Horror / Mystery / Thriller

IMDb Rating 5.4 10 1253

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 17, 2021 at 04:11 AM


Leo Genn as Inspector Elliott
Suzy Kendall as Natasha
Klaus Kinski as Manfred
Christopher Lee as Gregor
837.04 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 31 min
P/S 15 / 58

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by smudged68 7 / 10

Whodunnit ? Whodunnwhat ? Who to ? And Who's He ?

Christopher Lee in "Circus Of Fear". It's got to be a horror movie, right ? Well, no. "Circus Of Fear" is a pretty classic-style whodunnit full of red herrings and characters with skeletons in their cupboards.

It starts with a very dramatic and almost silent armoured car heist which goes terribly wrong when a security guard is shot and killed. The gang escape and divide up the loot, saving one share for their boss who only communicates with them via the phone and who none of them have ever seen. The action soon moves to the winter quarters of Barberini's circus - which appears to be somewhere in Berkshire! There is a quite surreal shot of a line of elephants and camels moving down a suburban street. The rest of the film takes place here, its anglo-German cast perfectly capturing the international flavour of the circus. And it is here that the murder mystery element of the film really takes off. Leo Genn is 'Gentleman Jim' Elliott, the police inspector investigating the heist. Though it seems most of the circus folk are keeping an eye on each other. Christopher Lee makes a startling appearance as Gregor, the lion tamer, who wears a black hood at all times to hide the horrible scars he received when he was attacked by a lion. The film was written and produced by Harry Alan Towers, for whom Lee made the series of Fu Manchu pictures, and directed by John Moxey, for whom he had made the 1959 occult chiller "City Of The Dead". There are pleasures to be had from cameo appearances by the likes of Cecil Parker as Elliott's superior and Klaus Kinski who gets to lurk menacingly as a member of the gang. It's not long before more bodies start piling up. But who is the killer ? Is it Barberini, the circus owner with financial troubles ? Mario, the jealous knife-thrower ? Maybe it's Mr. Big, the blackmailer ? Or Karl, the ringmaster with an unhealthy interest in Gina, Mario's girlfriend ? Or maybe it's Gregor, whose brother is in jail for murder ? I've seen the film. I know the truth. The killer is..Aaaarghh!

Reviewed by gridoon 6 / 10

Neat whodunit

As almost everybody has already noted, "Circus of Fear" is not a horror movie, despite the title, the advertising and the presence of Christopher Lee (in a secondary role). It's a cross between a crime caper and a whodunit. And as soon as you get over your initial reservations, it turns out to be an engrossing film that keeps you guessing all the way to the end. The story is full of strange, shady, secretive and suspicious characters, but the revelation of the killer's identity still comes as a shock (to me at least - it blew my theory away!). Apart from the sometimes overemphatic music score, this 40-year-old movie still holds up today. And who wants to miss any opportunity of seeing Klaus Kinski playing....Klaus Kinski? This guy only needed a cigar, a few close-ups and two or three lines of dialogue to look creepy! (**1/2)

Reviewed by witold_tietze 7 / 10

nifty little english take on the krimi genre

this movie proved to be a surprisingly effective spin on the then popular german genre of the "krimi": a series of films, often from edgar wallace source novels, which tend to defy the generic conventions of crime dramas by moving into horror, espionage, even sci-fi at times.

beginning with an energetically directed heist sequence, the film soon shifts gear and location, focussing on the machinations of circus folk, in particular the various affairs and double-dealings of a handful of seemingly innocent and not so innocent clowns, midgets, knife-throwers and lion tamers. the two stories are linked, but only about as much as the two stories in "psycho" are linked: one is there to purely to feed the other.

there are twists and turns galore in this film; perhaps a few too many to be entirely plausible. some of the dialogue scenes are a little stilted, too. however, john moxey's direction tends to keep things going quite well, with some surprisingly sophisticated and kinetic direction. (note, for example, the way the loop of gregor's whip hovers around mr big's head to symbolise his attempts to psychologically ensnare his blackmailer.)

performances are generally quite solid, including from the imported german cast (there presumably to keep west german krimi fans happy), and there are definitely a couple of standouts. klaus kinski is unintelligible a usual, especially as he's forever got a cigarette in his mouth, but his presence lifts the film quite a bit. christopher lee is the only crashing disappointment, as he doesn't appear until act two, he's in a mask for most of the film, and his russian accent wavers a little. he really has no definitive presence here, and it's not particularly his story. i'd also have recast a lot of the police officers for a modern audience, as although they're quite old-fashioned (think dixon of dock green or pc 49), their dialogue would suit the stars of "the sweeney" with little adjustment. but then, in a microcosm of the characteristically unusual, perhaps a little grounding in sanity isn't so bad!

overall, this was a surprisingly effective film. i've only seen the restored 91-minute version that's available on dvd, so perhaps a slightly shorter version with some of the duller dialogue scenes cut down would hold the attention a bit better. (can't be as bad as the p;d 65-minute version, though, even if the film does hold up okay in b&w.) but this is definitely a film worth seeing, especially if you want a decent introduction to the world of the krimi. just don't see it if you want a big christopher lee vehicle -- he had more presence in "dracula", and he was only in six minutes of that!

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