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Showing 1-10 of 54 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 77 reviews
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.
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on October 29, 2013
Lost of Hammer classic TWINS OF EVIL
has been reissued on blu-ray for first time ever by Synapse films
Synapse have given the film a new 1080p HD transfer in 1:66:1 ratio actually
which was the films original Theatrical presentation way back in 1971
Synapse have made alot of effort cleaning up the picture quality not much Grain or dirt
very nice sharp & clear picture much better quality than the old dvd version that's for sure
now the ratio on the back cover is 1:66:1 so i thought there would be maybe 1inch Pillars
on either side of my widescreen TV
but very surprisingly there wasn't the film appears to look like 1:85:1 ratio to me it fills up my whole widescreen TV
the sound quality is only Master audio 2.0 stereo mix which does sound very Good
there's all New special features which is the Highlight in my opinion
a brand new Documentary THE FLESH AND THE FURY
about the making of Twins of Evil goes for 84mins
the first 30 or so mins talks about Hammer's takeover with new Producers Harry fine/Michael style etc
so about 40mins into the Doco the Twins of Evil retrospective starts
this Includes new current interviews with Director John Hough, Director Joe Dante
and Actor Damien Thomas who played Count Karnstein plus other Hammer film Historians
the Collinson twins are not interviewed thou
apparently when Synapse contacted them in London for new interview for this blu-ray reissue
the Twins asked them for alot of money about 1000 pounds to be interviewed about their roles in Twins of evil
way more than what Synapse was prepared to pay them just for new interview
cause according to the Twins they didn't think much of the film
to them the role was just another paying part, just another paying Job that's all
they didn't think anything special about it
so ofcourse Synapse declined so that's why the Twins are not interviewed, tragic really
the Documentary reveals the Casting, Locations, special effects, the Music for the film
very interesting Documentary
another Featurette THE PROPS THAT HAMMER BUILT which is interesting
there's also Photo Still Gallery that's never been seen, 1 Deleted scene
plus Trailer and TV spots
this new blu-ray is definitely worth buying for the new transfer & new extras
5 stars for sure worth buying.
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on July 26, 2013
The Hammer film from 1971 stars the Collinson twins, also known to many of us as Playboy Centerfold Misses Octobor from 1970, a couple of twins from Malta. The plot is simple. Peter Cushing is part of the Brotherhood, a group of puritans who think it their duty to burn sexy, young, innocent women - I mean witches - at the stake. The more people die from vampire attacks or go missing the more women they kill in fear - without any proof that those women are evil or even bad tempered. Of course this is a Hammer Film so all the women are lovely, that sexy-cute kind of look that would make men and women drool. Don't forget outfits that make you remember they are female.
You start to wonder who the bad guys are as you can't really think of the Brotherhood as the Heroes. The funny thing is the Count, played by Damien Thomas, becomes a vampire after the movie has already started. Which brings up the point - who was killing people BEFORE he turned into one of the undead? By the way, this actor would also appear in Shogun, Blakes 7, and A.D. so keep an eye out for him! Oh, and be on the look out for Kathleen Byron - she was one of my favorite actresses in Black Narcissus. She plays the wife of Cushing's character.
The story seems to focus more on Cushing's character, which does give it that realistic twist, a flawed man trying to be a good man. The twins do a very good job for their first film - and as far as I know their last. One is turned into a vampire and the other falls in love. In other words, the good twin and the bad twin. This IS kind of funny as in real life the two twins had different educations - one went to a commercial college and one went to a convent!
Of course things sometimes get a tad silly, such as when the Count tries to switch the girls to save the one who is a vampire - his plan almost works.
The settings are wonderful - Hammer films could always find a good castle - and the outfits are also delightful. The whole atmosphere is dark and thrilling and it seems that the Count, even as a vampire, can move around during the day. Thank you Hammer for getting that RIGHT!
