Hammer Horror had always been filled with as much T&A as there was crimson blood. But, as the 70s came, the British studio, which was the previous go-to for great horror thrills, found themselves struggling to keep up. Horror was slowly becoming less about monsters and ghosts, and more about creepy realism, with chainsaws and butcher knives and domestic demonic possessions.
In this third installment, Hammer tames down the lesbian love-making (only one scene, boo-hoo), but doubles the fun by casting Playboy's centerfold sensations, the Collinson Twins (Mary and Madeline) as the film's heroines.
Having been sent to stay with their puritanical uncle Gustav Weil (Peter Cushing), twins Maria and Freida (Mary and Madeline respectively) serve up the classic struggle between good and evil. Sweet Maria falls for the local teacher Anton (David Warbck), while lusty Freida gets horny for the local Satan worshiper Count Karstein (Damien Thomas). Naturally, Uncle Gustav has a little something to say about all of this, and gets all "I'm gonna start another witch-burning fire stack" on everyone.
Peter Cushing is always great, and rarely ever does better in his villainy suit than when he's playing Baron Frankenstein, but as Gustav Weil, Cushing hit's new levels of evil. As the creator of monstrous life in previous Hammer flicks, the Baron often felt misunderstood and villainized. His madness was a result of his being outlawed. In Twins, however, he plays a man on the side of God, who righteously strikes down anyone he and his "brotherhood" has determined to be evil (usually women of wanton ways). What is so catching about his Cushing's performance is not just the twisted zealousness, but the almost gleeful smirk he places on his power. He seems to be having as much fun playing the character as Gustav has in lighting young women on fire.
And big kudos got to Synapse Films -- for picking up the ball that Anchor Bay tossed up a few moons back. Synapse's DVD/Blu ray pack is packed with some great extras, including an 84 minute documentary on Hammer's Karstein Trilogy, a featurette on Hammer props, a deleted scene, originals trailers, and more.