Over the weekend I managed to watch one of the aforementioned hard-to-find seasonally appropriate movies from Netflix watch instantly, and I figured I’d make my first official Countdown to Halloween post talking a bit about Vampire Circus.
Vampire Circus is a movie that I’ve been wanting desperately to clap eyes on ever since I first got into Hammer horror movies. Because, well, Vampire Circus, right? And look at that poster! Unfortunately, while it wasn’t quite the visual tour de force that I was hoping for based on that poster, it was still a pretty intriguing spectacle, though not always in the ways I expected.
The sets were actually pretty bland, as Hammer sets go, though there’s a really nice church near the end. There was, however, lots of other “scenery” on display. Vampire Circus is remarkably graphic and shockingly erotic, even for a late-era Hammer film (at least, for the late-era Hammer films that I’ve so far seen). There’s implied incest, and very heavily implied pedophilia, and moreover, virtually everything in the movie is so heavily sensual and eroticized that it’s hard to even explain. There’s quite a lot of nudity, including a completely naked lady dancer who is painted to look like a tiger, I think, though at first I thought she was supposed to be a snake person since she looked sort of green. There’s also a lot of animal transformations and some very, very credulous villagers who seem to not question just how these people seem to transform from animal to person and back again willy-nilly. I guess they are in the circus.
Lest you think that Vampire Circus is all sex, though… no, actually, go ahead and think that. It pretty much is. Even the stuff that isn’t sex somehow manages to feel like sex, in spite of plagues and gory panther murders and creepy midgets. One of Hammer’s weirder outputs, and definitely not exactly what I was expecting, but certainly interesting and unusual.