- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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A Transformative Experience
Reviewers who derided this movie and dismissed it as camp trash are not able to grasp the true genius of this film. It's all about set and setting. You must watch this gem when you are tired after working a long day and preferably late at night, so that your critical faculties are weakened. Then you can appreciate that this classic is not mere "camp"--it is ber-Camp. Nay, rather it is a complete deconstruction of the Camp genre. What is there about this flick not to love? Everything including the insipid script, the stilted acting, the unmotivated plot twists, the garish costumes, and the circus setting, forces the viewer out of their comfortable reality into another dimension of dementia. Imagine Tod Browning's "Freaks" on steroids and "in living color". Take for example the scenes in Crawford's "caravan" where the prissy over dressed Scotland Yard detective is interrogating a 63 year-old Crawford dressed Leotards, dark hose, with her face drawn so tight so as not to show a wrinkle and in the background on the wall there is a cheesy painting of two clown-heads. So many emotions wash over the viewer: revulsion, embarrassment, and horror that they were still trying to exploit Crawford for her sex appeal. Yet the clown-heads in the background add the right touch of surrealism that is nothing short of a cinematic version of "Shock and Awe." Viewers will be forced to confront the horror of exploitation in Western society in all its ugly forms, whether it be the exploitation of women, animals, or the handicapped. I for my part can never again go to a circus or even eat meat after watching this picture.
Like her or not, Joan Crawford commanded any film she was in, even when she was in the silent era. There was simply something about the woman. The film is about a hard-driving owner of a circus, played by Crawford. Several murders occur within the circus and Scotland Yard is dispatched to suss out the guilty party. It is a suspenseful film, in that you keep wondering who will die next and how. As for the murderer, you don't know until the film is almost ended and that keeps you in suspense too. Ty Hardin is cast as the replacement for the first performer who is murdered and he does a decent job in this role. He was 37 and Crawford was 62 when this film was made and I don't know what the fuss is all about re their being paired as lovers here. His character sleeps his way into trying to get part interest in the circus. Women have being doing that sort of thing for decades. Why, all of a sudden, is it incredulous to believe men have done the same thing? This isn't a bad film, it just isn't all that good. It is interesting, though, and there are character studies that can peak your interest.
Joan's the best!
- gladwyn nickel
Joan is a truly great actress. This is one of my favorite movies with her. When she say's to Miss Dors "You slut" I thinks Dors was really frightened. There was great chemistry going on between Crawford and Ty Hardin. It seemed very real.
Relax. It is just a movie.
Beserk has engendered such hateful comments (see 3 through 7 below). If you do not enjoy the production, just change the channel. Ms Crawford still had remarkable talents.
One of the Best Murder Suspense Movies Made
Joan Crawford Is One of the Best Actress!........Awesome Classic Suspense Murder Movie
- Celia Trimboli
I've always liked murder in the circus movies. This one is as good as any others I've seen. What is impossible to believe is that Joan Crawford, at this age and demeanour, would send any man's engine revving into overdrive. She does look good in her ringmaster outfit. I have a very good VHS print, but I would love to see an equally good DVD version released very soon.
96 minutes is too much to waste
The photograph on this page tells the story: Joan Crawford is once again desperately trying to act, and trying to act as if she can possibly compare to a much younger actor perhaps half her age. It's a sad and pitiful state of affairs. Berserk is a good title for this film, however, because it's during a period where arguably anyone who made this film had gone berserk. The film begs the question: what compells movie stars to become so desperate to turn out a junker like this?
The real circus attraction
Monica Rivers' (Joan Crawford), owner & ringmaster of a circus, is once again, a sexist stereoptype of women who'll stoop to anything to get attention, or an audience this time. Mysterious murders cause some performers' brutal deaths & Monica's profits soar. Perversely drawn to much younger men, Monica has asinine affairs with many prey even while the performers are scared by a murderer in their midst. Monica's supsected while bodies pile up. Joan's mien is waspish, performance is decrepit & anachronous. By this time she'd have done better as a caged circus attraction who'd risen from the dead!
Berserk delusions to keep performing
This film's no worse than any of the last decade and a half that Joan Crawford was delusional enough to be in. One trait about movie stars that's most unbecoming's when they're under the influence on the job. Another unbecoming trait is pretending to be younger by far than their real age. It seems pitifully sad that Miss Crawford couldn't find something that she was still able to do after she was no longer at all appealing in films, movies, show or other appearances. Hanging on to her past only made a caricature out of her. There were so many other ways she could have found some self worth by serving society. Sadly she did this to herself: this film.
This film didn't do the film industry or cast and crew any favors. It is about murders happening in the big tent of circus life, with a long over-the-hill, Joan Crawford, whose movie stardom had already ended, trying to feign being decades younger than she was. It's pitiful to see her delusional about where clearly didn't she belonge: on screen. By 60yo, Crawford was so frightfully unappealing that the only kind of films she could possibly be in were horror B-flicks. Miss Crawford's bitterness marked her facial structure. It was preposterous for her to prance on screen in a leotard. May have been too hard for her to accept reality: her career was long over.
If ever there was a B-flick that shouldn't have been been made, this one's it. Crawford's performance is so bad it's pitiful. The plot is pointless. The script is mindless. It's too sad because it's so bad to even have any camp value at all. It would be a better idea to burn the original & forget about making copies. Ship this one.
this is the kind of star i would want to be
I bet Joan Crawford was a stone bitch, but a real trooper, resilient, driven, i wish i had her moxie. some of the lines in this movie "your mother is timelessly youthful" or whatever that circus freak said, are hilarious. but if i was 60 years old i would write that line in there for me too. keep your eyes peeled for the shadow under her neck and the soft lights on the face, to "soften" ie, hide the slack jawline. Judy Geeson always played wierdos and this film she's no different. and that song by the circus performers?? what was that? that was entertainment?? but whenever this is on i have to catch it.
- Bruce Reber
Berserk was Joan Crawford's next to last film (Trog was the last and arguably her worst film ever). It's a campy horror film, the only kind it seems she made in the 60's at the twilight of her career, and long after she ceased to be a major movie star. In fact, the only film she made in the 60's I really like is Whatever Happened To Baby Jane. Berserk has everything typical of a really bad movie, from terrible script to cardboard performances. Still, I watch it whenever it's on TCM (one of my guilty pleasures). If you're in the mood for a totally awful horror film, then Berserk is for you.
Classic late 60's Joan Crawford!
This movie is deliciously bad. The only thing it needs is Elvira (Mistress of the Dark) to make commentary. If you're in the mood for a good laugh and stereotypical Joan Crawford, it's a great way to whittle away an hour and a half.
Joan goes beserk! hahaha in Ocktober.