starring Adrienne Corri, Laurence Payne, Thorley Walters, Anthony Corlan
screenplay by Judson Kinberg
directed by Robert Young
by Jefferson Robbins I'm risking all kinds of things here, not least the prospect of becoming That Guy At FFC Who Finds Too Much Depth In Hammer Horror Movies, but this is my take: Vampire Circus is about the plight of the Jews in Christian Europe. I rubbed my eyes and swabbed my ears at first, but attentive viewing didn't dispel this impression. And looking at Hammer's entire output in the fright genre, it seems like a logical consequence. The British studio always made shockers that grappled with subtext, but by 1972, Hammer was fighting for life. Its bread-and-butter franchises had been comedically pricked five years earlier by Roman Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers, which threatened to bleed gothic horror of its frights just as Blazing Saddles would soon gutshoot the Western. As Hammer's market power waned and it threw open the doors to more explicit sex and more visceral gore, some larger story ideas were bound to creep in.