Twins of Evil [Blu-ray]
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Twins Of Evil (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack)
THE FLESH AND THE FURY: X-POSING TWINS OF EVIL (84 min.) - Feature length documentary on the making of TWINS OF EVIL! --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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I first encountered TWINS on a pretty good quality VHS in the late 1980s and then a few years ago on a restored Region 2 copy which looked absolutely stunning. I'm sure that this Severin Blu-Ray/DVD will be using the same source material which should look even better in a new transfer. Since several other reviews go into the plot in great detail, I will summarize it briefly. Twin girls, one good the other bad go to live with their puritanical uncle (Cushing) who leads a religious brotherhood that scours the countryside looking for young women to burn as witches (sound familiar?).Read more ›
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While it is generally implied that this film is sexploitation, that is not at all the case. But considering the twins in question were Playboy playmates and given the rife sexuality and lesbianism present in the preceding films of the series, it is an easy thing to assume. There is actually only one nude scene and the film often deliberately cuts away from unclothed ladyparts, which is actually quite annoying in a film from this era where the girls were so impossibly beautiful and charmingly seductive. But in the end, it helps the film that you stay focused on the central conflicts of the story rather than when the next sex scene is coming up. There is a rather suggestive shot involving a candlestick that will raise eyebrows, but gratuitous nudity is pretty nonexistent. But there is some decent blood, violence, and miles of cleavage so straight exploitation fans need not pass this by.
Cushing plays a fanatical witchhunter terrorizing the women of a town where Count Karnstein openly worships Satan under the protection of the emperor. Since the Count himself is untouchable, Cushing's character tries to find solace in purifying the young girls he feels may have been corrupted by his influence with fire. Meanwhile, Karnstein sates his increasingly vile appetite by offering a human sacrifice to The Devil, who in turn sends him an apparition of his ancestor Mircalla (check the anagram), who bestows upon him eternal unlife. The wicked Count then sets his sights on the witchhunter's beautiful twin nieces whom nobody can tell apart but are as different in personality as they are similar in appearance.
The main theme of the film is the grey area in the conflict between good and evil. While Cushing's character feels he is doing God's work in purifying corrupted souls, he knowingly allows the source of the corruption to thrive, fearing the consequences. This makes him a hypocrite and as good as a murderer as he waits for each victim to take out his personal anger on young girls. The Collinson twins play their parts well (though their voices were dubbed), and make for a mesmerizing onscreen pair. The cast is solid all around.
The region 2 DVD release features a lame musical deleted scene, a very cool image gallery, and extensive liner notes chronicling the film's history and even features some actor bios. Not a ton of special features, but better then most Hammer films get treated over here. "Twins of Evil" is not must-see material, but it is certainly a decent addition to any vampire fan's collection.
3 1/2 stars, rounded up for originality.
Loosely based on characters created by author Sheridan Le Fanu, TWINS OF EVIL concern twin sisters Maria and Freida (Mary and Madeline Collison) who have been recently orphaned and are sent to live with their guardian and uncle Gustav Weil (Peter Cushing.) Gustav is a most unpleasant man, the leader of a religious "brotherhood" whose ideas of salvation and repentance involves routing out every attractive woman in the district and burning them alive at the steak. Ironically, Gustav's hapless victims are innocent, and he finds himself unable to attack the real evil of the locality: the devil-worshiping Count Karnstein (Damien Thomas), who enjoys the protection of the Emperor.
Needless to say, it is not long before the sisters catch the attention of the Count, who has now been transformed by the black arts into a vampire--and one of the sisters soon falls under his sway. But truth be told, Gustav is such a distasteful creature himself that it becomes difficult to know which of the two men is worst.
Like most Hammer Horrors, TWINS abounds with well endowed women in plunging necklines and enough colorful gore to float a small boat. But in this instance, the splashes of blood are all the more effective for the muted background against which they are seen. The usually baroque settings of most Hammer films is not in evidence here, little is romanticized, and the atmosphere is quite tense.
The Collison twins (whose last film this was) give reasonable performances and are so attractive that you do not mind the fact they have very obviously been dubbed by English-speaking actors. Damien Thomas makes for an impressively suave vampire, and David Warbeck is appealing as the hero of the piece. But the real drive of the film comes from Peter Cushing, who gives a surprisingly powerful performance as the maniacal Gustav; if given the choice between facing him or trying to ward off Thomas' vampire, well, most of us would probably feel we had a better chance against Count Karnstein! It is an unexpected effect, and it is quite powerful.
This is not to say that TWINS OF EVIL is without flaws, and now and then some pretty big ones. The script is no winner, and the details of the story are a bit loose, to say the least. The sisters are supposed to be from Vienna, but they somehow wind up in what seems to be a very unappealing area of Germany where the men all dress like American Puritans! There are also one or two scenes that border on the unintentionally comic. But most viewers will be able to suspend disbelief for the film's duration. Recommended for fans of both Hammer and gothic horror.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer