CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT (12A)

VAMPIRES are everywhere at the moment – you only have to look at a book or turn on the TV. CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE S ASSISTANT (12A) is based on the popular series of books by Darren Shan and is a fantasy-adventure about a teenager (the author) who u

VAMPIRES are everywhere at the moment - you only have to look at a book or turn on the TV.

CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT (12A) is based on the popular series of books by Darren Shan and is a fantasy-adventure about a teenager (the author) who unknowingly breaks a 200-year-old truce between two warring factions of vampires.

Pulled into a fantastic life of misunderstood sideshow freaks and grotesque creatures of the night, he will vanish from the safety of a boring existence and fulfil his destiny in a place drawn from nightmares.

Chris Massoglia (of The Hole), John C Reilly, Willem Dafoe, Salma Hayek and Ken Watanabe star.

Producer Lauren Shuler Donner says: "I felt that, in the guise of entertainment, the books had a lot to say about friends and family.

"The author explores the question of 'What is the price of loyalty?' and I found that Darren has to pay a big price to remain loyal to the friends and family he loses. The Cirque becomes his family."

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Reilly plays the 220-year-old vampire Larten Crepsley, who becomes Darren's mentor.

Reilly says: "It's not often you get to play someone who is 220 years old. That got me really excited about the character...how cynical you'd be after living all those years."

And Massoglia, 17, who plays Darren, says: "I was excited when I heard about the audition.

"I heard the story and thought the concept of being mentored by a vampire, and then becoming a half-vampire, was really cool."

Among the bizarre characters who make up the Cirque freak show are Madame Truska, who grows a beard; Alexander Ribs, one of the world's thinnest men; Corma Limbs, who can take off her arm and it'll grow back; Gertha, who can hang on to a flagpole by her teeth and Rhamus Twobellies, who can put things together in his stomach.

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