HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Mighty Wind, A
Man at the Top
Guru the Mad Monk
Jezebel
Monos
Life at the Top
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
   
 
Newest Articles
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
   
 
  Berserk Big Topped At The Big TopBuy this film here.
Year: 1967
Director: Jim O'Connolly
Stars: 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, Marianne Stone
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Monica Rivers (Joan Crawford) is the head of a travelling circus visiting British cities and bringing a wealth of entertainment to the masses, but tonight something different is on the agenda. How about a spot of tragic death to go with that razzle dazzle? Coming right up, as tightrope walker The Great Gaspar gasps his last when the rope breaks and he is sent tumbling, though not before it catches around his neck and hangs him, is inert body swinging above the aghast big top crowd. Monica is briefly horrified, but then again shortly afterwards reasons that there's no such thing as bad publicity and hopes the tragedy raises the circus's profile...

If this is sounding familiar, then it might be down to a film from earlier in the nineteen-sixties called Circus of Horrors which also took as its premise some grisly murders at the circus, only that did it first, unless you counted the likes of Gorilla at Large. These two entries were British, of course, and both shared a distinctly camp quality which has audiences returning to them, not for chills and thrills but for a good laugh; the first movie had Anton Diffring as the star, which garnered some cult cachet, but producer Herman Cohen knew a cult icon when he saw one and hired a rich but professionally down on her luck Joan Crawford for his leading lady and that paid dividends, not least in her costuming.

Apparently Joan insisted on her own wardrobe, and one presumed her own makeup as well, so that screamingly tight bun she sported on her head went some way to providing a cheap if temporary facelift, all the better to look every bit the glamorous celeb that she was, and her fans expected: the still shapely gams were displayed as well. Cohen had evidently been watching another American schlock producer in William Castle, for they used the same actress as a name above the title draw in at least a couple of horror flicks, and Joan was she, indeed her last acting, aside from a little television work, was with Cohen in the infamously wretched Trog. As a writer, he would team up with Aben Kandel to test the boundaries of British censorship around the sixties, though Berserk never quite attained the same hilarity levels of Konga, possibly their masterpiece.

Well, I say masterpiece, it depends on how much roaring with mirth you want from your horror movies. Aside from a few sporadic shock scenes, this was more of a thriller than chiller, which left you tapping your fingers in anticipation of another cast member biting the dust, which may be literal when Monica comments on the ups and downs of the business that she's eaten caviar and eaten sawdust. How hard up do you have to be before you start munching on that? Just another example of the fitful lunacy of Berserk's script, which more played out as a forerunner of the sort of entertainment you'd find packing out eighties prime time American television soap opera: you could envisage Crawford giving another Joan a run for her money on Dynasty had she lasted that long.

In the meantime, you had to navigate your way through the supporting actors and try to work out who was the culprit, and who would be next. Needless to say, when revealed the murderer was such a preposterous choice making so little sense it was one to treasure for the bad movie buffs: was it company associate Michael Gough, one of Cohen's favourite actors? Nope, he gets a tent peg through the skull far too early in the proceedings. Cat-fighting magician's assistant Diana Dors, perhaps? She's too much of the diva when that's Joan's job, so perhaps not. Hunky replacement tightrope walker Ty Hardin, an actor who became notorious for being a mad racist in real life? Might make sense, but with the character's dodgy past possibly too obvious. Teenage tearaway daughter Judy Geeson? She's been away at boarding school for half the movie, so that's unlikely. You could go on, as the film does in fact with interminable padding from the circus acts ("intelligent poodles", anyone?) and even a truly dreadful musical number (Milton Reid singing?!). But it is funny. Music by John Scott.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1547 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: