Saturday, October 25, 2014

Berserk (1967)

Director: Jim O'Connolly

Writers: Aben Kandel, Herman Cohen, Joan Crawford

Composer: John Scott

Starring: Joan Crawford, Ty Hardin, Diana Dors, Michael Gough, Judy Geeson, Robert Hardy, Geoffrey Keen, Sydney Tafler, George Claydon, Philip Madoc, Ambrosine Phillpotts, Thomas Cimarro, Peter Burton, Golda Casimir, Ted Lune, Milton Reid

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Screen Screams out at a Hundred Horrors!

Plot: Monica Rivers is the owner and ringmaster of a traveling circus, and she'll stop at nothing to draw bigger audiences. When a series of mysterious murders begins to occur and some of her performers die gruesomely, her profits soar. She hires high-wire walker Frank Hawkins, impressed by the handsome and muscular young man. They begin an affair which arouses her previous lover Durando's jealousy. When Durando is found dead shortly afterward, the other performers begin to take alarm, as a mysterious killer is obviously loose in their midst. Many suspect Monica herself of the killings, especially Matilda, who has set her sights on Monica's new lover. At this point, Monica's unruly, sixteen-year-old daughter Angela is expelled from school for being incorrigible, and Monica is forced to take her into the circus, allowing her to become the partner of knife-thrower Gustavo. Meanwhile, the dead bodies continue to pile up.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Sometimes it's who's in the picture that makes a big difference for me, people I don't realize at first glance in the opening credits.  Geoffrey Keene's voice is instantly recognizable to Bond fans of the Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton films and then there's Milton Reid as the strongman who looked awfully familiar and it's because he was the guy who's holding on to Bond's tie before he falls in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977).  Yep, those are the highlights for me.  Oh, and the poodle act was really cute.  This picture is an odd bird because there is a good deal of filler in the way of circus acts.  Did they really need to put so much of it in here?  Nope.  Maybe they were catering to the folks who couldn't get out to see the circus but could buy a movie ticket.  Beats the mess out of me but I don't care.  It's an OK murder mystery of sorts set in a circus.  It's harmless and there's nothing all that exciting about any of it.  Near the end you wonder which knife thrown at the spinning girl is going to land where it shouldn't (I won't spoil it) or when someone is going to snuff it during a performance but that's about it.  It's not a bad film but it's not likely to do anything for anyone except for the 68 people on IMDb that gave it a 10/10.  The ending surprised the hell out of me.  Didn't see that one coming.  I dug it. You'd think the circus horror subgenre would be ripe with great ideas for horror but I haven't seen them.  The best of the bunch I've seen is CIRCUS OF HORRORS (1960) which is worth your while over this picture any day. 

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