Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Twins of Evil: Which is the Virgin? Which is the Vampire?

Twins of Evil
Hammer Studios is renowned for its vampire pictures and this will be the first of three that I will feature here on Beasts in Human Skin during Hammer Horror WeekTwins of Evil is the third installment of the lesbian vampire themed Karnstein Trilogy of Hammer films, although this one offers little in the way of lesbian action.  It was preceded by Vampire Lovers and Lust for a Vampire and if you're looking for hot lesbian vampire action, those are the ones to watch.  However, Twins of Evil is my favorite of the three.

After being orphaned, two identical twin girls (Mary and Madeleine Collinson) move from Vienna to a small Central European village to live with their uncle Gustav (Peter Cushing) and his wife.  Gustav is a religious zealot and leader of a puritanical group called "The Brotherhood" that "purifies" the locals who perform sinful acts by burning them at the stake.  Both of the twin girls, Frieda and Maria are not happy with their new arrangements.  Frieda absolutely resents her uncle and his way of life and is attracted to the young Count Karnstein who lives in the castle overlooking the town.

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."
Count Karnstein comes from a long line of devil worshipers and in an attempt to emulate them and transcend the pleasures of the flesh, he performs a satanic rite, sacrifices a nubile blonde, and calls upon the Devil to give him power.  The Countess Mircalla, a vampire, appears and after a roll in the hay changes him into one of her kind.  Soon after, the count invites the curious Frieda to his castle where he turns her into a creature of the night and bloodthirsty cohort.  Meanwhile, the innocent Maria begins a courtship with the local schoolmaster who is educated in the folklore of vampirism but dismisses it as superstition and who condemns Gustav for his violent persecutions.  It becomes apparent that vampires truly are in the area draining girls of life and Gustav and the schoolmaster join forces to storm the castle, take on the Count, execute Frieda and cleanse the town of evil. 

Twins of Evil is worth watching just for Peter Cushing's performance alone.  He is intense.  But it's also a great movie and unlike Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde which promised to deliver shock after shock and then failed, the last twenty minutes of Twins of Evil did surprise me - especially Frieda's demise.  I definitely recommend this movie.  It's one of my favorite Hammer films.