Twins of Evil (1971)
Twins of Evil (1971)

Genre: Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 27 min.

Release Date: October 3rd, 1971 MPAA Rating: R

Director: John Hough Actors: Peter Cushing, Dennis Price, Mary Collinson, Madeleine Collinson, Isobel Black, Damien Thomas, David Warbeck, Katya Wyeth

 


 

“I

‘m not a witch!” Despite her pleadings, a poor woodsman’s daughter is burned alive at the stake by the ruthless Puritan Gustav Weil (Peter Cushing). Shortly thereafter, sisters Frieda (Madelaine Collinson) and Maria Gellhorn (Mary Collinson), Gustav’s nieces, arrive from Venice to a small village near Karnstein Castle. There, Weil and his brotherhood are on a crusade to seek out devil worshipers and destroy them – and their victims include anyone slightly suspicious or antisocial, condemned almost immediately, without any sort of evidence or trial. Much to Weil’s chagrin, Count Karnstein (Damien Thomas) himself openly mocks the overly religious man, making light of his quest to indiscriminately witch-hunt.

“God will have his revenge!” Cushing is fiercely and entertainingly dedicated to his ridiculous histrionics (an uncompromising, fiery, raging persona – one that never tires when it comes to the horror film regular), which makes this Hammer picture in line with the other vampire entries, including those that also feature the Karnstein myth. Comically, when the count engages in satanic rites, he proves Weil’s intentions as strangely accurate; when demons are summoned, there is indeed a need for some exorcism expertise and undead stalkers. Weil’s girl-murdering isn’t justified, but his skepticism toward Karnstein isn’t exactly misguided. “Burning purifies!”

Of course, as a later Hammer production, capitalizing on laxer content restrictions and audiences’ increasing desires for more controversial subjects, “Twins of Evil” boasts plenty of heaving bosoms, sexual situations and innuendo, and graphic nudity. The excuses for gratuitous nakedness are actually quite laughable; nonsensical scenarios are invented constantly, designed solely to expose a bit of voluptuous flesh or to allude to carnal activities. “Who wants to be good?”

The casting of identical twin sisters adds to the obvious exploitation value (and not a single girl in the village is plain or unattractive), while a majority of the film is merely salacious interactions that do little for the threadbare plot; not much effort is taken to disguise the purpose and appeal of this endeavor. Similarly, a handful of blood and gore shots arise, though they’re far less engaging or sincere. Aiding the generally low-budget vibe are flimsy camera tricks, day-for-night imagery, an abrupt end-credit roll, and Harry Robinson’s score – which sounds so incredibly similar to one of Ennio Morricone’s Spaghetti Western tunes that it must surely be an intentional copy. By the chaotic finale, all of these components coalesce into an unusually silly ordeal, yet it’s difficult not to be amused by the violence, the vampire bloodshed, and the last-minute injections of bouncing cleavage. “We can only trust in God!”

– Mike Massie

  • 6/10