A couple travels to a castle for the reading of the will of the woman's recently deceased wealthy uncle. It turns out that he left her the castle and its grounds. She is persuaded by ... See full summary »
A woman, a survivor of a failed murder attempt by a person dubbed "The Half-Moon Killer" by the police, and her husband must find the connecting thread between herself, six other women, and... See full summary »
Pier Paolo Capponi
In 19th century Holland, a professor of fine arts and an unlicensed surgeon run a secret lab where the professor's ill daughter receives blood-transfusions from kidnapped female victims who posthumously become macabre art.
An old man who lives in an old house conducts a correctional institute for girls. But he does not realize that the date is the present as he's been cooped up in the house. He is assisted by... See full summary »
The only double the producers could find for Sir Christopher Lee was the circus' real lion tamer, who Lee described as being "half my height". In order to make the situation credible, 6'4" tall Lee was shot in close-up, so the height differential would not be too obvious to the audience. According to Lee, he wore a black mask through 90% of the movie anyway. See more »
In the main robbery scene, there are twelve extremely large bags of money, but later at the end the Scotland Yard detective says "well we recovered the money, but not the murderer" and all of the stolen money has been condensed into one ordinary suitcase. See more »
Original West German theatrical release was in black-and-white, whereas everywhere else the film was shown in colour. See more »
Circus of Fear is based on a novel by Edgar Wallace; the same writer who spawned the German "Krimi" style of film-making. This film is a British take on the Krimi style and comes out something like a Hammer Horror mystery, though the film is not without its problems. That's possibly why this film is not easy to come by; as despite the fact that it stars Christopher Lee in an interesting role as a circus lion tamer, Circus of Fear, at times, isn't all that easy to get along with as the plot is really quite messy and the horror that goes along with the central mystery often gets in the way. The plot begins with a botched heist that ends with one of the criminals shooting a police officer. The shooter is given the chance to go and give the boss his share before being allowed to flee the country; but unfortunately, he is murdered upon his arrival at the meeting place. The action then switches to the local circus where is believed that the identity of the murderer will be revealed. There we are introduced to a whole host of shady and mysterious characters...
The film is directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, who previously directed Christopher Lee in the excellent, fog-soaked, City of the Dead. Said previous film is a better one as the plot worked better; but while Circus of Fear doesn't always work well, the things that do work are very good and the film never gets boring. The cast is headed by Christopher Lee who is grim and imposing in his role as a horribly scarred and masked lion tamer. The film also features a small role for the great Klaus Kinski, as well as sound performances from British performers Anthony Newlands, Leo Genn and Margeret Lee. The film presents a lot of suspects and it soon becomes easier to just watch it rather than try and guess who the killer is. However, the two twists in the tale can be guessed (the first one is very obvious) without putting too much strain on the viewer, which is a shame. City of the Dead was all about atmosphere and this film is fairly atmospheric too, though not nearly to the same extent as the earlier film, which is another shame. Overall, Circus of Fear is not a great film; but it's entertaining enough and I can recommend it.
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