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"First off, the film transfer on this DVD is nothing short of stunning. The picture is presented in widescreen and the colors are very comparable to the same studio's production of "Peeping Tom". Sound transfer is fine, and there is even a French language soundtrack available.
"Circus of Horrors" is quite enjoyable, but it is a tiny bit of a cheat. There are not nearly as many "horrors" as one might expect. However, a final 15-minute sequence is worth the price of admission. The acting is generally good among the principles, with the lead, Anton Diffring, a standout. He plays just the right amount of crazed obsession to keep it entertaining.
Reizenstein's musical score is more than adequate and often very good. As for the featured song, "Look for a Star"--it's true, you will hum it to yourself for days afterward.
Extras are absolutely top-drawer: trailers, tv spots, posters, lobby cards etc, excerpts from a comic-book version of the film, and, most surprising, a reproduction of the song-sheet for the song! There is also a nicely done biography/filmography for Diffring.
Menus are extremely well-done, animated and accompanied by music from the film.
And, if all this is not enough, there is an Easter Egg. Go to the 'Extras' menu, sit back, and you will hear "Look for a Star" in a complete, uninterrupted performance.
A must-have for 1950s and 60s horror aficionados."
Watch out for the snake and the falling acrobat
mackjay | 07/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Anton Diffring plays a plastic surgeon on the run from the law for some unethical practices which led to patient disfigurement. He retreats to the continent (read that France) where he stops on the roadside and sees a little girl with scars. He visits the girls father, a circus owner and says he can help the girl, which he does. However, in order to use the circus as a cover, he kills the father (using an escaped bear) and sets up the circus as his own. He recruits scarred but otherwise beauteous fems for his circus, does miraculous surgery and they perform for him in the circus. However, jealousy rears its ugly head and Diffring must eliminate various women by circus accidents. Finally, the police become suspicious as there are just too many accidents to be coincidences and a women disfigured in England catches up to Diffring and the police arrive to pressure the doctor into a thrilling climax and fitting end. Listen for Gary Miles' song, "Look for a Star" which was released as a single in the US and did make the charts."
Ultimate DVD of sleaze/shock classic
Surfink | Racine, WI | 11/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What was it about the years 1959 and 1960 that gave us Horrors of the Black Museum, The Hypnotic Eye, and finally this well-crafted, adult-themed, gruesome and exciting melodrama, all three movies fixated on scarring and facial mutilation? Well let's just be glad for it, whatever it was. This has always been an overlooked gem, a crackling shocker that gives Hammer a run for its money in the sex-and-violence department, and features a terrific Continental cast headed by the deliciously icy Anton Diffring, and including Erika Remberg, Yvonne (Brides of Dracula) Monlaur, Donald Pleasance, Jane (The Manster) Hylton, and Yvonne (Curse of the Werewolf) Romain. The colorful cinematography is by Douglas Slocombe (Fearless Vampire Killers, The Music Lovers, all three Indiana Jones movies), and several incredibly convincing deep scar makeups are courtesy of Trevor Crole-Rees (Dr. Phibes). The plot moves along at a snappy pace and there's plenty of naked flesh and verbal/physical violence to distract one from the occasional implausibility (not to mention that really cheesy gorilla suit). I love the fact that Dr. Rossiter (Diffring), though ostensibly an amoral sociopath, is really the protagonist of the film, and I still find myself hoping he won't get caught. (I always did wonder how this passed for Saturday-afternoon kiddie fare all those years.) Highly recommended for fans of British horror or sleazy shockers, fundamentalist gorehounds, etc. You know who you are.
Anchor Bay's DVD presentation is definitely one of the most impressive I've seen for a neglected film like this (perhaps rivaled only by Allday's The Sadist DVD, another must-have). As stated by others here, the anamorphic widescreen (1.77:1) source print is nearly flawless! Bright, sharp, detailed, with better color than I've ever seen it, and virtually speckle/spot-free. Just stunning. Add to that the trailer, TV spots, still gallery, posters, ads, well-researched Anton Diffring bio, and French language track and you've got an awesome package that it's hard to imagine will ever be topped. The only thing missing is a commentary track. But that's really just nitpicking considering the overall quality of this release. Buy this now."
THAT AMAZING SONG - IN A HORROR MOVIE!!
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 12/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's amazing to see so many reviewers remembering the song "Look for a Star" from this 1960 thriller gem. I saw this movie first back in 1960 when I was a highly impressionable child and was overwhelmed by its brutality and gripping suspense. The song has haunted me ever since; it's one of those melodies that stays in your head even years later.
And in addition, the movie's many scenes have haunted me: the beautiful Yvonne Romaine's fatal lion taming scene; Donald Plesance's brief role as the drunken owner of the circus; Erika Romberg's fall from grace; the actors who portrayed Rossiter's compatriates in crime--how their subtly understated performances are so well done; and of course, the finale where poetic justice is so passionately observed.
This is really nothing more than a very good thriller; it's horrors are psychological, and so well evidenced in Anton Diffring's performance as Rossiter/Schuler. His egomania and love for what he does is the soul of Diffring's performance and in spite of a sometimes difficult accent, he is perfect in this little gem."
Michael Butts | 06/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Saw this movie ages ago and had to have it for my collection.
Contains all you need for a 60's thriller and all you want
to know about the circus...
"Look for a Star" was a hit and still lingers on when you
hear it. I have the 45 record..
If you want to watch a good oldie, this is it..."