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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Circus Has Come To Town
As a long time fan of Hammer Films, this was one of their few later movies that I missed the first time around (HANDS OF THE RIPPER was another). I guess it never came to a drive-in near me. After 1970 I only saw Hammer Films at the drive-ins which I now know was because they had lost their major American distributors and rarely played first run houses outside of the big...
Published on 6 Mar 2011 by Chip Kaufmann

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag transfer to 1080 but extras are good.
Many have raved about the transfer on show here but lets be honest the previous uk carlton transfer was very very solid and the colours looked nice and muted and contrast great. The level of detail on show in this first major Hammer hd experience is a little better but not a massive leap.The colour pallette looks boosted to me and less pleasing and the contrast is darker...
Published on 29 Jun 2011 by D. M. Taylor


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag transfer to 1080 but extras are good., 29 Jun 2011
By 
D. M. Taylor "Dunctay" (Greater Manchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vampire Circus (Blu-ray + DVD) [1972] [US Import] [NTSC] (Blu-ray)
Many have raved about the transfer on show here but lets be honest the previous uk carlton transfer was very very solid and the colours looked nice and muted and contrast great. The level of detail on show in this first major Hammer hd experience is a little better but not a massive leap.The colour pallette looks boosted to me and less pleasing and the contrast is darker so some shadow detail is lost. Grain is there (which i prefer rather than noise reduction) which can look boosted because of the clarity of blu ray. So a mixed bag worth a punt for fans but not an exibition piece.
The extras are good especially the one on the hammer magazine but uk buyers beware its all region coded. For interest its a good buy but i was not over pleased by the contrast and colour.So if you have the dvd you may want to keep it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Circus Has Come To Town, 6 Mar 2011
By 
Chip Kaufmann (Asheville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vampire Circus (Blu-ray + DVD) [1972] [US Import] [NTSC] (Blu-ray)
As a long time fan of Hammer Films, this was one of their few later movies that I missed the first time around (HANDS OF THE RIPPER was another). I guess it never came to a drive-in near me. After 1970 I only saw Hammer Films at the drive-ins which I now know was because they had lost their major American distributors and rarely played first run houses outside of the big cities. I never caught it on cable and after having heard about it for years I finally obtained an all region DVD copy from Asia which looked like it was copied from a second generation TV print but at least I finally got to see it. It is truly unlike any other Hammer film from that time thanks to the long prelude, surreal circus settings, and the fact that many of the victims are children. Now Synapse Films, with this Blu ray/DVD combo release, has rectified the situation by presenting the film the way it originally appeared.

The first thing I noticed was the improved picture quality and color saturation which made for an especially vivid viewing experience. Next up was the fact that this version was 4 minutes longer (87 as opposed to 83) than my Asian copy. While there don't appear to be any missing scenes, some of them such as the invisible voices at the circus, the demonic panther attack, and the silhouette sequence run longer and make more sense. I read where Hammer had run out of time and money with only about 75% of the planned film completed but through clever editing and skillful transitions it hangs together very well. The film has old favorites Adrienne Corri, Thorley Walters, and David Prowse (6 years before Darth Vader) to give it added appeal. I also finally figured out where I had seen Emil, the panther man, before. Here he's billed as Anthony Corlan but many years later he would play Moriarty in YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES as Anthony Higgins.

If you are familiar with the post-Anthony Hinds Hammer Films (the 1970s) such as the Karnstein trilogy or HANDS OF THE RIPPER then you know what to expect. More flesh, more violence, and a lot more Kensington Gore. THE VAMPIRE LOVERS and COUNTESS DRACULA have already been issued as a quality double bill on Region 1 DVD. Now it's time for TWINS OF EVIL and HANDS OF THE RIPPER to join VAMPIRE CIRCUS in quality releases. Synapse Films says nothing about it on their website so hopefully somebody will do the honors soon. Now that the ressurected Hammer Films has released LET ME IN (to critical raves but poor U.S. box office) and the soon to be released WOMAN IN BLACK with Daniel Radcliffe, it's time to consolidate the back catalogue and offer an officially sanctioned Hammer Films collection of everything from THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT through the 1979 remake of THE LADY VANISHES.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Novel Vampire Flick!, 18 April 2007
By 
E. Barrios (N.Y.C.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vampire Circus [DVD][1972] (DVD)
I decided to give Vampire Circus a try based on the many reviews I've read on the Internet. I have to say, it was a good move on my part. I won't go into the plot as I'm sure you can find all about it on many sites. I will say that the acting is okay and effects are decent for its time.