This Portuguese Edition is 83 minutes long, in color, and still in English so don't worry. Sadly, unlike most DVDs with Hammer films, there are no fun extras. I got this edition because I could not find one cheaper and only wanted THIS movie but now I believe there are more available so I would suggest shopping around for the edition you want. Sometimes the movie will be part of a bigger collection so it really depends on if you just want this film or are looking for a bunch of Hammer Horror films. Enjoy!
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on August 22, 2012
Synapse Films, as promised, has produced another in their stellar Blu-ray/DVD Combo sets of rare Hammer product as they had last year with "Vampire Circus." They had promised us presentations of "Twins of Evil," the final installment of Hammer's Karnstein trilogy, and soon to come now, "Hands of the Ripper" and also "Countess Dracula" (which may be a hard sell as it was rather recently, but now going out-of-print, of the Mid-nite Double Feature with "The Vampire Lovers" and may prevent buyers from getting the great bonus features and extremely beautiful Blu-rays of a Synapse version). I've noticed a new edition of the second of the Karnstein trilogy, "Lust for a Vampire" available in a rather pricey DVD presentation out now and have pulled the plug. I have always, after reading John Fowles's "The Collector" and seen how collecting can be seen as a preoccupation with death and "Lust for a Vampire" has always been trashed as a poor entry for Hammer and the additions to the trilogy beyond the first, "The Vampire Lovers" as being associated with Sheridan Le Fanu's classic "Carmilla" as barely palatable, and especially with "Twins of Evil" to be exploitative as "Carmilla" in its story is merely a plot device and the use of the "Karnstein" name. "Twins of Evil" also came about specifically because Hammer, growing used in the early seventies to using nudity and presenting insight of the dual relaxed morality of the Victorian era in their dwindling popularity in the times of the early seventies, decided to feature twin Playboy playmates, the Collinson twins, Mary and Madeleine, as the latest titillation in a vampire film. "Twins of Evil" is pretty good, with a duality in its plot combining the witch hunt violence popularized by AIP's "Witchfinder General" (AKA: "The Conqueror Worm") starring Vincent Price and vampire horror with, of course, the obvious duality of a good twin and a bad twin, but neither Collinson was much of a actress and there are many dual-conflicted scenes where it is a question of believability in a scene due to the quality of their acting. "Lust for a Vampire," apparently whose only plus is that it is a requisite as part of a trilogy is reportedly that bad. So, I refuse to buy it at this writing. The sins of collecting have bothered me before in the past and later I overrode my decisions, but by collecting Hammer films, one already has a predilection for a lot of bad cinema. And to decide to go with the trend appears not so menacing when one looks at film-making today and the truly terrible A-list film-making, and the pleasures of Hammer as classics become acceptable. Peter Cushing in the Vincent Price role of the witchfinder general is excellent. Tudor Gates has written an otherwise great screenplay. A lot of the questionable taste added to the production are owed to its producers, the showman team of Harry Fine and Michael Style. John Hough, new to Hammer, directed well. He later directed Disney's "Escape to Witch Mountain" and "Watcher in the Woods." Also starring Dennis Price, Damien Thomas (then touted as a fledgling upcoming star of evil) and David Warbeck ("The Beyond") in a well-played earlier role as the love interest for the twins. Originally released by Universal on a double-bill with "Hands of the Ripper." Two "classics" in one. Who would have thought?

P.S.: January is usually a slow month and I felt deprived of seeing the 2nd of the "Karnstein" trilogy, so I relented and bought "Lust for a Vampire." 1/13. Read my review.
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on May 17, 2015
One of the better newer style vampire movies. Peter Cushing does a great job as the strict Puritan witch hunter who sees evil everywhere but in the right place. Left alone. he and his band of loons will rid the village of attractive young girls. Acting is solid and convincing.The twins do a great job as the good and bad sisters and the rest of the cast is solid as well. This is a multiple watch film if you are a vamp fan.
