Twins of Evil is the third instalment of Hammer’s Karnstein Trilogy. This time the story is more concerned with Count Karnstein than with his ancestor, Mircalla, but the vampire maiden is briefly resurrected, so she can turn the count into the blood-sucking fiend that he so wants to be.
This is easily the most disappointing of the three films and even the presence of Peter Cushing does not breathe enough life into the story to make it much more than a film that you would watch if you had nothing better to do. Harvey Hall also has a role in Twins, he plays Franz and I am not sure if Harvey is unique in this, but he had a roll in all three films. In the original film, The Vampire Lovers, he played, manservant, Renton. Then in Lust For A Vampire, he was Inspector Heinrich. It is a little strange to see the same face popping up again and again in each film, but perhaps there was a shortage of fresh blood in the seventies. Who knows?
Cushing plays Gustav Weil, who probably doesn’t intend to be a bad man, but can hardly be seen as one of the good guys when he persists in burning innocent young maidens at the stake. Gustav leads a band of religious nuts called The Brotherhood who busy themselves with riding around and looking for wenches to accuse of witchcraft and various other unsavoury deeds. One such maiden lives alone in a cottage in the woods and the only thing that saves her from getting all hot and sticky amongst the flames is the fact that, when Gustav and his band of not so merry men arrive, she has already been getting hot and sticky with Count Karnstein. Gustav is a powerful man, but he does not have the same connections as the Count and, fearing Karnstein’s friends in high places, he is forced to take his men and leave.
Not long after this incident Gustav’s two nieces arrive to stay with him and his wife. The girls are twins and have come to Gustav because their parents are dead. The title of this film, by the way, is misleading, because they are not twins of evil. Only one of the girls—Frieda (Madelaine Collinson)—is evil her sister, Maria (Mary Collinson), is not; and she often finds herself taking the blame for her sister’s misdeeds. The poor girl probably has little choice in the matter either because her sister bullies her terribly.
At the beginning of the film the count is human, but he lives for evil and in a fit of boredom and desperation he scarifies a young girl to Satan and although the Dark Lord fails to put in a personal appearance, he does send someone else instead. Yes, you’ve guessed it, Mircalla (Katya Wyeth). She is only in the film for a couple of scenes as she first enjoys a bit of vampire loving with the Count and then gives him the mother of all hiccies ensuring that he gets exactly what he wants from the union: the gift of eternal damnation and a nice, new, pointy set of teeth.
With dark woods, drifting fog and lightning ripping open the sky above Karnetein Castle, Twins of Evil has a classic gothic horror feel, but apart from that, the film cannot boast anything special enough to set it apart from many other vampire films. If you have seen the first two instalments of the Karnstein Trilogy though, you may find it interesting to watch Twins just so that you can witness what happens when a good idea is stretched too far and milked to death. Fortunately, Hammer did not try and resurrect the idea for any further films, so Twins of Evil lays the Karnsteins to rest for good.