Midnight Circus - Welcome to the world of the vampires

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German title Midnight Circus - Welcome to the world of the vampires
Original title Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2009
length 109 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
JMK 12
Director Paul Weitz
script Brian Helgeland ,
Paul Weitz
production Ewan Leslie ,
Lauren Shuler Donner
music Stephen Trask
camera James Muro
cut Leslie Jones

Midnight Circus - Welcome to the World of Vampires (Original title: Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant ) is an American film by director Paul Weitz from 2009. It is the film adaptation of the first three volumes of the twelve-part Darren-Shan Series by the Irish author Darren O'Shaughnessy .


The teenage boy Darren Shan, a model student, and his friend Steve, a truant who envies him, learn about a freak show called Cirque du Freak , which they cannot miss. There, in addition to a snake boy , wolf man , a giant barker and a bearded lady, they also meet the real vampires Larten Crepsley and Gavner Purl when Darren overhears them. He learns of two warring vampire factions who disagree as to whether or not to kill their victims. The vampires, including Crepsley and Gavner, only take a few sips of blood from the shoulder, while the “vampires” mercilessly suck the victims empty. They have a truce, but it breaks when Gavner tells Crepsley that Murlaugh, one of the vampires, murdered her friend Vincent. In revenge, Gavner, who deeply detests the vampyre, wants to miss this one lesson and kill a few of them, but Crepsley is against it, because otherwise there would be a war. However, the mysterious Desmond "Des" Tiny has reappeared. Tiny longs for war, as one of his prophecies says that two teenagers will make the difference in this war. Apparently he wants to use the war for his own purposes and destroy everyone. To start this war, he teamed up with Murlaugh, who in turn hates the vampires. Steve bursts into the conversation. Because he is very unhappy with his life and also has a soft spot for vampires, he wants to become one himself, since vampires live according to their own laws. Crepsley tests his blood and denies it, whereupon Steve swears to hunt and kill him. Darren, a spider fan, steals Crepsley's spider, which he used on the show, the "Cirque du Freak". But that has consequences: Steve is poisoned by a bite and is in a coma. Crepsley punishes Darren by exchanging blood to make him a half-vampire. In return, he saves Steve. Darren is now apparently killed by Crepsley, because as a (half) vampire he has to leave those he loves. However, at Darren's funeral, Steve discovers what happened. Darren is not really dead and Crepsley digs him out of his grave at night. Suddenly Murlaugh attacks and wants to kidnap Darren, but Crepsley fights the vampire and flees with Darren to the traveling circus.

Darren joins the traveling circus and tries to find his way in the strange world. He falls in love with a "monkey girl". As the vampire 's assistant (according to the English subtitle The Vampire's Assistant ) he gets into the conflict between the two vampire factions. Mister Tiny wants to renew the war between the factions. He believes Darren and Steve are the teenagers in question and he makes Steve a vampire. Steve enjoys this to the full and takes advantage of it to get revenge on a teacher he didn't have a good relationship with in school. He sets a trap for Darren and Crepsley by kidnapping Darren's beloved Rebecca, the monkey girl, and also her family, and giving Darren a choice in a theater. He wants Darren to kill his family or Rebecca will die. Crepsley, who had meanwhile set out to save Darren, also appears there, armed with a knife. Crepsley and Murlaugh engage in a brutal fight in the course of which Murlaugh gains the upper hand but does not kill his opponent so Steve can pursue his thirst for revenge into action. But Rebecca voluntarily provides Darren with her blood so that he can gain the powers of a vampire and save Crepsley, whereupon this Murlaugh stabs. But this, as planned by Tiny and Murlaugh, breaks the ceasefire. To prevent anyone from finding out, Darren fights Steve until they are stopped by Tiny. Darren and Steve face each other as mortal enemies from now on. Tiny takes Steve to the vampyres to meet his people, while Darren goes back to the cirque. He gets his own coffin there and is to be presented the next day to the Vampire Council, which, according to Gavner, would do anything to prevent a war.


The shooting of Midnight Circus took place from February to June 2008 in the US state Louisiana , mainly in the largest cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge , as well as in the village of Folsom . Few scenes were filmed at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles .

In addition to prostheses and makeup, computer-generated special effects were also used on the shoot.

Initially, the world premiere was scheduled for January 15, 2010, but the release was brought forward to October 23, 2009. While the vampire film New Moon, filmed by Paul Weitz's brother Chris Weitz , became a commercial success on November 16, 2009 and even set a record $ 72.6 million in daily income on November 20, flopped Midnight Circus at the American Box Office:

With a production budget of at least $ 40 million, Midnight Circus posted a disappointing result of under $ 14 million in American cinemas.

The theatrical release in Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland was January 7, 2010. The DVD was scheduled for February 15, 2010 in the United Kingdom and Ireland , and February 23, 2010 in the United States.


The bad box office result was also used as a central aspect of the film rating:

“So the chance of a sequel is practically zero. But how much sense does it make to watch a film that breaks off in the middle of the action and you know that the story - at least on the screen - will no longer be told to the end? "

- Christoph Petersen

The critics cite the difference to recent successful fantasy vampire films as a possible cause of the flop:

“The 'Twilight' films and 'True Blood' have in common that they enforce the centuries-old vampire myth with today's soap elements. 'Midnight Circus' turns out - similar to the also flopped 'Eragon', 'Inkheart' and 'The Golden Compass' - as a fantasy in the most classic sense, in whose struggle between good and evil there is no room for excessive feelings of Shakespeare's style. Obviously nobody wants to see vampires without heartbreak. "

- Christoph Petersen

"The erratically told story, an uninspired direction and a pale leading actor do not succeed in breathing tension and magic into the genre story."

Here is Cirque certainly considered a good alternative to other recent vampire movies and successful film version of the book templates and recommended as "imaginative vampire film with nice effects, a credible story comprehensible fates, a good sense of humor and good music":

“The gloomy atmosphere is broken up by the humor of the main characters, but also by the emerging conflicts among the vampires. [...] Not only vampire fans in general, but especially the friends of this rather macabre vampire world will enjoy the midnight circus. The main reason for this is that the imaginative world doesn't violate the basic rules and traits of vampires as blatantly as the Twilight series does.
Even here, nobody turns into a bat or shrinks from garlic, the crucifix or the sunlight, but the atmosphere of the film appeals to the viewer who grew up with classic vampires much more than the competition. "

- Julian Reischl

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Certificate of Approval for Midnight Circus - Welcome to the world of the vampires . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , October 2009 (PDF; test number: 120 152 K).
  2. Age rating for Midnight Circus - Welcome to the world of the vampires . Youth Media Commission .
  3. ^ "New Moon": Vampires with record in US box office charts ( Memento from November 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive ). On: DiePresse.com, November 23, 2009.
  4. a b Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant . On: BoxOfficeMojo.com. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  5. Christoph Petersen estimates the budget at 70 million dollars: Midnight Circus . On: Filmstarts.de. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  6. Shanville Monthly. Issue 114, January 2010 . On: DarrenShan.com. Retrieved January 4, 2010.
  7. Christoph Petersen: Midnight Circus . On: Filmstarts.de. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  8. Christoph Petersen: Midnight Circus . On: Filmstarts.de. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  9. Midnight Circus - Welcome to the world of the vampires. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed October 28, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  10. a b Julian Reischl: Midnight Circus - Welcome to the world of vampires . On: MovieMaze.de. Retrieved January 4, 2010.