Thursday, May 8, 2014

Twins of Evil, or...The Maltese Twins

Two of the most famous Hammer glamour girls are Mary and Madeleine Collinson.  These beauties, born in Malta and arrived in Great Britain as fashion photography models. Though their film careers lasted less than three years, Hammer's "Twins of Evil" from 1971 has developed a cult following because of them.  In October 1970, Playboy featured the Collinson sisters as Playmates of the month, in one of their magazine's most famous spreads.  Today Mary lives in Milan with her boyfriend and two daughters and Madeleine has returned to Malta where she is happily married with three daughters.  Oh yes....Peter Cushing.  I believe Cushing gives one of his finest performances as a religious zealot.
The plot:  Gustav Weil (Cushing) and his merry band of religious fanatics roam the countryside looking for beautiful young women.  Their lack of modesty naturally indicates that they are children of Satan prompting Gustav's morality brigade to burn them at the stake. How ironic, arriving by coach are Maria and Freida (pictured above, and portrayed by the Collinson twins) who have just lost their parents.  Having grown up in Venice, their wardrobes are more revealing than Gustav would prefer.  In his Puritanical uncle demeanor, Gustav welcomes his nieces by shouting "What is this plumage?"  Maria is eager to show obedience to Gustav but Frieida is determined to rebel, not only in dress, but in taste of boyfriends.  Freida immediately shows an interest in Count Karnstein (Damien Thomas).  Karnstein is into the black arts and worships Satan.  As Gustav continues to collect and burn the most beautiful women in Europe (see picture below), Karnstein resurrects his ancestor Mircalla (Katya Wyeth).  Mircalla, a vampire, then bites Karnstein turning him into one, as well.
As Maria tries to behave, she catches the eye of her music teacher, Anton.  Freida sneaks off to see Karnstein and is welcomed by him, his girlfriend Gerta (Luan Peters), and Mircalla.  Freida is very amenable to be turned to a vampire as well, which is bad news for Gerta.  The newly turned Freida is given Gerta to play with and then eat...which she does (see picture below).  Upon Freida's return, Gustav discovers her vampiric condition, and has her arrested to be executed the next morning.  Karnstein then abducts Maria and switches the twins, hence the zealots will burn Maria, allowing Freida to live as Maria.  Anton to the rescue!  Will he arrive before Gustav torches Maria?  Because Anton does not believe that European babes should be incinerated, Gustav doesn't take him seriously.
A gory and fiery conclusion ensues.  Saved by Anton, Maria rushes to Karnstein's castle to save her, now vampire, sister and is grabbed by the Count. Gustav comes face to face with Freida.  Death, destruction, and dismemberment follow.  Axes, spears, stakes, and plumage fly.  Did the lack of tolerance and government sponsored diversity initiatives spell the end for witches and vampires in the middle ages?  Did fear and hate of vampires spell Freida's doom when she decided to be turned?  "Twins of Evil" is a scary and entertaining movie.  The Collinson twins may have been the most seductive of the Hammer glamour women.  Peter Cushing's performance is fantastic!  This hard to find DVD may be available on YouTube. Enjoy!      

1 comment:

  1. Should this happen today, what are the odds Mr. Obama and his wife proclaim that these witches and vampires could be their own daughters?