6.2/10
1,208
43 user 22 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 »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
...
...
Kenneth Griffith ...
...
...
Vanda Hudson ...
Magda von Meck
...
Colette Wilde ...
William Mervyn ...
Doctor Morley
John Merivale ...
Edward Finsbury
Peter Swanwick ...
German Police Inspector Knopf
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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

April 1960 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Phantom of the Circus  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song "Look for a Star", used throughout the film during the circus sequences, became a hit pop recording in Great Britain (for Garry Mills) and the United States (for the similarly named Garry Miles). It was written by the young Tony Hatch under his regular pseudonym of Mark Anthony. See more »

Goofs

Although, at the climax, the circus is known as 'Shuler's Circus' and is clearly labeled as such on exterior shots, the ring is clearly marked round its edge with the repeated initials 'B S'. The 'B S' presumably stands for Billy Smart of Billy Smart's Circus who provided the big top location. See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

The Washington Post
(uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Arranged by Muir Mathieson
Played during the equestrian act
Also played during the parade before the final show
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lurid and risqué for its time, and still quite unsettling.
19 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

I recall seeing this film as a child in 1960. My mother was quite angry at dad for taking us to a movie that was "definitely not for children". This is a grim story of a doctor fleeing some botched plastic surgeries. He takes over a backwoods circus and populates it with beautiful, yet disfigured female performers whom he restores to beauty and rescues from lives of prostitution and rejection. Of course, once the circus becomes successful, the ladies no longer feel like putting up with, or putting out for him, so he devises elaborate circus "accidents" to deal with their ingratitude.

The song "Look For A Star" permeates the movie at various times. At first, it's almost unnoticeable, a seemingly lame early sixties pop tune. However, as the movie progresses it takes on a sinister, disturbing aspect and circulates the brain long after it is over.

The film is well acted and truly suspenseful. A must for those who like their sex and violence done in a literate, intelligent manner.


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