Today's film is Vampire Circus. I picked it because I find circuses fascinating and scary. Even though I don't like vampire films, I still greatly enjoyed this.
This film takes a long time, like 13 minutes just setting up why the townspeople hate their count and how they get cursed. Seems like he has been kidnapping children to suck their blood. The schoolmaster's wife becomes enamored with him (because vampires are hot) and sleeps with him. The townspeople drive a stake through his heart (well really the middle of his abdomen) and burn his castle down. They assume the schoolmaster's wife died in the fire. Why are vampires always Counts? Are there no kings or lords or dukes?
15 years later, the town is under quarantine because of a plague. They all think it's because the vampire count cursed them that they and their children will die, and that he will live again. The doctor knows better and flees town to find medicine for everybody. He said that they left the burnt castle to ruin and the vermin the breeds there caused the illness. Meanwhile, a circus has set up in town.
The circus acts alone are worth watching the film. The best part is the tiger dance. Instead of a trainer whipping a tiger around, which is cruel, the tiger is replaced by a dancer. She is wearing a striped bodysuit which looks painted on and together she and the "trainer" perform a beautiful and powerful modern dance piece. Also, David Prowse, who is famous for being Darth Vader, plays the silent strong man.
Another thing which surprised me was how well done the special effects were. Having the bats transform into the acrobats flying through the air was impressive. Also, one of the vampires turns into a panther and vice-versa. So, vampires aren't only bats; they're panthers too. It's not as violent as I thought it would be, although someone does get his head shot off with a crossbow. The decaying bodies looked believable and the wounds of the victims showed decent makeup skills. Overall, I enjoyed this film very much and will give this a 7/10.
This post is part of the Hammer Halloween Blogathon hosted by the Classic Film & TV Café. (www.classicfilmtvcafe.com) To view the complete blogathon schedule go to http://www.classicfilmtvcafe.com/2013/09/coming-this-october-hammer-halloween.html.