Directed by Robert Young
Starring Adrienne Corri
Anthony Higgins Thorley Walters
One of the best Hammer movies ever made, this has the added bonus of having been produced in the 1970s, when the studio wasn’t ashamed of injecting plenty of sex and violence into its goth horror mix.
Like most Hammer Films, this one is highly religious and class-conscious, pitting a vampire aristocrat against the poor population of a town. The film opens with a child being murdered by an evil, bohemian count (Robert Tayman), who’s also seduced one of the women of the community to become his vampire bride. The townsfolk, fed up with their children and wives disappearing, kill him the usual way—stake through the heart—but not before he puts a curse on the community.
Years later, a plague hits the town, which is quarantined. Anyone who leaves it will be shot. But somehow a mysterious circus shows up to entertain the townsfolk. Naturally, the circus is run by vampires, who are plotting to resurrect their evil master.
Young’s direction is amazing. He gets a lot of mileage out of the genuine fear we all have of circuses and, of course, gypsies. The vampires use sexuality to lure their prey. Once again, as is often the case in Hammer Films, we see the old struggling to protect their young from sensuality.
Alternative video distributors do carry this film. Catch the R-rated European cut. It was released in the U.S. in a PG version that is woefully watered down. This is truly one of the best films Hammer Studios ever put out and it’s a crime it hasn’t been made available in the United States in an uncut form. Do what you can to see the potent, uncensored version of this film.
Director Young didn’t do much else. Writer George Baxt was also behind the Euro-trash film "Tower of Evil."
-- Review by Lucius Gore
Posted by pubudu on August 27, 2012