The Circus of Horrors’ new recruit Hannibal Helmerto has undergone a shocking transformation since first meeting The Circus of Horrors cast eleven years ago in Munich.
A tax inspector for the local government, Hannibal watched almost every night’s show in the month-long run. Ten years later he revisited Doktor Haze and his circus, now covered from head to toe in tattoos, with a forked tongue and having had some very interesting dentistry!
During last year’s Edinburgh Festival, Helmerto managed to break his own world record by pulling a 4 ton truck for 107 meters along Princes Street with just 2 meat hooks through his back.
What was the first tattoo you had, and did you expect it to be the first of so many?
It was a small dragon on my right arm 10 years ago, the day after The Circus of Horrors left Munich. Yes, once I saw the Circus of Horrors I had no doubt what I wanted to do and I thought covering my body in tattoos was a great first step.
Which of your procedures are you most impressed with?
That’s a difficult one, I had my tongue forked, first of all they did it with a Stanley knife but it repaired itself so then I had it done with a laser beam so it cortisoned it along the way. I also really liked having mammoth ivory for teeth – I went to Siberia as sort of exile in a winter wilderness and while I was there, amazingly, I found a dealer who sold 40,000 year old mammoth ivory (I actually saw the giant tusk that it was taken from). I bought a section brought it home and had it built into two teeth which now sit proudly in my mouth.
What has been your highlight so far of performing with the Circus of Horrors?
It’s an age old adage that everyone wants to run away and join the Circus. For me though, it had to be The Circus of Horrors, I just thought it was so original and amazing, it defiantly put the danger back into circus – the way it used to be a hundred years ago. To get the opportunity to perform in it was a dream (or nightmare) come true.
I really love doing suspension tricks. I have two meat hooks put through my back, and in my act I am lifted by my feet to the roof of the auditorium. I then have an oil drum attached to the hooks and you can see them stretching my skin. When I performed this stunt in Aberdeen the whole audience of 1,200 stood up and applauded, it was an amazing feeling.
Can you tell us about your performance in The Asylum?
I love the new show, it’s so different to any other Circus of Horrors shows and was a real challenge. It’s split into two halves – the first half is in the Asylum (I play an evil warden) and the lunatics take over and kill us all before being liberated by Dr Haze. In the second half he uses the inmates as his performers in his new show ‘Blood Thirsty & Burlesque’.
The Asylum is set in France in the late 1800’s. Dr Haze buys it to put on his new show thinking he has bought a stately home that was lived in by Van Gogh, not realising he had bought a mad house. Once he realises, he relishes the idea and sets about his plan. It stimulates all the senses and is packed with new acts and new shocks that is set to surpass everything that has come before it.
The show still contains the crowd favourites, only they are now trapped in a Macabre Mad House until they escape and run amuck into the French night!
Are you planning another world record attempt for 2008?
Of course, I’m sure I can go further so I’ll either try a bigger truck or possibly a tank or pull for further!
The Circus of Horrors’ new show, The Asylum starring Hannibal Helmurto, is at the Wyvern Theatre on Monday 14 January at 7.30pm. All intermingled with oddities, fakirs and death defying circus acts, The Asylum is an amazing amalgamation of witch doctors, voodoo acrobats, a pickled person, bendy bodies, demon dwarfs, blood curdling stunts and flying vampires. Presided over by the undead ringmaster Doktor Haze, this hellish tale contains live devil-driven rock n’ roll of The Interceptors From Hell and an uncontrollable cast of burlesque beauties, chaosmongers and some of the worlds greatest, grotesque, most daring and bizarre circus acts all re-born, re-vamped and rockin’.
Monday 14 January, 7.30pm.
Tickets £14, £16 Ticket Office: 01793 524481