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View Full Version : Circus of Fear (Brentwood)


dwatts
06-15-2003, 10:37 PM
A drunk Chinese migrant worker, working with a tenth generation bootleg, shot from the back of a smokey theater with a handheld camera gripped between his legs while he gets a blow job from a wild rabid tiger, would have gotten a better copy of these films than this.


http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?PID=5003148&frm=sh_google

Alright, I often see mention of the Brentwood sets, but few seem to be able to talk about them from experience. Now I can see why –LOL—

I have the “Circus of Death” set which I got for $5.99. I have watched one and a half films (Circus of Fear and Web of the Spider.) This set also contains DIE SISTER DIE!, and LADY FRANKENSTEIN. There are no films on the set called “Circus of Death”, so I guess they used that simply because it sounded good, artistic license, as it were.

If this set is typical of Brentwood’s boxes, we’re in big trouble folks. I am all for preserving obscure titles, and I don’t need anamorphic everything, but gee, being able to see the film is really a pre-requisite. This transfer only really works to preserve grain and poor film stock. It best serves as illustrating how bad DVD can really look. I think a consortium of VHS makers, who want to give DVD a bad name, might well run Brentwood. A drunk Chinese migrant worker, working with a tenth generation bootleg, shot from the back of a Smokey theater with a handheld camera gripped between his legs while he gets a blow job from a wild rabid tiger, would have gotten a better copy of these films than this. But then again, who the hell would want a copy of these films?

I watched Circus of Fear today and for $5.99 you get a film worth, oh I don’t know, a buck? Heh heh.

The actual film is a confused mess, the plot going in many different directions for no real reason. The transfer is not up to VHS quality – it is far far worse. Ready for a summary?

Here’s a shocker, this puppy is widescreen! Yes sir, widescreen is where you get to see the film as the Director originally intended, a huge plus in my book! One snag, when do I get to see the other half of the film? You see, as shipped, they only included two thirds of the frame starting on the left. So the far right hand side is missing. It’s a neat marketing trick for sure; maybe in the “Circus of Death Part II” box we’ll get to see whom some of the characters are talking too, of what happens during the lion scenes.

Then we have the editing – sadly, this is a CUT VERSION of the film. But not in the traditional sense we all rail against, nah, this one just has missing frames here and there. Sometimes, half a scene will disappear in a puff of VHS tape and white noise. Dialog is gone, connecting scenes fall away, all to the pops and cracks and sudden blasts of sound that give the film – ironically, an element of surround sound! Yup, this one will really work out your speakers (for all the wrong reasons). Feel your seat shake as frames disappear and the soundtrack hacks and splutters! Feel the floor rumble as Brentwood dispense with a boring scene at the police station with the surround sound equivalent of a smokers cough.

Are the blacks black? Are there compression artifacts? What can we make of the reds, the blues, the greens? Well, it depends what scene we’re talking about. Sometimes the blacks are black – sometimes so black you can’t see ANYTHING on the screen (now, that’s black!) Sometimes the greens are green, sometimes we get bright flashes of green for no reason. The reds look great too, sometimes. Sometimes we get what looks like firework displays of red speckles, swishing across the frame and exploding (cool way to distract us from the actual film, which really was not trying very hard to entertain us.) Actually, these flashes with occasional booms through the speakers act as an intermission during lulls in the film. Kudos to Brentwood there.

The sound is wonderful too. Somehow they managed to grab an excellent soundtrack recording of the music, but to have lost a lot of dialog. So you have to turn this thing WAY up. This makes the sound breakups come across like a scene from Saving Private Ryan.

And what of the film itself? Well let’s face it – who gives a crap? There is a bank robbery, everyone runs away except a guy with a suitcase of cash. He goes to hide in a circus. He dies. Klaus Kinski walks about menacingly, I don’t know why, and before he can do anything, he dies. Christopher Lee walks around quite a bit, but to hide his embarrassment, he wears a hood (before dying). So they write that into the script, something to do with being mauled by a tiger, but anyway, he’s freaking pulling a fast one, he isn’t disfigured.

He is actually a murderer on the run – no wait – he’s not a murderer. He wants to give the cash to his daughter who works at the circus. But a dwarf is blackmailing him. Chris Lee is 7 foot tall, the dwarf three. So the dwarf stares up into the sky, trying to intimidate Lee who could stomp him at any moment and kick his carcass to the curb.

Anyway, the dwarf gets his comeuppance he gets fired! Wow, gotta be bad news for a dwarf, right? The brother of the man everyone thinks Lee killed also works at the circus, he confronts Lee at the end – and Lee says, “Hey dude, like, really man, I didn’t do it, your brother like, slipped and shit, and banged his head, honest.” Accepting this explanation, that subplot is disposed of.

Anyway, Lee falls off a cliff that he doesn’t see – even though it is broad daylight. Not surprising really, since one moment he in the middle of a forest, the next, there’s a huge chasm. It’s like he accidentally wandered onto the set of an entirely different film.

The film ends to a huge booming BRENTWOOD logo in full surround sound. This is a bummer, because you’ve had to crank the sound in the film to hear it – and now your neighbors are leaving their houses to go see where the plane crashed.

Mercifully it is over, but not quite. Three more films to go. I can’t wait.

:lol: :lol: :eek1: :lol: :lol:

bigdaddyhorse
06-15-2003, 11:39 PM
I'm rushing out of the house to go get this right now!

"A drunk Chinese migrant worker, working with a tenth generation bootleg, shot from the back of a smokey theater with a handheld camera gripped between his legs while he gets a blow job from a wild rabid tiger, would have gotten a better copy of these films than this."
Great analogies dwatts!
:lol: :lol: :lol:

Zodiac-Mindwarp
06-15-2003, 11:59 PM
Congratulations Dwatts, on one of the funniest reviews yet. You have a wonderful sense of humor about the presentation of the movie, as well as the movie itself! :D

I picked up 2 of the Brentwood 10 packs dirt cheap, and have only watched one of the movies so far. I watched "Cathy's Curse" from one of the sets, and the picture looks like a sixth or seventh generation dub. Oh well, they only cost about a $1.50 a movie. ;)

From what I have heard the picture quality varies widely from movie to movie, so one day I am sure that I will get around to watching some of the other movies. :D

poorlogic
06-17-2003, 06:32 AM
Dwatts, I laughed my ass off reading your review! By far the funniest review I've read in a long time, I half tempted to go find this crapfest tonight!

Good Work!

dwatts
06-24-2003, 01:33 PM
UPDATE!

http://www.blue-underground.com/future_releases.php

As you can see, Blue Underground are putting this movie out! You think it will be a better transfer? :lol:

Seriously though - this is a low class film, hardly worthy of much time and effort. I love what Blue Underground are doing, but they've lost me here.