Dr. Schuler, an outlaw plastic surgeon, flees from England to France where he takes over a circus. Using the circus as a cover for his unethical surgeries he travels around Europe taking in facially-scarred female thieves and prostitutes. He gives them new faces, then turns them into circus stars. The circus becomes very successful, known for its beautiful women performers and sideshow attractions. He calls it "The Circus of Beauty." But when the women, who are also his lovers, become unhappy and threaten to leave the circus, he kills them, making their deaths look like accidents while they're performing.
The trail of dead circus stars leads people to call the circus "The Jinx Circus" and it also causes the police to investigate. The former top star of the circus, Ellissa Caro, an aerial acrobat, becomes angry that Dr. Schuler took away her top billing and gave it to his new girlfriend. She threatens to leave the circus and expose his criminal past, so someone puts a deadly snake in her caravan (or trailer, in American English) while she is taking a shower, in an attempt to kill her. The snake wraps around her ankles and she screams, then we see nothing more. We assume she's dead, but shortly afterwards we see her alive. She tells the doctor that a snake got loose and came into her trailer but "Fortunately, I screamed." We are left to assume that someone came in and saved her from the snake, probably one of the clowns who is infatuated with her. After using a snake as a weapon fails to kill her, later she falls to her death while performing.
The snake is a Burmese Python, a non-venomous constrictor which would not have been able to kill her, but is often used to portray an extremely deadly snake in the movies.