple.

onebyone
10-07-11, 03:00 PM
This is definitely my favorite Hammer. I have always had a thing for this movie. It's just such a perfect mix of sexy, weird, horror, and depravity. No matter how many times I watch it, it's always a wicked treat.

rbrown498
10-07-11, 11:57 PM
This change-of-pace film from Hammer shows the company desperately trying to make adjustments to its usual formula in order to meet changes in the cinematic marketplace. Because of this, the film is rather schizophrenic--but it's never dull. Hammer really amped-up the gore quotient in this one; I haven't done a violence survey of their films, but I feel that this one would most probably be the bloodiest by a fairly large margin. The plot is a variation on what was quickly becoming one of Hammer's most-used themes, that of "the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children." But forget the plot and watch Vampire Circus for its hallucinatory imagery, and for the incredibly lovely Lynne Frederick, my favorite Hammer damsel.

rbrown498
10-08-11, 12:01 AM
Love the colors of the circus too, and the transformations. I've seen them described as laughable, I find them beautifully simple.

I thought that Emil's transition from man to panther as he goes up the stairs to the second floor of the school was rather astonishing. I had to scan back and watch it again to see if I could find the dissolve. I couldn't.

takingchase
10-08-11, 12:44 AM
I thought that Emil's transition from man to panther as he goes up the stairs to the second floor of the school was rather astonishing. I had to scan back and watch it again to see if I could find the dissolve. I couldn't.

I did the same thing, pretty nice effect for its time.

I rather enjoyed Vampire Circus. I'm not too familiar with Hammer films, if I didn't read it here I would have thought they were all this sexual.

mallratcal
10-08-11, 01:29 AM
The effects were pretty good, but I'm more impressed by how they got so many boobs in a PG rated film!

rbrown498
10-08-11, 02:16 AM
The effects were pretty good, but I'm more impressed by how they got so many boobs in a PG rated film!

Mallrat,

The version you saw with all the boobage was the British theatrical version, which was NOT what was released to theaters in the US back in the 1970s by Fox. The American theatrical version was several minutes shorter than the version Synapse has put out, with almost all of the nudity and a lot of the gore cut out.

The PG rating that's listed on Netflix is incorrect for the version of the film that they have. As far as I know, the only way these days to see the American theatrical cut is to find a 16mm print on the collector's market.

PhantomStranger
10-08-11, 03:24 AM
The Blu-ray is absolutely essential if you like this movie. It's definitely one of the more exotic Hammer films.

sleepyvillager
10-08-11, 04:01 AM
This one was a pleasure to watch. I could definitely see Vampire Circus and other Hammer horror films inspiring Siouxsie and the Banshees and her ilk down the road.

Gobear
10-08-11, 06:32 AM
I absolutely love this movie, but I wish that the director had been able to realize his vision fully, instead of being hobbled by budget woes.

What gets me is that Emil played Professor Raithe in Young Sherlock Holmes[/[ 12 years after [b]Vampire Circus, yet he looks completely different. If I didn't have IMDB, I would never have known those roles were played by the same actor.

GoldenWheels
10-08-11, 01:50 PM
Enjoyed it again last night, again, as I knew I would. Only the panther attack mid movie strikes me as a weak point (fx wise).

Loved Mitterhaus' crypt. His ending. And THE ending in general. The hall of mirrors. The AWESOME gunshot blowout on the strongman. etc Etc ETC!

Just love the movie period.

GoldenWheels
10-08-11, 01:58 PM
I thought that Emil's transition from man to panther as he goes up the stairs to the second floor of the school was rather astonishing. I had to scan back and watch it again to see if I could find the dissolve. I couldn't.

Was fast and aggressive too...gives you that sense of a real predator on the hunt.

I love the bat acrobats myself. Simple cuts, good sfx (crowd reaction), proper timing--it's basic but it all works. And even if the projection or whatever it was of the bats looked a little shaky, at least it projected a real bat--they didn't go the Hammer rubber bat route.

Lot of weird taboo sex stuff in there to I think from the opener to the bats who are, presumably brother and sister (Emil calls them the gypsy woman's "twins" late in the movie) and have a mouth to mouth kiss which looked intimate (even by Euro standards). Then the gypsy kisses them on the mouth later.

Maybe they are "vampire" twins and not brother and sister but that wasn't the way I took it!

mallratcal
10-08-11, 04:57 PM
Mallrat,

The version you saw with all the boobage was the British theatrical version, which was NOT what was released to theaters in the US back in the 1970s by Fox. The American theatrical version was several minutes shorter than the version Synapse has put out, with almost all of the nudity and a lot of the gore cut out.

The PG rating that's listed on Netflix is incorrect for the version of the film that they have. As far as I know, the only way these days to see the American theatrical cut is to find a 16mm print on the collector's market.