Carlton Video did a fantastic transfer. The film looks pristine with no visible imperfections. The colors are solid and rich. Hats off to Carlton.

This little gem is worth the purchase if you're a Hammer fan or a lover of Vampire flicks.

Thumbs up!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "and Your Children Will Die - To Give Me Back My Life..", 18 Jan 2009
By 
This review is from: Vampire Circus [DVD][1972] (DVD)
Feels good to be right sometimes.
Only a few short months ago I appeared on these very pages with a stark warning about travelling folk and all they get up to in their mysterious twilight world.
I have been derided as bigot in some quarters, fool in others, but no longer must I rely on hearsay and jangle to support my rantings - here at last is the irrefutable proof.

The town of Schtettle was complacent too. Thinking a travelling circus would divert the long-suffering folk from maudling over the dreadful plague decimating the population seems like a top idea on paper, but as so often turns out in Hammer movies - especially ones with 'vampire' in the title - the reality is a BIG bad.
By wretched bad luck, the circus people are led by Emil, who turns out to be cousin to the desperately evil Count Mitterhaus, a nasty noble who seduced the nubiles and murdered the children of Schtettle, until being staked to oblivion years before.
Emil's not happy about this, so he sets about seducing and murdering the present-day youth of miserable Schtettle, to fulfil the hissing Mitterhaus' dying-breath curse and in so doing, bring him back to life.
The circus turns dazzle the unfortunate audience, who after witnessing trapeze artists turning into bats, an insane dance by a tiger-woman and Emil himself transforming into a scary panther among the attractions, begin to fall prey to the blood-sucking performers.
The children are tricked into a magic castle, breathlessly bonked in animal cages, led AWOL through a hall of mirrors only to find themselves on the receiving end of the gleaming teeth of Emil (NOT played by David Essex - too many stereotypes being enforced here for that languid hypocrite) and his beaming kin.
The adults fare no better. A family is slaughtered when they're tricked by the circus dwarf (a truly nightmarish figure - and there's something else I've warned you about !), who leads them to death in the sinister frondian forest that surrounds the village...

Sound good so far..? You bet it is. 'Vampire Circus' is crammed to the beams with sex, violence and caravans.
There's gory murders, a belt-buckle whipping, full-frontal nudity, a burning castle and a chunky staking in the pre-credits sequence alone! The film proper then takes a whopping great 4 minutes to set the scene 15 years later, then we're straight to the plague victims, the arrival of the circus ("We're here to steal the gold from dead mens eyes..") and the unhappy rumblings of the townsfolk, who, brilliantly, are being punished for doing the right thing!
Yay. Should've let old Mitterhaus be. Alone in his castle (except for hot visitors - the townsmens wives!), doing no harm to no-one. These 19th Century Serbian villages don't know when they're well off.
I won't spoil it, but 'Vampire Circus' ends with a massacre that puts 'Little Big Horn' to shame. Vampires, townsfolk, soldiers and dwarves - all involved in a huge blood-bath in a tiny crypt, plus a juicy decapitation by cross-bow that you really need to see.

