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I was surprised to find Berserk! among my cable company’s free movies on demand this month, in HD no less. Originally released in 1967, probably the last time I saw it in its entirety, it was among the final horror-under-the-Big-Top ‘thrillers’ of the decade. Thirty-something high wire act Ty (where is he now?) Hardin joins a jinxed circus where the box office grows with each passing murder. He’s also balancing the amorous advances of MILF co-worker Diana Dors (hitting the wall at 36 and testing the seams of her skimpy girl-to-be-sawed-in-half costume, the zaftig former sex kitten looks like twelve pounds of shit packed into a ten pound bag) and grand-MILF ringmaster Joan Crawford, maneuvering her swift decline from Robert Aldrich to William Castle to Berserk! producer Herman Cohen (the two would reunite three years later for the miraculous Trog), ever the Grand Dame of Hollywood and an eerie premonition of Faye Dunaway in thick penciled eyebrows. When not chin-upping the unbelievable role of a way overripe ingénue firing Ty’s Oedipal loins, she presides over an abundance of stock footage, lion tamers and elephant acts carrying the brand of some organization other than ‘The Great Rivers Circus’ as specified by the script. Also on hand are future Oompa Loompa dwarf George Clayton, Michael Gough collecting grocery money (Ed Wood had Bela Lugosi, Herman Cohen had Michael Gough), and Judy Geeson (Susannah York lite) as Joan’s love-starved, ne’er do well progeny, another thick lipped blonde Brit riding the coattails of Julie Christie. As I recall, the Catholic Legion of Decency, still a source of influence, found fault with the graphic shocks and characters fornicating in sin; they may have slapped Berserk! with a ‘condemned’ rating as I believe they did with that same year’s carnival horror omnibus, Torture Garden. Capping it off, John Scott’s often wildly inappropriate musical score underlines the picture’s unintentional (?) camp value while director Jim (Horror on Snape Island) O’Connolly mines an archaic, stilted linear narrative style from a generation then nearing its obsolescence. Nonetheless, as the end credits rolled, I found myself applauding in my jammies.