TWINS OF EVIL
Twins of Evil has two standout features. One of these is Peter Cushing who gives one of his finest performances as the harshly authoritarian witchfinder. The other is a vivid, stylish turn of hand from director John Hough, who later went onto make the fine haunted house story The Legend of Hell House (1973) and a number of other genre films (see below). Hough gets occasionally heavy-handed most absurdly the crudely symbolic closeups on a hand stroking a candlestick during a love sequence. His strong handling, particularly in the revival of Mircalla as a wraith from her crypt, and some unflinching, upfront gore effects does wonders elsewhere. Much symbolism is made throughout of doubles and opposites one virtuous, one carnal twin; the Brotherhood and Karnstein both wielding authority and terror in the region, one fleeing from the crucifix, the other wielding it with holy terror. The film also features twin sisters Madeline and Mary Collinson who briefly attained fame with Playboys first twin sisters nude layout in 1970.
Twins of Evil is stopped from attaining the status of one of the great Hammer films by a flaccid story. It wanders and into most of the Hammer cliches. Little believability is given to Friedas becoming a vampire, an element that is the centre of the story she still lives at home where nobody seems to notice anything different about her, while the script sweeps under the carpet the question of how she manages to go to school during the day. Also disappointing is the scripts making Gustav and the Brotherhood the heroes of the day. The idea of a vampire film where the crucifix wielders are brutal Puritans is a good one with the film borrowing some of the topical interest in historical witch persecutions that had been created by the success of Michael Reeves Matthew Hopkins Witchfinder General/The Conqueror Worm (1968). However, Tudor Gatess script is simply not up to the moral complexities that such an association sets up. At the outset, the film creates a strong and powerful menace around the Brotherhood. In order to make the Brotherhood into the heroes of the show, the film need to sanctify their actions entirely, which bluntens their build-up as sinister figures. Their persuasion to reason by David Warbeck is far too reasonable to seem believable.
John Houghs other genre films are: the haunted house story The Legend of Hell House (1973); the Disney films Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) and Return from Witch Mountain (1978) about psi-powered alien kids; the Disney ghost story The Watcher in the Woods (1980); Incubus (1982) about a demonic rapist; the British boys air hero adaptation Biggles (1986); American Gothic (1987) about a family of psychos; Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988) and Bad Karma/Hells Gate (2002).
Film available online in several parts beginning here:-