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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 »



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Complete credited cast:
Dr. Schuler
Elissa Caro
Nicole Vanet
Jane Hylton ...
Kenneth Griffith ...
Conrad Phillips ...
Insp. Arthur Ames
Supt. Andrews
Vanda Hudson ...
Magda von Meck
Colette Wilde ...
Evelyn Morley Finsbury
William Mervyn ...
Doctor Morley
John Merivale ...
Edward Finsbury
Peter Swanwick ...
German Police Inspector Knopf
Carla Challoner ...
Nicole Vanet - Child


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


For ever stranger thrills...he turned the greatest show on earth into a... See more »


Horror | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

April 1960 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Phantom of the Circus  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First full length feature film directed by Sidney Hayers. See more »


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 »


Elissa Caro: Your face...
Elissa Caro: I know it's as ugly as sin but the body's ok so I make out.
Elissa Caro: You can be beautiful if you would trust me.
Elissa Caro: Trust you, a perfect stranger.
See more »


Referenced in The Bloodiest Show on Earth: Making Vampire Circus (2010) See more »


Look For a Star
Written by Tony Hatch (as Mark Anthony)
Sung by Garry Mills
See more »

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User Reviews

Popcorn, Peanuts but no Elephants!

This is a strange little horror gem from the early sixties about a mad plastic surgeon who must flee England because of some not very sound surgery practices. Once out of England, he(played by Anton Diffring with aplomb) and his two cohorts murder their way into owning a run-down circus whilst in France. From there on ten years pass as the doctor fixes the disfigured faces of thieves and prostitutes in return for their services in the circus. Well...I am not making this up but the doctor and his renegade circus performers then travel all over Europe and become a huge success. Problems start to happen though as the beautiful female star attractions want out of the circus...and the bed of Diffring...only to find their solace in bizarre deaths...circus-related of course. One female is killed in a knife-throwing accident while another falls while trapezing. This is a credulous scenario to be sure, but the film is quite fun. The acting is good: Diffring is marvelous as the mad physician plagued with his obsession for perfection in beauty, Donald Pleasance is quite good in a small role, and the female leads are quite stunning...visually of course. The music is rather hokey...very sixties, but atmosphere is otherwise rather well-staged. All in all I think I would prefer this over spending my time in a real circus...what a "real" horror. Enjoy.

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