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Movie Review: Twins of Evil

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Orphaned twins Frieda and Mariah are en route to their uncle Gustav Weil's homestead. What they don't know of their uncle Gustav is that he is the head of "The Brotherhood," a vigilante group of witch burners, scouring evil from the surrounding lands.

Once they arrive, they are subjected to Uncle Gustav's tyrannical rule, which leads to Frieda's late night scheming in order to rid herself of her oppressive uncle. When they sneak out to out to visit Count Karnstein we learn that Frieda has an evil side, while the other sister remains pure. Soon Uncle Gustav's band of (not so) merry men learn of Frieda's wicked ways and rally to lay siege to the evil Count's castle. Huzzah!

Do you love busty women in period corsets? Then you're in the right place! Here we are with yet another Hammer Studios period flick dripping with atmosphere and cleavage. And really, there's nothing wrong with that. This time around we get a Hammer vamp story with a twist. With a heavy dose of Salem Witch Trial style zealotry, we have a vampire film with two antagonists instead of one. Also giving this foray into fangs a new spin is Hammer's departure from their standard vampire canon and giving us a new origin line to vampirism with a heaping helping of Satan!

Peter Cushing stars as Uncle Gustav, the overzealous leader of The Brotherhood. With typical Cushing flair we are given a religious man off the deep end in his faith and devotion. He is leading the charge to put the torch to many a hapless maiden suspected of evil with no real evidence to back it up and we see many a woman put to death for dubious reasons.

With drained corpses starting to show up about town, The Brotherhood knows no other way to fight this new evil and turns to the random accusations of single women living alone. If they're not married, they have to be evil right? Cushing pulls off the Uncle Gustav role with his usual flair and mastery and presents us a man believing fully in his holy mission despite the cost to loved ones and innocents.

Playing the fanged bad boy this time around is Damien Thomas. In a slightly over the top performance as the evil Count Karnstein, Thomas gives us a man seeming slightly surprised by his new found fangs, but as he sure loves Satan he's going to run with it. Looking much like Saturday Night Live’s Jimmy Fallon in a wig and fancy pants, the Count is shown to us as a man that is evil mostly because he is a noble and rather bored with life. Holding random Satanic rituals as dinner entertainment in his homestead on a regular basis, Karnstein appears to be slightly surprised by the gift from his dark lord.

The twins, played by Maria and Madeline Gellhorn, start the film as giggly buxom lasses somewhat taken aback by their newfound country home and demanding Uncle. Appearing pure as snow, while not quite as devout as their Uncle, the twins are shown to us as sweet and innocent if not a bit more worldly than the ladies around them.

As Frieda begins to fall under the spell of the evil Count and dives headlong into a life of immortality, we see a nice performance as she turns from sweet and innocent to domineering and calculating.  This is particularly apparent when she forces her sister to take licks from Uncle's leather belt for her own being out late and feeling not one iota of guilt whatsoever. With a passion to get out from her Uncle's demanding gaze, Frieda doesn't hesitate when told she must take a life to experience ultimate pleasure and then begin her new life as an undead.

Twins of Evil is a nice departure from the standard Hammer Vampire film. It's not that there is anything wrong with the usual Hammer vampire tale, but it's nice to see a different take once in a while, especially from an icon of the genre. The film is an enjoyable period story, short on dread and jump cuts, leaving the true horror to the mental side once again. The film does have its flaws. Notably, there are a few glaring leaps in the plot towards the end the movie and a few scenes will leave you scratching your head trying to figure out how it all fits together.  It makes the last twenty or thirty minutes feel rather rushed.

Despite this flaw, it is still a fun watch and worth a Netflix slot at the very least.

Three and a half buxom twins out of five…

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About Casey C

  • Elliot James

    The twins’ real names when this was made were Mary and Madeleine Collinson. Their movie characters’ names were Maria and Frieda Gellhorn.

  • http://www.cinemafromage.com Casey Criswell

    You are correct sir! I had confusion issues over this one with IMDb! Thanks for the correction!

  • chrissie

    twins of evil is a great film from great Karnstein trilogy. It is often read by critics as lets-suck-the-yong-a…udience-film, and admittedly religious uncle is a good christian, sexually perverse and sadistic, but still the bully Frieda is hardly the proof of purity and innocence of younger generation. Stinkair ageism, blaming only oldies, especially when Peter Cushing gives some sympathetic flair to the horrifying Christian – or is it my sympathy toward Cushing playing another villain in -admittedly gorgeous and atmospheric – film.