Hammer Horrors: "Twins of Evil"

Orphaned twins Freida and Mariah, are en route to their uncle Gustav Weil’s (Peter Cushing!) homestead. What they don’t know of their uncle Gustav, is that he is the head of The Brotherhood, a group of vigilante witch burners scouring evil from the surrounding lands. Once they arrive they are subjected to Uncle Gustav’s tyrannical rule, leading to Freida’s late night scheming to rid herself of her oppressive Uncle. Sneaking out to visit Count Karnstein (Damien Thomas) we learn that one sister has an evil side, as the other remains pure. Soon Uncle G’s band of (not so) merry men learn of Freida’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. Nothing at all. 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, giving us a new origin line to vampirism with a heaping helping of Satan!

My man Peter Cushing stars and Uncle Gustav, the overzealous leader of The Brotherhood. Cushing plays overzealous the character with his usual flair. Leading the charge to put the torch to many a hapless maiden suspected of evil, with no real evidence to back it up, we see many a woman put to death for dubious reasons. With drained corpses starting to sprout about town, the Brotherhood knows no other way to fight this new evil, and turns to the random accusations of single women living alone. I mean really, if they’re not married, they have to be evil, right?

Playing the fanged bad boy this time around is Damien Rice. With a slight over the top performance of the Evil Karnstein, Rice gives us a man seeming slightly surprised by his new found fangs, but hey, he loves Satan, so he’s going to run with it. Looking much like SNL’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 is 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 his 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 new found 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 Freida begins to fall under the spell of the Evil Count’s spell, and dives headlong into a life of immortality, we see a nice performance out of the Evil Gellhorn as she turns from sweet and innocent to domineering and calculating, forcing her sister to take her licks from Uncle’s leather belt for being out late, and feeling not one iota of guilt from it. With a passion to get out from her Uncle’s demanding gaze, Freida doesn’t hesitate when told she has to take a life to experience the ultimate pleasure, and thus beings her new life as undead.

Twins of Evil is a nice departure from the standard Hammer Vampire flick. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the standard Hammer vamp tale mind you, but it’s nice to see a different take every once in a while, especially from such an icon of the genre. The film is an enjoyable period story, short on dread and jumps, leaving the true horror to the mental side once again. The film does have it’s flaws. With a few glaring jumps in plot towards the end, a few scenes will leave scratching your head trying to figure out how it all fits together, leaving the last twenty to thirty minutes feeling rushed. The film starts out strong, but it feels like they lost interest towards the end and just wanted to get it in the can by that point.

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

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