Vampire Circus (1972) Movie Review
Written By: Angela DiLella
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Robert Young
Producers: Michael Carreras and Wilbur Stark
Writer: Judson Kinberg
Date Released: April 30, 1972
Adrienne Corey as Gypsy Woman
Anthony Higgins as Emil
Lynn Frederick as Dora
John Moulder-Brown as Anton
Rating = 1.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Fifteen years after a vampire is killed by an angry mob, his dying curse is fulfilled in the form of a plague and a mysterious circus troupe.
As one might expect from a movie about vampires, there is a lot of blood spilled and a lot of torn up necks. These vampires aren’t neat eaters!
The Grave Review
When a local vampire lord (Robert Tayman) is staked through the heart, he promises that his murderers will be cursed. Over a decade later, a plague sweeps through town, and on top of that, a troupe of performers made up of vampires and human vampire followers alike visits too. The troupe is determined to not only feed their vampiric members, they’re also out to spill enough blood to raise the staked vampire lord from his grave. The story is straightforward and easy to follow, so much so that there are many interludes and a few side stories (like the plague) that don’t really appear to go anywhere but are just meant to pad things out. The interludes are often interesting, but it’s easy for attention to slip away because of how the movie meanders.
Vampire Circus is another movie where the cast is fine across the board. Nobody is unwatchable, but there weren’t really any actors or actresses rising above the rest. The most impressive performers were the gymnasts that were members of the circus troupe. They were obviously real, trained gymnasts and their shows are as impressive as they are a bit uncomfortable.
Vampire Circus is an interesting film for the fact that you can really see movies starting to move from sixties norms and styles to what we might associate more with seventies horror films. Things still had a way to go, but you can see the gore balance with sensuality (and outright sexuality) and exploitation on a bigger scale starting to happen. The movie is also set in the nineteenth century, which makes some of this more surprising, both for the viewer and the actual characters in the film. It’s easy to see why stuffy Victorians would be attracted to these sensual, unusual vampires seemingly promising something that wasn’t, well, being a stuffy Victorian dying of the plague in the Germanic sticks. It, of course, stands out for the viewer against this backdrop as well. I don’t think this is a hidden gem of a vampire movie, for every creative choice there are more elements that just don’t mesh that well, but if you like your horror movie history and you’re curious about transitional points, Vampire Circus might prove an interesting watch for you.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Vampire Circus (1972) one and a half graves out of five graves.
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