Berserk! (1967) is a feature film starring Joan Crawford, Ty Hardin, and Judy Geeson in a macabre mother and daughter tale about a circus plagued with murders. The screenplay was written by Herman Cohen and Aben Kandel, and the film directed by Jim O'Connolly. Berserk! marks Crawford's penultimate big-screen appearance.
Plot and cast
Monica Rivers (Crawford) is the owner and ringmaster of a traveling circus where mysterious murders occur. After her tightrope walker (Thomas Cimarro
) is killed, she hires high-wire walker Frank Hawkins (Hardin), and begins an affair with the muscular and handsome young man which arouses the jealousy of her previous lover Durando (Michael Gough
). When Durando is found dead, the other performers begin to suspect Monica of the killings. Monica's unruly, sixteen-year-old daughter Angela (Geeson), is expelled from school and joins the circus as the partner of knife-thrower Gustavo (Peter Burton
). Meanwhile, the deaths continue. An investigation reveals Angela Rivers is the killer. She has hated her mother for years as a result being ignored and has been "removing" those who take up her mother's time. At the end, she attempts to murder her mother, too, but is killed by lightning during a storm. Cast includes Diana Dors
as Matilda, Robert Hardy
, Geoffrey Keen
, and Sydney Tafler
Frank Leyendecker in Greater Amusements
wrote, "Joan Crawford gives authority and extreme conviction to the colorful role of a circus owner and ringmaster...she consistently rises above the highly melodramatic, yet exploitable, material."
Lawrence Quirk wrote in Hollywood Screen Parade, "[Crawford] is all over the picture, radiant, forceful, authoritative, a genuine movie star whose appeal never diminishes."