Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 261: Vampire Circus (1972) - Rank 4.5/5


Before the credits even roll, you're treated to the pedophilic killing of a waif by a vampire, ample tit shots and sex, followed by the gory disposal of said vampire at the hands of an angry mob. Such moments in film enkindle the inner thirteen year-old in me, resulting in a tiny voice at the back of my mind that need exclaim only one thing: "Cooooooool!" "Vampire Circus" can't be considered anything but a guilty pleasure film, but, ah, what a guilty pleasure at that.

The plot could best be summed up as: an adaptation of Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes"...but with vampires. Count Mitterhouse is the bourgeoisie vampire that is slain prior to the film's titles, and upon his death, he claims that a plague will fall upon the residents of the village as punishment, and that he will, one day, be resurrected by the blood of those who took his life. The plague does come and soon the village is cut off from the world, like a lot of lepers, so you can imagine their glee when the circus comes to town (the term "circus" being used here, since "band of gypsies" would be more apt a description). Every night, the town's population is entertained by the metamorphosis of animals to man, hypnotic dances and other manners of black magic presented in a merry fashion.

I suppose the film could also be compared with "The Circus of Dr. Lao," for many elements of the circus lead to the demise of the original slayers of Count Mitterhouse in mildly ironic fashions, just as foolish patrons meet unexpected fates at the hands of Medusa or other creatures with Dr. Lao's show. The film is both dark and surreal, and it still pushes the envelope by today's standards (much less, by those of Britain in the early 1970's). Definitely a lot of fun!

Watch the Trailer

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