Circus of Horrors (1960)

“SPECTACULAR TOWERING TERROR! One man’s lust…made men into beasts, stripped women of their souls!” A sleazy, deranged plastic surgeon “Dr. Rossiter” (Anton Diffring) flees England for France after botching an operation, assumes a new identity as “Dr. Schuler” and ends up taking over a rundown circus after boozing owner “Vanet” (Donald Pleasence) gets mauled to death in one of the fakest bear attacks in film history! Over the next decade, Schuler proceeds to operate on disfigured women and turn them into beautiful circus stars (many of whom are displayed in the “Temple of Beauty”), while killing them off one by one in gruesome fashion (for example: a knife-wielding act gone wrong) whenever they threaten to leave him. All of these “accidental deaths” at an internationally successful circus naturally raise the suspicion of authorities. Directed by Sidney Hayers (Burn, Witch, Burn), Circus of Horrors also features Erika Remberg, Yvonne Monlaur, Jane Hylton, Vanda Hudson, Kenneth Griffith, Yvonne Romain and Conrad Phillips. Believe it or not, the featured song, “Look for a Star,” was a hit for British pop singer Garry Mills, reaching No. 26 on the Billboard charts. Circus of Horrors was one of the movies in the so-called “Sadian Trilogy” that also included Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) and Peeping Tom (1960) – dubbed so by film critic David Pirie for their emphasis on sadistic violence rather than atmospheric horror.

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