Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Vampire Circus – Review

Author: Mark Morris

First published: 2012

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: “Your children will die. Your community will die. To give me back my life.”

The small rural community of Shettle has fallen into a decline. It is rife with crime and its inhabitants plagued by ill-fortune.

When the Circus of the Night arrives, the people are drawn to it like moths to a flame: it’s as though they are bewitched.

Only four men realise that there is something terribly wrong. And as the town is enclosed in a barrier of ‘sickness’ through which no one can enter or leave, they must do their upmost to protect their loved ones.

Before it’s too late…

The review: This is another novelisation of a classic film by the revamped Hammer franchise, previously we have looked at Twins of Evil and Kronos. Of course, the film Vampire Circus is a classic but the direction Mark Morris went in when novelising it was unusual and welcome.

Rather than a straight novelisation the story setting is changed, moved to the present day. Of course this means that the plague visited community is not isolated by fearful villagers from nearby settlements but a mystical ring of sickness. However, by moving the setting Morris has breathed a new life into this that could stand a movie remake.

Other than the setting (and technological changes) the story does pretty much follow the original film and thus I won’t go into that. I was struck by the use of religious iconography in the book. Morris is quick to explain that the humans using crucifixes are not people of faith – it is the vampires who react to the iconography of their own accord. Like the film there are shape shifting moments into bats and panthers and like the film the vampires are ascribed powers and artefacts that are unexplained – such as the mirror that transports victims from the circus to the vampire’s crypt.

Great fun for fans of the original film who can handle a bit (or actually a lot) of change to the original. 7 out of 10.

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