BluRay/DVD Reviews

TWINS OF EVIL

By • Oct 24th, 2012 •

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Remember a time when vampires weren’t brooding and misunderstood? When bloodsuckers were frightful creatures of the undead and for Satan`s sake they didn’t sparkle! The legendary Hammer Studios in a big way helped keep the traditional vampire lore alive – or rather undead, with their films.

TWINS OF EVIL has something for every horror hound out there. On the one hand it has the wonderful gothic style that Hammer fans all know and love, and for you gore freaks there is plenty of the red kroovy to slate your thirst. And what would a good gothic thriller be without copious amounts of bare breasted young women getting bit in certain sensitive areas. What sets this apart from other vampire movies is the mixture of the witch-hunting genre with vampires with a dash of Satanism for good measure. Many times too many concepts can bog down a film, yet with some creative writing it’s pulled off very well.

TWINS is a surreal fever dream of horror and eroticism due in large part to the keen visual style of Dick Bush. He does some brilliant things with lighting and shadows that creates some memorable set scenes, such as the resurrection of Count Karnstein`s dead girlfriend and his conversion to the vampire side. It’s just downright creepy. From landscapes of the country sides to burning witches, I’ve seldom seen a more beautifully shot Hammer film.

Like the visuals, the writing is above par, with characters that are compelling enough to want to spend an hour and a half with. Gates’ skillful writing elevates this far beyond any generic vampire fodder that was being turned out by other studios. I like the play on the dual role of one evil twin and one good one, like the double sides that dwell in us all. There are two problems I had with the writing. One being I wish there had been more character development between both girls. I mean how evil was Frieda before she was turned into a vampire? Also the love connection with good twin Maria seems under developed as well. These are just minor complaints.

Legend Peter Cushing plays Weil, the leader of Brotherhood, and of course brings class and unmatched screen presence to the role. It’s like Cushing was poured into those buckled shoes and pilgrim hat. His intensity is great, never feeling hammy or over the top, yet it’s the quiet moments in the film that really sell the performance. He wisely lets his facial expressions do the talking in some cases. I love how his character comes off as heartless yet, towards the end, cracks begin to show in his ice cold façade and a softer side shows through. It adds to his complex character. Few actors could have pulled this off the way he did.

As wonderful as Peter is, it’s the twins that really steal the show and for good reason. Former centerfolds and real life twins Mary and Madeleine Collinson are perfect as the “tit” ular characters. The camera seems to be in mad love with them, and you`d be hard pressed to find a prettier pair of screen vixens this side of a moonlit cemetery.

Rounding out the cast, classically trained actor Damien Thomas does anything but suck as the satanic vampire Count Karnstein, who can certainly hold his own with Cushing and the twins. He’s over the top at times but would we want anything less?

Hammer, in its later years, declined in quality, but TWINS is the exception. While this isn’t my favorite in their cycle of vampire films it is a sinfully delightful romp of sex and violence that is endlessly watchable. Fans of gothic horror should fly like a bat out of hell and grab this one, before the Brotherhood sets you ablaze!

PICTURE/SOUND:
Like vampires themselves this film looks like it hasn’t aged a day. Flesh tones are warm and vibrant. Things look so realistic you can almost feel the wicked flames consuming its pretty female victims. Blacks are deep and enhance the film tenfold. The new high def really showcases the beautiful cinematography of Dick Bush. The film is correctly matted to 1:66:1 widescreen. Sound is equally pristine, with no distortion of any kind. I doubt that TWINS has ever looked or sounded better.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Synapse and gone above and beyond with extras. Excusive to the set is the feature length documentary ‘The Flesh and the Fury’: X Posing the Twins of Evil.
This fascinating look at the cinematic history of Carmilla is well worth the disc alone. Even a knowledgably fan like me found many interesting tidbits. The documentary is filled with interviews from leading film expects. Unlike the undead creatures they talk about, it’s fresh and entertaining without being too dry and boring.

Hammer fans will be delighted by the featurette THE PROPS THAT HAMMER BUILT. Kinnsey gives us a look at his collection of surviving props of various Hammer films and taps a wonderful well of information. Rounding out the extras are two TRAILERS, the ISOLATED MUSIC TRACK and also, exclusive to the BluRay, is a rarely seen DELELTED SCENE.

Synapse really gives this film the treatment it deserves and it should be in everyone’s horror collection.

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