I strongly believe all gypsy types behave like this (but then again, I believed there was an evil race living under the sea after I watched 'Stingray'), and we must be on constant guard at all times if we don't want our children to be eaten to death.
'Vampire Circus' is hard evidence of what happens when your apathetic town-councillors sit on their hands, and you don't barricade your municipal car-parks...
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hammer's Best!!, 7 Dec 2009
By 
Vlad the Impaler (barnstaple, devon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Vampire Circus [DVD][1972] (DVD)
I am a massive fan of Hammer Horror and all from, I think, that magical era from the late 50's to mid 70's. This film is no exception yet it tends to get overlooked when compared to the Dracula series and the Karnstein trilogy. I think this film is better than the latter and is one of the last great triumphs the studio produced. The plot is a real departure from most of its contemporaries and is stronger for it based on the dying curse of a vampire count. It's also very atmospheric. The other striking thing about this film is the score which is stunning, dripping with menace, mystery and solemnity throughout.

Anyway, enough of me rambling, buy it and see for yourself!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing late Hammer horror with great extras but a disappointing Blu-ray transfer, 5 July 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Vampire Circus (Blu-ray + DVD) [1972] [US Import] [NTSC] (Blu-ray)
Hammer's glory days were behind them as they moved into the early 70, with the studio that made its mark with horror films run by people who didn't actually like horror films and production shifting towards a slew of TV sitcom spinoffs to cash in on the huge success of their first On the Buses film. With the Dracula and Frankenstein series winding down, their horror films were increasingly the result of outside producers approaching them rather than projects generated in-house, some interesting, some disastrous. Vampire Circus belongs in the former category, a not always successful attempt to do something a bit new with the tits'n'fangs formula. Although it could almost fit in as a fourth entry in the studios Karnstein trilogy (The Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire, Twins of Evil), it takes its influences from both gothic literature, the studio's back-catalogue and arthouse classic with its Felliniesque dwarf and Bergmanesque travelling players as harbingers of doom, and adding a further layer of sexuality and perversion. Beginning with an extended pre-title sequence that sees the obligatory torch bearing villagers finally deciding to deal with the local vampire count who has been feeding on their children with the help of schoolteacher Domini Blythe, for whom infanticide is clearly such a huge turn on she'd kill her own child to get off with him ("One lust feeds the other"), the main body of the story takes place 15 years later, finding the village riddled with a plague that has even killed off the town's priest and wary of the vampire's curse that their children will die to give him life. Enter the Circus of Nights, come "to steal the gold from dead men's eyes," offering diversion, temptation and, of course, death...

A troubled production - the typically tight budget prevented director Robert Young from getting all the footage he needed when he ran over schedule - the scars aren't particularly noticeable, and it does have a fairly unique atmosphere among the studio's films that's helped by having a largely very un-Hammer cast: no Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee but the likes of Laurence Payne, Adrienne Corri, Anthony Higgins (when he was still calling himself Anthony Corlan), John Moulder Brown, Lynne Frederick and future Doctor Who companion Lalla Ward (though Hammer irregulars Thorley Walters and Dave Prowse do appear). At times the influence of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes can be felt, especially when Payne's schoolteacher confronts the unseen circus people about their origins or when various characters look into the Mirror of Life, albeit with a much higher body count. It's never as successful as Bradbury's dark carnival, but it's still an intriguing entry in the Hammer canon.

Unfortunately Synapse's Region A-locked Blu-ray release is a very disappointing transfer, despite being taken from the UK theatrical version rather than the censored US release. While the daytime scenes are largely fine, the picture quality is excessively dark in the night scenes, losing a lot of detail, whether it be a panther all but lost in the shadows of his cage or the bats flying off into the night in the final shot rendered all but invisible even if you boost the brightness on your TV set. It's doubly frustrating because the standard definition clips included in the documentary on the disc have none of these grading problems, which weren't anywhere near as pronounced on Carlton's UK DVD. On the plus side the disc does have an excellent array of extras - a good 32-minute talking heads documentary on the making of the film, a 15-minute look at circus and carnival horror movies (though Something Wicked this way Comes is curiously overlooked), an excellent featurette on the British Hammer Horror comic that was published in the 70s, a stills and poster gallery, brief `motion comic' adaptation of the pre-title sequence and original trailer. All the extras are also included on the Region 1 NTSC DVD that's included with the Blu-ray.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is utterly brilliant. The very unusual Hammer title from 1972 is ..., 7 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Vampire Circus (Blu-ray + DVD) [1972] [US Import] [NTSC] (Blu-ray)
This is utterly brilliant.

