Joan Crawford is the lone notable hi-light in this highly ridiculous yet entertaining popcorn fluff where a psychopath infiltrates and wreaks havoc upon a traveling circus troupe in Europe. Joan Crawford portrays the owner and ring-master of the Circus, "The Great Rivers Circus" - she is a gutsy, feisty no-holds-barred woman who is hell-bent on running her circus while a murderer terrorizes her employees by offing their victims in bizarre fashions. For example, one tight rope walker is hanged by his own tight-rope after it frays and snaps during a live performance - another man has a pick driven through his head and a woman is literally 'sawed' in half in a hilarious scene that involves a buzz saw and two missing screws (!!). Meanwhile, Crawford tries to capitalize on the murders by cashing in on the general public and their morbid fascination with death by making sure that the 'show must go on'. Box office receipts have never been better after the murders begin and the audience must wonder, is Crawford behind it all? Is this just some sick over-the-top publicity stunt? Further characters introduced into the story line include a hot-shot tight-rope walker (Ty Hardin) who also plays her love interest and future business partner, a flirtatious blonde circus performer who tries to stir up trouble among her colleagues by implying that Crawford is the murderer and an incredibly ludicrous situation that allows the film to introduce Angela, Crawford's mischief-making daughter who has just been expelled from an exclusive ladies college for her disruptive behavior. Any of these key players including all the circus folk could turn out to be the murderer, but which one is it? Crawford is perfectly cast in "BERSERK", in a highly camp role that could only have worked with no one else but her in it. Sporting a ridiculous blonde hairdo while wearing see-through night apparel and exposing her long legs while donning a ring master's outfit, she manages to nail down hilarious one liners such as, "That Matilda the Mouth!", and, "Just remember, I was the one who gave you all a home!" while at the same time, keeping a straight face. Her delivery of such is highly commendable. Besides Crawford's performance, many other highly camp scenes also take place in the movie - including a cat fight scene that breaks out between two women after one heckles at the other, "Don't fall down - you might hurt your brain!", Crawford being stalked by a mysterious silhouette between a set of caravans(!), and the countless filler scenes involving actual circus out-takes of dancing poodles and high-wire acrobats using a 'love rocket' apparatus(!!). The climatic conclusion of "BERSERK" is riotous. When the killer is revealed, laughter will ensue as their motives for murdering its victims come to light, followed by a scene where they dash outside the circus tent only to be conveniently struck by lightning(!) Nothing in "BERSERK" quite makes sense, but it is actually a rather amusing film. Crawford never looked better in her twilight years - although she would finally succumb to starring in nothing other than this kind of trashy fare. Watching her being seduced by Ty Hardin is a notch below completely embarrassing, yet it is also at the same time completely hilarious. "BERSERK" is certainly among the dregs of misfired film projects, but it isn't as bad as say a matinee showing on "MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000". Crawford fans should give "BERSERK" a gander - I think you will be pleasantly surprised! My Rating - 6 out of 10
Horror / Mystery / Thriller
Horror / Mystery / Thriller
A scheming circus owner finds her authority challenged when the show is targeted by a vicious killer.
June 15, 2020