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Psycho-Circus (1966)

Circus of Fear (original title)
Not Rated | | Mystery, Thriller, Horror | May 1967 (USA)
A circus becomes the location for stolen loot and murder.


, (as John Moxey)


(screenplay) (as Peter Welbeck)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sir John
Lawrence James ...
Detective Sgt. Manley
Tom Bowman ...
Nosher Powell ...
Red (as Fred Powell)


A circus becomes the location for stolen loot and murder.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The most horrifying syndicate of evil in history!


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

May 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Psycho-Circus  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (edited) (black and white)

Sound Mix:


| (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The winter quarters of Barberini's circus in the film were largely filmed at the actual home of one of Britain's most famous circus companies Billy Smart's circus in Winkfield, Berkshire. See more »


About five minutes into the movie, when the police are chasing the van, the shadow of the camera is visible on the front of the van. See more »


Featured in TJ and the All Night Theatre: Circus of Fear (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

"Not the horror film that the nudge nudge title promises."
25 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

The film opens with a heist at London's Tower Bridge in which a gang steal a quarter of a million pounds from a security van. The loot is then hidden somewhere in the winter quarters of a traveling circus and this leads to a series of brutal killings. Each of the victims is found stabbed with a circus throwing knife. Inspector Elliot (LEO GENN) suspects that one of the circus performers is the killer and the mastermind behind the raid. He has a number of suspects to choose from including the hooded lion tamer Gregor (CHRISTOPHER LEE) who for some mysterious reason is determined to conceal his face. Then there's Mr Big (SKIP MARTIN), a dwarf assistant on the big top who is systematically blackmailing Gregor for substantial sums of money. As the death toll rises, the pressure is on from Sir John (CECIL PARKER), Elliot's superior, to bring the culprit to justice.

CIRCUS OF FEAR (not to be confused with the Anton Diffring shocker CIRCUS OF HORRORS) isn't the horror film which it's nudging title promises. It's a disappointingly static murder mystery thriller with mild horrific overtones that wouldn't even scare your five-year-old son! It is based on an Edgar Wallace novel called AND THE THREE JUST MEN (first published in 1928), but the director who made a fine impression with his debut feature (the pseudo-American shocker CITY OF THE DEAD) is clearly uninterested in his material here. Hardly surprising since it's a very shaky plot and he seems happy to just keep the cameras immobile and leave it to the impressive cast to keep the movie afloat. Despite Lee's top billing, he gets very little to do and he wears a balaclava for most of the film. All in all, this one is for uncritical audiences only.

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