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on February 9, 2017
If you love Peter Cushing, it's a must watch. It commits pretty much every exploitative sin of mid-century Hammer Horror - nudity, female terror, the virgin/whore dichotomy, people who just don't talk to each other - plus a new one: there's finally a black supporting character! But he's a mute who only grunts. Bummer. Still, Cushing commits to his role (even when he has to scream the title of the film) and even conveys some emotional growth in the 3rd act. The bad guy looks like Jimmy Fallon and Gaston had a baby.
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on July 25, 2012
Lust for a Vampire (Hammer's follow up to The Vampire Lovers - good gothic horror film) I did not like and so when the third film Twins of Evil came out I completely ignored it, and never watched it on VHS either. Bad decision! Twins of Evil is an excellent gothic horror film; atmospheric, great performances, multi-dimensional characters and story. You won't find simple "good guys/bad guys" here. Author Bruce Hallenbeck writes: "The evolution of the Hammer vampire had entered a new phase; in the previous films there was never any question as to who was good and who was evil. By the time of Taste the Blood of Dracula the theme of hypocrisy had introduced a disturbing shade of grey, with upright Victorian 'gents' frequenting brothels and participating in devilish rites while maintaining a veneer of respectability. But nowhere in the Hammer canon is this creeping sense of moral ambiguity made more apparent than in Twins of Evil." This ambiquity makes for a very interesting story, and when you couple that with great photography & sets, director John Hough created a winner!
My one and only complaint is the portion of the music score that accompanies the witch hunting "brotherhood" when they are on horseback. The composer admits he always wanted to do a western, and saw this as his opportunity to include that brand of music, which to me does not work. But the rest of the music is fine, and everything else about this film I really like. Love Peter Cushing's performance. Great job Synapse. Recommended.
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on August 11, 2012
At long last, TWINS OF EVIL is available in an attractive DVD/Blu Ray Combo pack. The folks who brought us the excellent VAMPIRE CIRCUS package have done it again! Once again the fine folks at Synapse Films have given a beloved genre classic the sort of careful attention and affection once reserved for a handful of art films under the Criterion banner. Although largely ignored and critically maligned at the time of its release, TWINS OF EVIL is one of the most interesting latter-day offerings from Britain's legendary Hammer films. Obviously inspired as much by the Vincent price shocker WITCHFINDER GENERAL (aka CONQUEROR WORM), TWINS OF EVIL stars the incredible Peter Cushing as a puritanical witch hunter who discovers his twin nieces (Mary and Madeline Collinson, the first twins to appear in PLAYBOY magazine)may be under the thrall of the hedonistic local aristocrat, Count Karnstein (Damien Thomas), who just so happens to be a member of the most notorious family of vampires in Europe (at least, the ones not named Dracula!). Synapse has provided a lovely, clean uncut print of John Hough's shocker; if you're only familiar with the muddy, sloppily edited black market versions of this film, you are in for a treat! And don't forget to check out the documentary on Hammer and exploitation cinema included on the disc--there are recreations of Sheridan Le Fanu's classic novella CARMILLA (the inspiration for a trio of Hammer Horrors, of which TWINS is the third installment) featuring the beautiful and talented actress Candace Cherie, who I am proud to number among my former film class students. I can't wait to see what Hammer Horror Synapse releases next!
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on December 29, 2014
Great storyline combining witch hunting and vampires. The girls are beautiful and the great Peter Cushing delivers his usual top notch performance. I love how Hammer tastefully ramped up the sexuality and blood/violence in its late 60s/early 70s films. Though in this movie, there is not a lot of skin, but the witch burnings are intense. I never knew about or saw this, back in the 70s. Thankful for all the great stuff being re-released on dvd.
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on February 28, 2015
Great later Hammer. Vampires yet again but also a fine witch hunt subplot. Cushing in his usual form, the twins are quite sexy. Title a bit misleading (only one is evil).
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