Thursday, January 10, 2013

Twins of Evil (1971, John Hough) @synapsefilms

I am not someone who tends to get their films via the bootleg trail, internet-wise, but I will admit to making a few choice VHS copies in my youth. Kids, when I was young, VHS movies were ridiculously expensive (prior to Home Alone). I am not proud of it. Mistakes were made.

Anyway, my favorite Hammer Horror film ever is Twins of Evil, starring Damien Thomas as Count Karnstein, Peter Cushing as the witch-finder Gustav Weil, and The Collinson Twins as Maria and Freida. For years I have been watching this as a VHS to VHS copy that I transferred to AVI video, then to DVD. It is the most lackluster, grainy visual experience in my collection... but it is a film brimming with awesome, and was hard to get in the legitimate fashion. Until now.

I saw a post from City on Fire about an upcoming Bluray release of The Vampire Lovers, the first of the Karnstein trilogy, from Synapse Films. I immediately said "they'd better do Twins of Evil and The Devil Rides Out soon!" Little did I realize that half my wish was already true.

I got the Bluray release ordered, and when I saw it, I was shocked. A) there were colors. COLORS! my friends. B) there were scenes brand new to me. It is no secret that European films are often cut for American audiences, and Twins of Evil was apparently no exception. Fear not "I don't see the point of buying a Bluray player" folks out there, it comes with a DVD version as well.

I will not rehash the story too much, as I have already reviewed it, but the basic premise is simple; two orphaned twins (Mary and Madeleine Collinson) are shipped of to the provinces to live with their uncle, the witch-finder Gustav Weil (Peter Cushing), and run afoul of Count Karnstein (Damien Thomas) who quickly becomes a vampire, thanks to his long dead ancestor, Mircalla Karnstein (briefly portrayed by Katya Wyeth). Vampire hijinks ensue.

For me, the additional scenes are the great part, unless my memory is completely shot and I just forgot them, we get to see Karnstein's manservant Joachim (the imposing Roy Stewart) lay the smack down on some witch-hunters, and Peter Cushing lay some smack down as well. Also, some extended Collinson nudity seems to be included, and who doesn't want that?

Just for your edification:

THIS is what I have been watching for many, many years.

THIS!!! is what I am watching now (DVD capture)

So, if this is a favorite of yours, and I wholly recommend it if it is not, you'd do well to pick this up. It is a lovely transfer, and the extra scenes add to the story. There are fewer extra features on the DVD than the Bluray, but I do not care much for extra features anyway.

"Pray for me, Weil! That's what you're supposed to do with sinners, isn't it? PRAY FOR ME!"


Timothy S. Brannan said...


I LOVE Twins of Evil and of course the Vampire Lovers.

Blu-Ray? I have to get that.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I was a bit "meh" about a Vampire Lovers Bluray until I saw this one. It was a glory to behold, particularly, if you are like me and have only seen the chopped up prude version. This one has beheadings!

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