Another review from the world of dark cinema.

With each review, I am also sharing minimalist movie posters I have created for every film after watching it. (More on my film poster project at large, here. )


YEAR :: 1972
DIRECTOR :: Robert Young


“Vampire Circus” is Hammer Films at the studio’s most titillating.

Plagues… Check. Vampires and hunters… Check. Buckets of blood… Check. Heaving bosoms and beau-brummel beafcake… Check. Shape-shifting hotties dancing naked in only tiger striped body paint… Check. Yes, “shape-shifting hotties dancing naked in only tiger striped body paint.” Honestly, the scene has become rather legendary…

Cartooish? Yes.

A bit bizarre? Yes.

Fun? Unquestionably.

Made after the departure of William Hinds from Hammer and in a reaction to the more “edgy” content coming out of France and Italy (See my review of “The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance.”), the declining studio icon felt a need to bring more edge to their own output to reattain relevance. This film is a great example of that push.

For all of its supposed edginess, “Vampire Circus” is not without intelligence and artistry, though. Really, I consider it one of the last great films to come out of that era of the studio. You have got to hand it to director Robert Young, here. He shows a sure-handed skill for storytelling, but also gives us nods to au courant art-film fare for the era, making artful stylistic and cinematic choices that give the film a decidedly surrealistic flair.

Looking for something with real bite and worried about a vintage film in that regard? Fret not. Even modern audiences will be surprised by the gore in this film. Made in 1972 and the film is truly imaginative in its sanguineous machinations. A bloody classic.

Films like this are just a romp and this one is a hoot. In all, “Vampire Circus” is an archetypal “mondo-horror” piece that shouldn’t be forgotten.


RATING ………………. 4 STARS


Author: David Edward Johnson

A bit about me :: My name is David Johnson. I'm a senior creative with over 20 years of experience. I am currently serving as the Director of User Experience and Product Design at Inmar. Previously, I have served as the Global Digital Creative Director for Whole Foods Market, several agencies at the VP level and co-owned my own agency in New York for seven years. I love genre film, a full range of music, art, kung fu, TM, design, good food and a great joke. I'm based in Austin, Texas and addicted to BBQ.

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