In the early 1800's the inhabitants of an Austrian Village, sick of their children being kidnapped and killed by the evil Count Mitterhaus, invade his castle. There's a brief battle and he's staked in the heart. He vows that he'll return from the grave and have revenge on them all. However, the woman he is with is the wife of the town's teacher--and she runs back into the castle, presumably to die. They are wrong. She returns fifteen years later, looking like a gypsy woman. With her is a strange traveling circus, complete with chimp, a panther and an old fat tiger. Oh, and an evil dwarf clown. And yes, vampires. The twin acrobats are her children and the panther transforms into Emil, the Count's cousin. Emil seduces the mayor's daughter and ends up killing her, then sets his sights on the teacher's daughter. When enough of the villagers' blood is spilled on the Count's corpse, he comes back to life, though it's short-lived, since he's quickly beheaded. This is one of the weirder Hammer vampire movies, up there with THE LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES. I particularly liked the lion-taming scene with the naked striped girl and the sequence with the acrobats who transform back and forth into bats in front of an audience, though they don't make the connection between them and the vampire slayings. ?. Recommended.
This new DVD release from Synapse Films is the best this movie has ever looked. There's also a making of documentary, the original trailer, still and poster gallery and a motion comic.