CIRCUS OF FEAR (PSYCHO-CIRCUS) (director: John Moxey-English version (Werner Jacobs-German version); screenwriters: Peter Welbeck-alias for Harry Alan Towers/based on an Edgar Wallace story; cinematographer: Ernest Steward; editor: John Trumper; music: Johnny Douglas; cast: Christopher Lee (Gregor), Leo Genn (Inspector Elliott), Tom Bowman (Jackson), Suzy Kendall (Natasha), Cecil Parker (Sir John), Skip Martin (Mr. Big), Anthony Newlands (Barberini), Heinz Drache (Carl), Maurice Kauffman (Mario), Lawrence James (Manley), Klaus Kinkski (Manfred), Eddi Arent (Eddie); Runtime: 65; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Harry Alan Towers/David Henley; Blue Underground; 1966-UK/W.Germany)
“Though muddled, the film is moderately entertaining.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
More a mystery/suspense film than a horror pic. The English version titled Psycho-Circus, in black and white, is directed by John Moxey (“Ricochet”/”Horror Hotel”/”Foxhole in Cairo”), as if the film was intended for TV. It’s based on an Edgar Wallace story of a Scotland Yard murder investigation. The screenplay by Peter Wellbeck is filled with plot inconsistencies.
Inspector Elliott (Leo Genn) investigates an armored car robbery pulled off by the London docks on Tower Bridge. A group of Barberini circus people become suspected of murdering the guard, the robbery of the bank’s quarter of a million dollars and hiding the loot. The many suspects as the mastermind include the lion-tamer Gregor (Christopher Lee), always in a black woolly hood to hide his scarred face mauled by a lion; an edgy knife-thrower (Maurice Kauffman); a vengeful ringmaster ((Heinz Drache); a blackmailing dwarf called “Mr. Big” (Skip Martin); and several clowns. Since all those in on the heist are killed, we’re left wondering who arranged this heist. The mastermind isn’t revealed until the rushed conclusion.
Though muddled, the film is moderately entertaining.
REVIEWED ON 5/16/2016 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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