Twins of Evil (1971)
In Hammer Films: An Exhaustive Filmography (McFarland, 1996), authors Tom Johnson and Deborah Del Vecchio write that Twins of Evil (1971) was perhaps Hammer’s last great vampire film. I agree and prefer it to the confusing, albeit unusual Vampire Circus (1972)(which is well-worth seeing) and the dated “modern” vampire yarn Dracula A.D. (1972), starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, which followed a year later.
Twins of Evil moves along at a fast clip. It’s never boring and has an unusual storyline with puritan zealot Gustav Weil (Peter Cushing) and his brotherhood followers chasing down evil within a European village. Eye candy materializes in the film as Frieda and Maria Gellhorn, played by former Hefner Playmates Madeleine and Mary Collinson, respectively. The two arrive in the village under the watchful and stringent care of Gustav Weil. One is naughty (Frieda) and one is nice (Maria). Frieda takes interest in the local heavy, Count Karnstein (well played by Damien Thomas).
Karnstein of course dabbles in the black arts and eventually becomes a vampire. He in turn infects Frieda. There’s also plenty of sex interjected into the story. Twins of Evil was loosely based on Camilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu. Twins of Evil offers female vampires interested in buxom girls. It held my attention. The set design and cinematography will also keep Hammer fans happy. Did anyone notice that the score sounds a bit like Elmer Bernstein’s march from The Magnificent Seven (1960)?
Damien Thomas, still active in film, also appeared in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). He played aristocratic types well and in this film, makes for an eloquent and creepy lead vampire. It’s a shame Hammer didn’t cast him in more vampire films.
Here’s the lovely and incredibly sexy Madeleine Collinson (I think I got that right) under soft focus photography.
Karnstein fears his fate.
Twins of Evil is available as a DVD/Blu-ray package from Synapse films. The supplements include a well-constructed documentary on the film and Hammer in the early 1970’s and a fascinating film on Hammer Collectibles, and other extras. A few folks have complained about the graininess of the Blu-ray print, but it looked fine to me on my 720P HD cathode ray tube. This is a film that all vampire fans should own.
Collinson Twins, Playboy October 1970: