14 June 2008 | BaronBl00d
A Cold, Charmless Cushing with Plenty of Cushions Abounding to Keep Abreast of
The last entry in the "Karnstein Trilogy" by Hammer Studios in the early 1970s, Twins of Evil, tells the story of a pair of nieces moving from Venice to live with their uncle in backward Eastern Europe right in the middle of superstition and a sect known as the Brotherhood, a group of Calvinistic vigilantes ridding the land of beautiful, full-figured women labeled witches(the waste! the incredible waste!..ah me!). Their uncle Gustav Weil(Peter Cushing) just happens to be the leader of this dubious sect and the nieces just happen to be Playboy centerfolds Madeleine and Mary Collinson - the Collinson twins. Now, what really can go wrong you might ask with Hammer, Cushing, and two beautiful playboy twins showing ample cleavage in every scene...just doubly so? Well, those aspects certainly have their pluses - thankfully we are also given a script with some backbone to it. This was not the case with its precursor Lust for a Vampire. We get a story about the aristocratic overlord of the area Count Karnstein(Damien Thomas) practicing sacrifice and black magic and worshiping Satan. The house has servants and even an old family adviser(the wonderful Dennis Price - not really given much to do unfortunately). What happened to the empty castle we saw in Lust for a Vampire? The twins are polarized by their personality - one good and malleable the other evil and adventuresome. You can probably guess where the story goes from there and be fairly close I liked a lot of things about Twins of Evil. The acting is good overall. Peter Cushing gives a good, uncharacteristic performance as a truly evil man fighting evil. No one in the films really comes off as being good - the film questions that perception throughout. I like films that make me think a bit, even if it is sandwiched between witch-burning and ogling large, heaving bosoms. The sets, production values, and lush Hammer quality is fairly evident. But even with so much to offer, I did not like the spirit of the film for the very same reason I liked how it made me think. The film has a cold-hearted center that is not all that common in Hammer films. In fact it reminded me a bit of The Witch-Finder General with Vincent Price. A very good film and Price gives a very good performance - but he is thoroughly unlikable in the film. No Price trademarks - all those qualities that made me a huge fan of his. I felt the same way with Cushing in this film. He is good make no mistake, but he plays a thoroughly unlikable character - something Cushing has never done for me at least. Even when he plays a bad guy I still find something I like about him(Dr. Frankenstein in those Hammer films are just several examples). Here he is so cold-hearted that every bit of charm he normally oozes is totally expunged. I guess it is just my take on the film. Nonetheless, Twins of Evil is recommended viewing. Look at it really as a separate film rather than part of the trilogy. It is a Karnstein film in names and places only.