Thursday, September 18, 2014

Vampire Circus (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (1972)

Vampire CircusPerhaps Hammer Films most under appreciated gem probably due to the hack editing job 20th Century Fox did on the film for it's US release. Inarguably one of the ten best vampire films ever made, it is presented here with every graphic frame of horror and nudity intact. Until the US rights holder (presumably MGM) releases a version (and assuming they do it right) this import version from Brazil will please even the more discriminating horror film collectors. The 16x9 transfer is pleasing though sometimes a little dark. Remember (in spite of the graphic content that was ahead of it's time) this movie was released in 1971. This is as good as I have ever seen VAMPIRE CIRCUS look on video. The packaging and menu are in Portuguese but the disc by default in fact plays in English and without subtitles. If you have been looking for this film or are a fan of Hammer Horror or horror/vampire films in general you should add this treasure to your collection without hesitation.

Wanted to post a review letting other Hammer fans know that VC from Synapse is a great piece to add to the collection. I've only looked at the blu-ray so far, but the transfer is very, very good -colorful, detailed, wonderfully done -much better than the Spanish Carlton/Filmax transfer I've had for a while (beyond the obvious improvement to the HD format). The extras are fun too -good background on Hammer and the movie itself from Ted Newsom, Phil Nutman, Joe Dante and Tim Lucas (as well as some David Prowse involvement). This also includes a second audio track of the music and sound effects. In regards to the movie itself, this is one of Hammer's best post-1970 films. VC reminds me of an adult fairy tale with good scares and interesting metaphorical themes (which really aren't far off from what the original fairy tales often included). Is it top-tier Hammer? No, but it is much better than some of their output from any era of Hammer. A great "last gasp" from a studio trying to find its way in a changing cinematic climate. Good Hammer film, great HD release from Synapse. Recommended!

Buy Vampire Circus (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (1972) Now

Not sure what James is talking about...worst vampire movie ever made? Well he gives "Scorpion King 2" a five-star rating so I'll venture a guess he's too young to remember when movies didn't have to be special effects extravaganzas to be considered great entertainment.

Vampire Circus is as solid a horror thriller as you are likely to find and deserves it's reputation as one of the best and up to this point most obscure Hammer films. It is well thought out with interweaving plot lines. The characters are believable and well portrayed. I won't lay out the story as it's already been done here. It manages to be an intelligent film (you actually have to pay attention to follow the story) without sacrificing graphic, horrific elements. Definitely not for kiddies...apparently like James! (Just kidding, Dude!)

This review is based solely on the film itself as I haven't seen the Synapse disc yet.

Read Best Reviews of Vampire Circus (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (1972) Here

VAMPIRE CIRCUS is another great early 70's title from Hammer Productions. Featuring a gangbusters cast and a solid story premise from screenwriter Judson Kinberg (based on the story by Wilbur Stark), it's one of the most hypnotic vampire tales you'll ever encounter.

In a small Serbian village, the townsfolk murder evil vampire Count Mitterhaus (Robert Tayman) after it's discovered he has been killing local children with the help of the schoolmaster's wife (Domini Blythe). Several years later, a troupe of circus entertainers arrive in the village, and the cycle of horror starts once more. Out to avenge the death of Mitterhaus, his distant cousin Emil (Anthony Higgins) and a mysterious gypsy maiden (Adrienne Corri) have a score to settle. But why does it involve innocent Dora (Lynne Frederick)?

Shape-shifting vampires and colourful circus illusions make VAMPIRE CIRCUS one of the bright spots at a time when Hammer Studios was starting to struggle in it's attempts to maintain popularity. Anthony Higgins makes for one helluva sexy vampire; he's matched every step of the way by Adrienne Corri. Fans of the unappreciated Lynne Frederick (sadly more associated by being the last Mrs Peter Sellers than by her film work) will adore her as the virginal heroine Dora. A mop-haired John Moulder Brown, costumed in such a way that makes him resemble Roman Polanski circa. "The Fearless Vampire Killers", is an unlikely hero but pairs well with Ms Frederick.

If you love Hammer movies, you'll definitely like VAMPIRE CIRCUS. It's hard to find at the moment, but worth the effort.

Want Vampire Circus (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (1972) Discount?

Well, you've been reading about it for almost a year and now Synapse Films have delivered what they promised with their 100th release of Hammer Film's excellent Horror opus 'VAMPIRE CIRCUS'. I first saw it when it was released on a double bill with 'COUNTESS DRACULA' back in the early seventies and about 15 years ago, I got a VHS copy of a Japanese laser disc which was a bit faded. Throw away every copy of this film that you had. I have not taken the BLU-RAY jump as of yet so I viewed the DVD version and its incredible with beautiful rich colors exploding off the screen which probably looks better than its theatrical release. It is also uncut and in widescreen format to enjoy the wonderful images of Moray Grant's photography. It includes a great documentary on the making of the film and an enjoyable featurette on other circus horror films. Enough said, you've read about it and now click the add to cart button and enjoy Hammers most unusual, blood soaked rarity . Synapse is promising 'TWINS OF EVIL' and 'HANDS OF THE RIPPER' later this new year. Horror and Hammer fans have something to look forward to. Bravo, Synapse Films.

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