Circus Of Fear starts with a dramatic and meticulously-planned armoured car heist against the backdrop of Tower Bridge. It all goes horribly wrong when a security guard is shot and killed.
The villains escape and divide up the loot, saving one share for their boss (who only communicates with them via phone and who none of them has ever seen).
The action moves to Barberini’s circus and the rest of the film takes place here amongst a collection of clowns, midgets, knife-throwers and lion tamers. Exterior shots were largely filmed in Winkfield, Berkshire, the real-life home of Billy Smart’s Circus, one of Britain’s most famous circus companies.
Inspector ‘Gentleman Jim’ Elliott (Leo Genn) is the police inspector investigating the heist and Christopher Lee makes a startling appearance as Gregor, the Russian lion tamer (who wears a black hood at all times to hide the horrible scars he received when he was attacked by a lion).
Klaus Kinski lurks menacingly as Manfred, a member of the gang, and it’s not long before more bodies start piling up. But who is the killer?
There are secrets, red herrings and new twists at every turn, and the final reveal of the killer is genuinely surprising.
Released in the US as Psycho Circus.
Inspector ‘Gentleman Jim’ Elliott
Detective Sgt. Manley