Edgar Wallace Presents: Circus of Fear

Format: DVD


Multinational co-productions featuring partially overdubbed, multi-lingual casts are invariably uneven and the best they can usually hope for is that they're so uneven as to be entertaining - luckily Circus of Fear has that in spades. A particularly schizophrenic example made in the Krimi style, it not only features Christopher Lee with a bag on his head but also a murderous knife-thrower, a blackmailing dwarf, several ponderous policemen and an exasperated official. Given that this is the skewed world of Edgar Wallace what more could one desire in a film?

Circus of Fear

John Moxey's direction, to be fair, is stylish enough to carry this nonsense off and is very reminiscent of a pacey ITC show in places - especially the robbery and escape during the opening sequence. The cast, it must be said, do not impress but that's mainly due to their under-use: Klaus Kinski flits in and out of the story like a murderous albino hobgoblin in a donkey jacket and both Cecil Parker and Suzy Kendall are woefully treated as Shouty Civil Servant and Circus Totty, respectively. Christopher Lee - despite star billing - gets to sport the aforementioned headwear for 95% of his performance and Leo Genn is so devoid of charisma that he makes Brian Donlevy's turn as Quatermass seem almost Shakespearean by comparison. Recipe for disaster? Obviously, but the whole is very much more than the sum of its parts - it IS fun and its intermittent absurdities do add to the film's charm, as does its glossy ITC-style look.

Steve Rogers

Circus of Fear


Based on a novel by master of suspense Edgar Wallace, Circus of Fear (aka Psycho-Circus) offers a classic heist story with a chilling twist. Christopher Lee, Suzy Kendall, Klaus Kinski and Leo Genn star among a high-profile cast assembled by cult director John Llewellyn Moxey. Both the long and short versions of Circus of Fear are featured here as digital remasters in their as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.

Following an audacious bank robbery, Scotland Yard's Inspector Elliott poses as a photographer to visit the nearby Barberini Circus, from which some of the stolen banknotes have come into circulation. The mystery deepens when the knifed body of one of the crooks turns up in a sack, and as the clues come fast and furious Elliott’s suspects include a hooded, disfigured lion-tamer, a demented knife-thrower, and a blackmailing dwarf named 'Mr Big'...

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Circus of Fear

Number of Discs
1.66:1 / Colour
Mono / English
2 / PAL
91 mins approx