Top positive review
19 people found this helpful
Hammers Vampire Holy Grail Part 2
on July 19, 2012
When Synapse Films announced that they would be releasing the Hammer Films which I always eluded to as the elusive three, I had great reservations. The titles were only available on Japanese Laser Discs and were promised to be released many times over the years. Anchor Bay Entertainment released many of the 20th Century Fox titles, Warner Home video and Universal Pictures released their output, Paramount sporadically released a handful and finally Sony/Columbia released their titles. But what about 'VAMPIRE CIRCUS', 'TWINS OF EVIL' and 'HANDS OF THE RIPPER'? 'THE VAMPIRE LOVERS' and 'COUNTESS DRACULA' were released by MGM as part of their Midnight Madness series and finally Synapse took up the gauntlet and came through with the DVD/BLU-RAY release of Director Robert Young's 'VAMPIRE CIRCUS'-1972 last year. It was an incredible set which destroyed my doubt about their announcement of the other titles. Now they have come through with their promise once again with Director John Hough's 'TWINS OF EVIL'- 1971, a prequel to the Mircalla Karnstein characters derived from screenwriter Tudor Gates and a film in Hammer's horror canon that was severely butchered by Universal Pictures when released in the US making it look like a costume picture peppered with the occult resembling Director Michael Reeve's 'WITCHFINDER GENERAL' aka 'THE CONQUEROR WORM'-1968 and a few fangs showing up amongst the characters. Synapse has gone back to the original negative released by the Rank Organization in a gorgeous high definition transfer and restored the film to its erotically bloody glory. After over 40 years, the film shows why any release by Hammer was an anticipated event at that time. The film has also one of actor Peter Cushing's greatest performances as the tortured Gustav Weil who appeared in the film after the death of his beloved wife, Helen. It is an astonishing characterization and he incinerates the screen every time he appears. There is also an appearance from past vampire femme fatale Isobel Black who erotically charged another Hammer opus, Director Don Sharp's 'KISS OF THE VAMPIRE'-1964' which also deals with a vampire cult. The highlight of the set is an excellent documentary called 'THE FLESH AND THE FURY: X-POSING TWINS OF EVIL' clocking in at over 85 minutes and gives you the history of Author Sheridan LeFanu's character Carmilla and how Hammer adapted the character within their trilogy of films. It explains everything about the state of eroticism and horror of that period with interviews with many top horror writers and critics and we also have interviews with Director John Hough and actor Damian Thomas who played Count Karnstein. There is also an extra on the rescued props from Hammer sets by Mr. Wayne Kinsey from his personal collection , a deleted scene which should have been deleted, two theatrical trailers including the double feature with 'HANDS OF THE RIPPER', and a stills gallery. Synapse promises the release of 'RIPPER' next year and also a BLU-RAY release of Director Peter Sasdy's 'COUNTESS DRACULA'-1970(will it contain a longer version?). Every Hammer Horror fan living or undead deserve to have this in their collections. Bravo, Synapse.