Today I watched John Hough’s Twins of Evil (1971)
While I was quite hard on Lust for a Vampire, Twins of Evil finishes off the Karnstein trilogy in style. This film theoretically takes place some time before the first two as Karnstein Castle is still occupied by a young Count, but this Count has sold his soul to the devil. The film follows a pair of twins who have come to the lands around Karnstein Castle to live with their uncle Gustav, played by the incredible Peter Cushing. Gustav is a puritanical witch hunter, which puts the twins in an interesting position, pinned between the vampiric forces of Count Karnstein and the murderous witch burners.
The twin element is a lot of fun and the film takes it to a pretty dark place by the end. There is a significant atmosphere of distrust that builds up as the film goes on, the witch hunters and their methods alienate the populace and fills them with fear. This paranoia comes to a head when one of the twins is revealed to be evil while the other one is still good. The final act involves some very intelligent villainy that takes the twin concept and pushes it to a natural, yet disturbing conclusion which grants the flick a unique element that it rather needs.
With the exception of one particularly racist black manservant caricature, this is a rather entertaining film. It is almost entirely by the numbers with the exception of it’s blending of witch hunter themes and vampire film tropes and the twin element, but these things are used quite well. It has a solid cast headed by Cushing who brings his classic gravitas to elevate a fairly boiler plate script. There is not much else to say here as the film is rather simple and it focuses on it’s best qualities instead of over reaching itself. That being said it is consistently engaging and a lot of fun if you like classic Hammer horror. 3/5