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By Jessica Ferguson

circus of horrors Do you remember the song, Look For A Star? The first stanza is below:

When life doesn’t seem worth the living
And you don’t really care who you are
When you feel there is no one beside you
Look for a star

I can’t hear this song without remembering an old movie I saw back in the 60s at the Arlene Theater in my home town of Longview, Texas. That was a long time ago. I loved going to movies when I was a kid. Today I don’t go much. I watch in the privacy of my home so I can hide my eyes if I need to or mute if someone is throwing up. Back in the good old days, I didn’t have those problems. I didn’t have to worry about four-letter words, extreme violence or barf.

But why in the world I went to see a British horror film called Circus of Horrors as a teen, I’ll never know. Circus of Horrors has haunted my memory. Here’s a partial blurb:

In 1947 England, a plastic surgeon must beat a hasty retreat to France when one of his patients has ghastly problems with her surgery. Once there, he operates on a circus owner’s daughter, deformed by bombs from the war. Later he becomes the owner of the circus, and …


I’ve thought of Circus of Horrors so often that I wondered if it was really as intriguing as I remembered.  So, awhile back I ordered the DVD.  I was surprised at how much I remembered, and of course the song … that beautiful song that now seems creepy, sinister to me.

Circus of Horrors was just as fascinating as it was back in the 60s.

Several Amazon reviewers (about my age, I guess) remarked how the story has haunted them all these years. The suspense is great; there isn’t any graphic violence as compared to today’s thrillers even though it’s still a bit gruesome. The only thing that really bothered me was the lack of transition from scene to scene. You can’t blink or you’ll find yourself in another country and wonder how you got there.

When we write, shouldn’t we try to create a memorable plotline? Great characters our readers won’t soon forget? A story that haunts and teases the memory long after the last page is turned?

One reviewer stated Circus of Horrors is without a doubt one of the finest British horror films ever made.

I remember books, heroes and heroines and plotlines that make me smile today … so many years later. Wouldn’t it be fantastic for our writing to stay in someone’s mind and heart forever? That’s what I strive for.

How do you make your stories or your characters memorable?

How do you want to be remembered?

What to do you do, to keep learning?