Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Do you remember the song, Look For A Star? The first stanza is below:

When life doesn't seem worth the living
And you don't really care who you are
When you feel there is no one beside you
Look for a star
If you can’t remember how it sounds, here’s the video:

I can’t think of this song without remembering an old movie I saw back in the 60s at the Arlyne Theater in my home town of Longview, Texas. I loved going to movies when I was a kid; today I don’t go much--I rent from Redbox and watch in the privacy of my own home so I can hide my eyes if I need to or mute if someone is throwing up, or just turn it off and quit watching. Back in the old days, I didn’t have those problems. I didn’t have to worry about four-letter words, graphic violence or barf.

But why in the world I went to see a British horror film called Circus of Horrors, I’ll never know. Circus of Horrors has haunted my memory. No exaggeration there.

In 1947 England, a plastic surgeon must beat a hasty retreat to France when one of his patients has ghastly problems with her surgery. Once there, he operates on a circus owner's daughter, deformed by bombs from the war. Later he becomes the owner of the circus, and ...

I’ve thought of it often and wondered if it was really as intriguing as I remember. So many times, my memory seems like nothing more than jumbled fiction in my head.  

About a year ago, I ordered the DVD. I was determined to find out the truth and perhaps perform a little exorcism of the Circus.  Joined by hubby and daughter, we watched. I don't think they enjoyed it as much as I did. I was surprised at how much I remembered, and of course the song … that beautiful song seemed creepy, sinister.

I'm glad Circus of Horrors was just as fascinating in 2011 as it was in the 60s.  Several Amazon reviewers (about my age, I guess) remarked how the story has haunted them all these years. The suspense is great, there isn’t any graphic violence as compared to today’s thrillers even though, I admit, it’s still a bit gruesome. I think what really bothered me was the lack of transition from scene to scene. You can't blink or you'll find yourself in another country and wonder how you got there.

I won't be forgetting this story any time soon. It just won't let go of me. The concept is too interesting and if you really, really think about it, it's not too far-fetched from things going on in the cosmetic surgery world today. (We can always tell when a star's doc made a boo-boo, can't we?)

One reviewer stated the movie is without a doubt one of the finest British horror films ever made, and while I’m not a real horror buff and can’t agree with any certainty, I can say if you enjoy horror at all, you’ll like Circus of Horrors.  


James R Tate said...

Back when I was just a young whipersnapper, my siblings and I used to go to work on Saturday with my father--he was an army recruiter for a while. Next door was a movie theatre, and instead of hanging out with dad, we'd spend the day watching matinee's. I remember some really aweful stuff--quality wise. But the movie I'll never forget as a kid was Blacula! You guessed it! It was a low budget movie with all black charcters doing the usual dracula story in a seventies--bell-bottom--way. Sounds hillarious huh? But it scared the snot out of me. I remmember catching part of it on a late nite channel a few years back and STILL not being able to watch it for long. I love Stephen King but can't handle the scary movies. Go Figure!

Jan Rider Newman said...

The movie that has haunted me all these years is "The H-Man." After searching for decades, I finally found it on TV a year or so ago and watched it again. The H-Man is kind of like the Blob, but not all bunched together. The movie's set in Tokyo. Altogether, it still isn't all that bad as cheesy horror movies go. But the thing is, it scared more than the snot out of me as a kid. I did not sleep after seeing it. I kept imagining that stuff creeping up the wall behind me or on the ceiling over me, or across the bed toward me, ready to dissolve me away! Aagh! Yet I still watch horror movies. Go figure.

James R Tate said...

The only book that ever kept me awake at night was Pet Cememtary. Creapiest movie as an adult; The Blair Witch Project. Couldn't go out in the woods for months! Have we lost track of the point here? Sorry!

Jess said...

James - I used to read a lot of Stephen King but not any more. My kids still do. :)

Jan - I've never heard of H-Man.

And what's with this new format here? I don't like it

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

I saw Blacula and fail in love with the main character Blacula himself. That along is pretty scary. The Day The Earth Stood Still is my all time favorite. To this day I still remember what to say to shut the robot off and save the earth. "Gort Ma-ra-da tatoo." I was afraid that it would happen one day in real life and no one would remember the words to say.