Ah, that makes sense.


I was disappointed that there was no bear driving a small car. How can you have a circus without that?

rbrown498
10-08-11, 06:37 PM
I was disappointed that there was no bear driving a small car. How can you have a circus without that?

My own disappointment was that there were no monkeys riding dogs. The bear driving a small car may be the defining act of a circus, but a circus without monkeys riding dogs can be no better than second-rate.

To pull things back on topic, the attack on the family in the woods was actually a high point for me. The effects were almost subliminal, with the big cat looking demonic in the quick cuts we saw of it. The gore was pretty poorly done, but, overall, I found the sequence to be fascinating and spooky.

tarfrimmer
10-10-11, 02:20 PM
This was another winner and first-time viewing for me this month. For some reason, the title and cover always put me off and I never got around to seeing it. Which is a shame, since I really enjoyed it. Might have to add this one to the collection.

And oh my goodness, Robin Sachs (as the twin Heinrich) was young in this!

Spiderbite
10-12-11, 11:18 PM
Really enjoyed this one. Starts off with a bang and the first circus sequence is great. It does die down a little as the movie goes on but I quite enjoy this one.

My rating: ***1/2 out of *****

Time Warrior
10-13-11, 09:49 PM
"None of you will live. Your village will die. Your children will die...to give me back my life."

When I was young this was one of the least interesting Hammers, but it has grown in stature over the years. I think originally it was the slightly choppy editing that put me off. I now find the film engrossing, visually arresting and quite tense at times.

It really is brutal stuff though. The film has at least twenty speaking characters, all bar two of whom meet violent ends. I lost count of how many people died in the last five minutes or so of the film.

This film really benefits from having a cast minus the more famous Hammer faces. Whilst I could imagine Peter Cushing playing the cuckolded husband (and playing it well) I think the anguished-looking Laurence Payne is more fitting for the story.

The director clearly recognises the benefits of stylised violence. There is a moment where a character is killed with a gunshot that is as bloody as anything I can recall seeing on film up until that time. On a similar note the first death of Mitterhouse is excellently cheoreographed with people rushing up to attack him and being swept away like kindling before someone puts a stake through his back - "His heart - it must be his heart!"

Lots to like here - and one of the last gasps of film greatness before the industry died c. 1973.

The Man with the Golden Doujinshi
10-14-11, 11:19 AM
I saw this last challenge and didn't care for it and this year was the same. I've never really been big on vampire films but putting them in a circus didn't make it any better for me.

GoldenWheels
10-14-11, 12:41 PM
"None of you will live. Your village will die. Your children will die...to give me back my life."

When I was young this was one of the least interesting Hammers, but it has grown in stature over the years. I think originally it was the slightly choppy editing that put me off. I now find the film engrossing, visually arresting and quite tense at times.

It really is brutal stuff though. The film has at least twenty speaking characters, all bar two of whom meet violent ends. I lost count of how many people died in the last five minutes or so of the film.

This film really benefits from having a cast minus the more famous Hammer faces. Whilst I could imagine Peter Cushing playing the cuckolded husband (and playing it well) I think the anguished-looking Laurence Payne is more fitting for the story.

The director clearly recognises the benefits of stylised violence. There is a moment where a character is killed with a gunshot that is as bloody as anything I can recall seeing on film up until that time. On a similar note the first death of Mitterhouse is excellently cheoreographed with people rushing up to attack him and being swept away like kindling before someone puts a stake through his back - "His heart - it must be his heart!"

Lots to like here - and one of the last gasps of film greatness before the industry died c. 1973.

Thought about the body count at the end, when the two young lovers do manage to make it out alive. They kind of look up at the moon and it's like "shit--we're alive but everybody else is dead". A happy ending it ain't!

Agree 100% on not using the Hammer regulars. The first time I saw it I think that actually put me off--I thought, what, they couldn't have gotten Michael Ripper to be a bartender or something? But after watching it a few more times I kind of like how that sets it apart.

Preterite
10-14-11, 02:06 PM
And even if the projection or whatever it was of the bats looked a little shaky, at least it projected a real bat--they didn't go the Hammer rubber bat route.
Way back in the day, a buddy and I were watching a Hong Kong hopping vampire flick. It was Vampire vs. Vampire, I think, as the plot involved a Western vampire causing problems for the Taoist priest more used to battling jiangshi. Anyway, at one point the European vampire summons a swarm of bats, and we cracked up at the way they dangled limply at the end of all-too visible strings. Still, we were pretty impressed at how realistic the rubber bats were, until I had an epiphany. I got real close to the television and was able to confirm that yes, those were real bats.

Man, I love HK cinema.