Movie Review: Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant Starring John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek and Willem Defoe

There, among the bevy of freaks, they meet the elusive Larten Crepsley (John “The Magic Man” C. Reilly), a vaudevillian performer who happens to be a 200-year-old vampire. Steve, an avid vampire aficionado, recognizes him and offers his allegiance, but is dismissed.

Through a series of unfortunate (and highly preventable) events, Darren is the one left as Crepsley’s reluctant vampire assistant, becoming a “half-vampire,” and now living among the “freaks.” He requires sips of blood for strength and possesses unusual powers. Steve, the "jilted lover" left for a better model, exacts his revenge by joining the Vampaneze, a more savage version of Crepsley’s kind, equipped with bad attitudes and a murderous thirst for blood. Best friends become enemies residing on opposite sides of an epic century long battle between the two breeds.

Based on the children’s book series, Cirque Du Freak is an amusing jaunt into the vampire genre that’s fun for the young and not so young. Though entertaining, visually appealing and surprisingly humorous (I shamelessly laughed out loud a couple of times), don’t expect a concrete outcome. This film’s main purpose is to set up the first installment of the next hyped up franchise, possibly targeting the audience of the near-ending Harry Potter series.


Reilly, who faintly channels Gene Wilder’s apathetic version of Willy Wonka (and mimics his wardrobe and crazy hair), gives a first-rate performance as the emotionally detached vaudevillian performer. His dry wit and listless take on life and love is a welcome departure from the dim-wits he plays in Step-Brothers and Talladega Nights. Salma Hayek is stunning as Madame Truska, the clairvoyant bearded lady and Crepsley’s love interest. Trading her furry Frieda brow for an elegant beard (yes, elegant), her mystic gifts alert her to Darren’s strange tie to the Vampaneze.


People to look out for: Willem Dafoe as Gavner Purl, Crepsley’s consigliore of sorts, and a dead ringer for John Waters or a younger Vincent Price. The always subtly hilarious Patrick Fugit as Evra the Snake Boy, a freak who is all about the music, man. Kristen Schaal, the hilariously clueless groupie/stalker of The Flight of the Concords fame, as Gertha Teeth, a woman with freakishly large chompers.

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense supernatural violence and action, disturbing images, thematic elements and some language.


[Editor's Note: This is the first post by new CL film contributor Daphne Hernandez. For reasons unknown, Wordpress swallowed this post last week and I was only able to track it down today. But hey, it's Halloween weekend, and this is flick you might want to see this holiday weekend. So please, check out the review and excuse our tardiness.]

Cashing in on the popularity mass hysteria of vampire lore, Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant falls in line with the myth-deflaters of Twilight. Vampires don’t have to kill humans to survive, bats are just rodents that live in caves, and subspecies do exist.  They’re just like you and me, but not like you and me.

Darren Shan (Chris Massoglia) lives a cookie cutter existence best conveyed in a J. Crew catalog. In an alternate universe where everyone wears pastels and drab khakis; he’s the straight-A student your mother will likely trade you in for. After his rebel-without-a-cause best friend Steve (Josh Hutcherson) convinces him to ditch class, they get caught and Darren is grounded. In an effort to prove to Steve he’s not the “Mr. Perfect” goody two shoes, they follow a flyer tossed out of an Addams Family-style Studebaker (with a Des-Tiny vanity plate) to the Cirque Du Freak, “The oldest continuing freak show in the Western Hemisphere.”

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