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Friday, January 22, 2016

Circus Of Horrors (1960)

Starring Anton Diffring, Erika Remberg, Yvonne Monlaur, Donald Pleasence, Jane Hylton
Directed by Sidney Hayers
(actor & director credits courtesy

A brilliant plastic surgeon runs afoul of the law and goes into hiding, where he acquires a circus and uses his talents to blackmail scarred criminals into becoming his performers.

Diffring excels as a nefarious and immoral villain in this British shocker which features a number of lovely ladies in the cast who become his accomplices and his victims.  The screenplay leaves several key questions unanswered- how did someone with no experience build a successful circus?  How were all the killings ruled accidents by the police?  Why did his accomplices stay with him for ten years when he apparently provided them nothing in return?  Nonetheless, I didn't have a problem dismissing those quibbles, as Hayers has crafted a visually appealing and gripping chiller, augmented by genuine circus footage credited to the company of Billy Mays.    

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