The very unusual Hammer title from 1972 is given a glorious makeover in 1080p and looks amazing.
Some people have said the print is too dark, and I suppose it is darker than the Carlton DVD and the German Blu-Ray, but it seems to benefit from this look in my eyes, and the colour is stronger here too.

Added to the film is a great selection of extras, with a very interesting "Making of" documentary, and also a look at the history of circus themes in horror movies, along with a revisit to the marvellous House of Hammer comics that were popular in the 70's when kids like me could not see these films unless they were on late night tv, so got to find out about them through a comic strip version.
Also there is a photo gallery and a trailer too.

A wonderful presentation, and better than the German Blu-ray, which has a brighter but not so colourful print and nothing like the extras seen here.

Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and bad., 19 Jan 2011
By 
Mr. K. Arts "keirarts" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vampire Circus (Blu-ray + DVD) [1972] [US Import] [NTSC] (Blu-ray)
I have to say upfront i'm a bit of a fan of vampire circus. If you havent seen it it basically entails a small town cursed with the plague after (justly) killing their vampiric lord and burning down his castle. One day the circus comes to town and it looks like the village may have some respite from their misery, except the circus hides a dark secret (which you can probably guess) and an ulterior mostive.
Vampire circus is a fairly cruel and sadistic film, even by hammer standards incorporating child murders and some nasty (for the time) gore scenes and some fairly graphic (for the time) nudity. Ignore 'boyd' he's cluless, if you like hammer horror then this one is a must see, its a genuinely creepy gothic horror and one of hammers most underrated efforts.
I say good and bad mainly because this edition gives you both the Blu-ray and dvd editions, region coded. I love Blu-ray and think it has genuinely improved some cult horror movies but it would be nice if people got the choice. The blu-ray is region coded so I havent been able to watch it yet. (waiting for the region free players to hit the shelves.) but the region 1 dvd has fantastic picture quality and nearly an hour of documentary material, so it's still worth buying even if you prefer to stick with your multi-region dvd players, and once I can get my hands on a region free blu-ray player I look forward to watching the blu-ray version, just a shame unlike the blu-underground stuff it won't run on my ps3!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Hammer in the '70s, 31 May 2014
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This review is from: Vampire Circus [DVD] [1971] (DVD)
I wont go on about the plot as other reviewers already done so:
Suffice it to sat that IMO this is the Best Hammer Films production to come out of there later work in the 1970's
The transfer quality on this DVD is first rate no obvious fading or distortion (and I'm playing via a Panasonic DMP-BD77 Bluray player & a Panasonic 42" Plasma Screen)
Sound is not bad for its age (even when put thru my Soundbar system) a few distortions BUT not enough to upset my viewing pleasure.
It would have been nice to have had some extras.(No Theatrical trailer, Stills gallery or even sub-titles) But all in all for just over a fiver great value none the less.
Another must for any fan of Hammer Films or British Horror in general and as already stated easily the best film produced in the 1970's by Hammer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie - Okay transfer, 10 May 2012
By 
Adrian Drew (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vampire Circus (Blu-ray + DVD) [1972] [US Import] [NTSC] (Blu-ray)
This is a really imaginative film and beautifully handled by Director Robert Young. It's a shame however that it has not really been restored. The transfer is okay and better than the DVD version but it's still lacking in several sequences. Perhaps this is the fault of the original but at any rate it's as good as you will ever get. A strong cast - featuring Anthony Higgins (Draughtman's Contract etc) who was called Anthony Corlis (or something similar !) back then, and the lovely Adrienne Corri - as well as a host of featured British B movie actors - and a rather splendid vampire-in-chief. The circus scenes have a real magic about them and the whole film has a lyrical fairy tale quality which perfectly suits the subject matter. Beware it is Region A encoded so you will need an Oppo or other mullt-region blu ray to view it.
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