Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Busking For Blood.

Vampire Circus
1972, England
Robert Young
35mm

I’ve always wanted to see a midget fuck a horse. Failing that, a vampire circus. And, thanks to the fine folks an England’s inimitable Hammer Studios, I finally got my wish, at least the second part of it. The first part, I’m still several thousand dollars and a plane ride to Southeast Asia away from fulfilling.

"Sex tour" makes it sound so seedy.

Vampire Circus is exactly what the title suggests, and what you would expect from late period Hammer Horror films. Towards the end of the company’s illustrious existence, as profits began to slide, the company was blessed by a marvellous mix of laziness and desperation. The sweaty-palmed panic about declining viewership led to a series of increasingly bizarre conceits for films, whereas the laziness stopped the brain trust significantly short of explaining any of these high concept ideas. So, when Peter Cushing started fighting kung-fu vampires in the Orient, you didn’t need to ask why, you just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Sadly, Vampire Circus features neither Cushing or Hammer counterpart Christopher Lee, but it still manages to be entertaining in its own right.

Here, a small European town rids itself of a vampire aristocrat living in a castle. His dying breath curses them, a malediction that is carried out by the titular circus. When the circus arrives, many years later, the townsfolk do not appear unduly concerned by the fact that part of the act includes several of the performers turning into bats or black panthers. One of the village elders does voice concerns that his daughter not date the panther, but I would venture that this has more to do with the colour of the animal than the species. They are, after all, European, and the only thing Europeans hate more than black people is other Europeans. Along the way, there is plenty of strangely vibrant blood and nude Eastern Bloc women, back in the days when seeing this was a rarity as opposed to a staple in the Rocco Reams Russia series. In short, if you can manage to track this film down, a good time will be had by all, or at least as much fun as can be had without a horse involved.

14 Comments:

Blogger Sam Kahn said...

I'm not sure if I've ever actually seen any of the Hammer films.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

Ash, what's the Hammer flick where they find a skeleton that when water is applied it starts growing back flesh?

That's all I can remember, so it's been a pain trying to find it.

I think Cushing was in it without Lee, but I'm not sure.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous broadzilla said...

The Creeping Flesh? I'm pretty sure it features both Cushing and Lee, though.

3:35 AM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Yes, it is The Creeping Flesh, when Peter Cushing brings the bag of bones from Papua New Guinea.

Sam - You need to fix that problem right away.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

YES!!
You guys are the best!
I've been looking for that flick off and on for years.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

OK, which Hammer Mummy flick is the one where Lee ( I think he was palying the Mummy) went smashing through a door that WASN'T a breakaway and he broke his arm or something but kept filming the scene?

I'm not trying to stump you, I really want to know.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

The Mummy. And he didn't break his arm, he dislocated his shoulder.

5:42 PM  
Anonymous broadzilla said...

Ok, I have a question for the panel. Bear in mind that I might have dreamt this, it could be a fragment from a Resident Evil game, or I might have just mentally edited bits from Zombie Armageddon and Titanic into something more credible - but I'm pretty sure this is from a proper movie. Please help me before I commit myself.

Two maintenance-type guys are cruising the streets of a small town in a panel van - it's dark out and raining hard. The driver is nearing retirement age and the much younger handlanger/sidekick is predictably surly, lippy, and stupid. When I wake up again, the intrepid duo are marooned on the roof of their broken-down van, trying to escape the rising floodwaters and the zombies approaching from all sides. There's a lot of swirling floodwater, shouting and threshing about.

I can't remember if the zombies could swim - they may have been cunningly electrocuted at some point. No one else on my continent has seen anything fitting this description - I've checked. Any takers?

4:39 AM  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

I thought it was Return Of The Living Dead until you added the floodwaters.

7:19 AM  
Blogger barbedwire said...

I know. I think I really did just dream it.

3:14 AM  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

Holy....is that YOU?
I thought I was the best looking person at Ash's blog.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

It might be Return of the Living Dead 2, which has James Karen and Thom Matthews from the first film as different characters, possibly maintenance men. I don't really remember it too well.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous LORD WOOFTER OF PANSY said...

mr. karreau, i prefer "return of the living dead 3" because that film has the astonishing "mindy clarke" who i would very much like to bugger. oh all right, i admit it, i would like to bugger "linnea quigley" as well.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous STEVE PREFONTAINE said...

BUT THIS SECTION IS FOR REVIEWS ABOUT "VAMPIRE CIRCUS" NOT "RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD" OR EITHER OF IT`S SEQUELS, YOU STUPID GIT !!!, (however i must admit that this pansy geezer, or whatever his bloody name is, has got extremely good taste, because i would also very much like to bugger both linnea quigley and mindy clarke, not as they are now mind you, but rather as they were when they were, yes, you guessed it "18").

5:13 AM  

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