Circus of Fear

This is actually again, a Sixties film but I have recently acquired the Press Book from the film so I just had to use it.

Christopher Lee has top billing alongside Leo Genn and Cecil Parker, although he does not really have much screen time in this film.

Billed as an Edgar Wallace Presentation – and of course he was the original story writer

The film opens with a robbery at London’s Tower Bridge in which a gang steal a quarter of a million pounds from a security van.

The horde of money is then hidden in the winter quarters of a travelling circus – and then there follows a series of brutal killings around the circus

Each of the victims is found stabbed with a circus throwing knife.

Inspector Elliot (LEO GENN) suspects that one of the circus performers is the killer and the mastermind behind the raid. He has a number of suspects to choose from including the hooded lion tamer Gregor (CHRISTOPHER LEE) who for some mysterious reason is determined to conceal his face. Then there’s Mr Big (SKIP MARTIN), a dwarf assistant on the big top who is blackmailing Gregor. As the death toll rises, the pressure is on from Sir John (CECIL PARKER), Elliot’s superior, to bring the killer to justice.

Circus of Fear

Circus of Fear

Suzy Kendall who had previously appeared in the Bond film ‘Thunderball’ played the part of Natasha – at that time she was married to Dudley Moore

Much of the filming was done close to Windsor Castle at Winkfield – the winter quarters of Billy Smart’s circus

Just to summarise the plot there is an insanely jealous knife thrower with a promiscuous girlfriend, a blackmailing dwarf and Gregor, a lion tamer (Christopher Lee) so hideously scarred by one of his own beasts that he has to conceal his face under a black hood.

A  silver-crested knife is found in the back of the decomposing gang member’s corpse, a strange German ( Klaus Kinski) who tries to get a job in the circus but won’t give his name – then someone leaves the lion’s cage door open.

Image sourced from
Christopher Lee seems to wear this black hood throughout the film

The film is an Anglo-German production.

Circus of Fear is a good film for a late night movie.

There are enough red herrings to keep you guessing as to who the murderer is right up to the end.

There’s also a bit of a nostalgia the 1960s with Wolseley Police cars, Old Scotland Yard and London streets.

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