British Horror Film presents: Circus of Horrors (1960)

Quick, get her to a doctor. And send the clowns in.

A manic little film that was part of that cycle of rough-stuff horror shows (along with Peeping Tom [1960]) that the British Board of Film Censors let pass through from 1959 to 1960, much to their subsequent chagrin. The plot of the film is wonderfully delirious: fleeing the British authorities after a surgery goes criminally wrong, the plastic surgeon Dr. Schuler (Anton Diffring) ends up on the continent where he decides the best thing for him to do at this point (obviously) is to take over a struggling circus and fill it with disfigured female criminals whom he has “made beautiful” and whom he makes wear skimpy clothing. Scotland Yard and other police organizations start to wonder what’s going on with this circus, however, after many of its star attractions end up dying very public and seemingly accidental deaths (see the image above for one such “accident”). Everything starts to come to a head once Schuler’s circus arrives in the UK for what he hopes will be his triumphant return into the world of plastic surgery once everyone sees what his techniques can do to disfigured bodies and faces. Things don’t quite turn out as he had planned or hoped they would. A wonderful film about the horror of petty professional resentments and jealousies, Circus of Horrors is not to be missed.

Thursday, October 28th
Stevenson 150, 9 PM

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