Vampire Circus

Artist: Vic Fair
Format: UK Quad (30"x 40")
Condition: Excellent
Year: 1972


This 1972 Hammer horror poster is illustrated in a gloriously irreverent manner by British artist Vic Fair. As documented in Sim Branaghan's book "British Film Posters" (2006), Fair used this illustration as an opportunity to protest against the censorship of his work (a running theme of contention between poster artists during the 1960's-70's, was what they perceived to be undue "meddling" by  censorious distributors). Vic composed this artwork fully expecting the subliminal phalluses in the bottom corners to be recognised & thrown out. Much to his delight, the commissioning powers innocently overlooked his attempts to rile them & Vic Fair's twin obscenities were published for posterity.


The 1960's-70's was a period of constant boundary pushing & issues of film censorship were frequently aired in the national press (see John Trevelyan's "What The Censor Saw" 1973). Hammer Studios also followed a path towards more blood, sex & gore & the more graphic horror quotient in "Vampire Circus" even caused ructions within Hammer itself. Marcus Hearn's fascinating tome, "The Hammer Vault" (2011), reveals telling letter exchanges on this subject between Hammer boss Sir James Carreras & his son, Michael Carreras.


Though sometimes films were released on both sides of the Atlantic with shared poster art, most often, British & US treatments diverged. The inclusion of the US 1-Sheet poster for "Vampire Circus", illustrates this to good effect (image courtesy of The Quad poster here has been linen-backed & conservation cleaned.