6.2/10
1,316
46 user 28 critic

Circus of Horrors (1960)

Approved | | Horror, Drama | April 1960 (UK)
In 1947 England, a plastic surgeon must beat a hasty retreat to France when one of his patients has ghastly problems with her surgery. Once there, he operates on a circus owner's daughter, ... See full summary »

Director:

Sidney Hayers

Writer:

George Baxt (original screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Anton Diffring ... Dr. Schuler
Erika Remberg ... Elissa Caro
Yvonne Monlaur ... Nicole Vanet
Donald Pleasence ... Vanet
Jane Hylton ... Angela
Kenneth Griffith Kenneth Griffith ... Martin
Conrad Phillips ... Insp. Arthur Ames
Jack Gwillim ... Supt. Andrews
Vanda Hudson Vanda Hudson ... Magda von Meck
Yvonne Romain ... Melina
Colette Wilde Colette Wilde ... Evelyn Morley Finsbury
William Mervyn William Mervyn ... Doctor Morley
John Merivale John Merivale ... Edward Finsbury
Peter Swanwick Peter Swanwick ... German Police Inspector Knopf
Carla Challoner Carla Challoner ... Nicole Vanet - Child
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Storyline

In 1947 England, a plastic surgeon must beat a hasty retreat to France when one of his patients has ghastly problems with her surgery. Once there, he operates on a circus owner's daughter, deformed by bombs from the war. Later he becomes the owner of the circus, and continues transforming disfigured women into the beautiful stars of his show. The police and a nosy reporter (as well as Scotland Yard) become interested when the women who want out of the circus begin dying in freak accidents, and they begin suspecting the good doctor is responsible. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Spectacular Towering Terror! One man's lust...made men into beasts, stripped women of their souls! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1960 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Phantom of the Circus See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lynx Films Ltd. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tony Hatch originally wrote the theme song for the Norman Wisdom film Follow a Star (1959), but it wasn't used, so Hatch changed the title to "Look For A Star". See more »

Goofs

When Magda meets her fate, close shots from behind show the wheel still spinning, with her on it, intercut with a distant shot showing people crowding around the wheel which is static. See more »

Quotes

[regarding the circus' new recruit]
Angela: She's a thief! A murderess!
Dr. Rossiter, alias Dr. Bernard Schueler: And a prostitute. Please, don't deny her her most important accomplishment.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A shot of the thrown knife hitting Magda in the neck was filmed but cut by the distributors in post-production upon BBFC request. Despite the film's brutal theme the only UK censor cuts to the finished print was the removal of visible topless female nudity during two of the sideshow scenes. This footage has never resurfaced in any print of the film and may no longer exist. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kika (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Light Cavalry March
(uncredited)
Music by Franz von Suppé
Arranged by Muir Mathieson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lurid and risqué for its time, and still quite unsettling.
19 March 2002 | by guancheSee all my reviews

I recall seeing this film as a child in 1960. My mother was quite angry at dad for taking us to a movie that was "definitely not for children". This is a grim story of a doctor fleeing some botched plastic surgeries. He takes over a backwoods circus and populates it with beautiful, yet disfigured female performers whom he restores to beauty and rescues from lives of prostitution and rejection. Of course, once the circus becomes successful, the ladies no longer feel like putting up with, or putting out for him, so he devises elaborate circus "accidents" to deal with their ingratitude.

The song "Look For A Star" permeates the movie at various times. At first, it's almost unnoticeable, a seemingly lame early sixties pop tune. However, as the movie progresses it takes on a sinister, disturbing aspect and circulates the brain long after it is over.

The film is well acted and truly suspenseful. A must for those who like their sex and violence done in a literate, intelligent manner.


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