6.2/10
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46 user 29 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:

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

The clowns are dressed as Keystone Cops in one of the scenes. See more »

Goofs

When Shuler is attacked by the gorilla, it clearly shows the gorilla's claw mauling the left side of Shuler's face. Later, only the right side of Shuler's face show any signs of the attack.

This is not true. The only time (1:21:51) where we see the Right face scarred is when he is looking at itself in a double mirror. All the other shots of Schuler have the scars on the left cheek. All of the previous goof detail is false. What could be added. This is false, false. That's all. How long should the explanation be. We always see the scars on the correct place, except in this mirror. Should I write a novel to fill the longer explanation ? See more »

Quotes

Dr. Rossiter, alias Dr. Bernard Schueler: I must say, she's even better at soliciting applause than she was at soliciting men.
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 Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz
(uncredited)
from "Coppélia"
Music by Léo Delibes
Arranged by Muir Mathieson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Quick, get her to a doctor. And send the clowns in."
4 February 2005 | by bensonmum2See all my reviews

A plastic surgeon (Dr. Rossiter), who has just butchered the face of a patient, is on the run. After having an accident and requiring plastic surgery himself, he and his assistants travel to France so the doctor may start anew with a new face and name. After a fatal accident to the owner of a circus, Dr. Rossiter takes over. He soon discovers that he can continue his plastic surgery experiments by operating on murderers, thieves, and prostitutes who all just happen to have some sort of facial deformity or scar. The patients, also with new identities, go to work for the doctor in his circus. The doctor keeps them in line and working through blackmail. As he knows their true identities, they are reluctant to leave. Soon, however, some of the patients become restless and try to 'escape' the doctor. Dr. Rossiter, through a series of 'accidents', makes sure they don't, thereby keeping his secret. Any more of the story would be too much.

Circus of Horrors is a very visually pleasing film. The film's makers appear to have been heavily influenced by the Hammer movies being produced at the time. The lavish colors, costumes, and sets are very Hammer-like. And, like many of the Hammer movies, this one must have been quite shocking for its time. As an example, a knife throwing scene turns particularly nasty.

The movie also features some wonderful acting. Anton Diffring is especially sinister as the mad doctor. Donald Pleasence, in a small role, highlights an above average supporting cast.

The only problem I have with the movie is its tendency to lose focus. Too often, circus scenes seem to go on a little too long and drag the movie down to a snail's pace.


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