Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Greatest Blood Show On Earth

I first saw 'Vampire Circus' in the early nineteen eighties and was desperately disappointed, not because it was rubbish (it's rather good) but because the comic strip version seemed so much better. A curious hybrid of mid sixties classic Hammer Gothic and the extra sex and gore expected in the early seventies, 'VC' is not entirely successful, but it is fast moving and brutal and brings a new and interesting dimension to the increasingly weary Hammer vampire cycle. What it does particularly well is conjure a small, frightened world constantly under threat from the forces of darkness: morbidity, perversity, incest, bestiality, sado-masochism, paedophilia, bloody violence and some of the campest vampires of all time.  

Robert Tayman (chief vampire Count Mitterhaus) could have had a long horror career if he'd started ten years earlier but, in the seventies, his vulpine features and gimlet eyes were soon out of fashion. Apart from a memorable appearance in Peter Walker's 'House Of Whipcord' he mainly stuck to supporting roles in TV before disappearing entirely in 1978 after a small role in 'The Stud'.

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