Twins of Evil (1971)

Twins of Evil (1971)

“They are all slaves to Count Karnstein — and he is their evil master!”

A recently orphaned set of identical twins — timid Maria (Mary Collinson) and adventurous Frieda (Madeleine Collinson) — come to live with their kind aunt (Kathleen Byron) and puritanical uncle (Peter Cushing), who leads a viciously ruthless brotherhood of witchhunters. When Frieda becomes enamored by Count Karnstein (Damien Thomas) — a hedonistic vampire who has recently resurrected Carmilla (Katya Wyeth) from her coffin — she becomes her uncle’s newest target; meanwhile, Mary falls for a visiting schoolteacher (David Warbeck) who is confused about which twin he longs for.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Horror
  • Morality Police
  • Peter Cushing Films
  • Twins
  • Vampires

Following The Vampire Lovers (1970) and Lust for a Vampire (1971), Twins of Evil was the third and final installment in Hammer Studios’ “Karnstein trilogy”, and is primarily notable as the first movie to feature twin Playboy centerfolds (!). The Collinson sisters — while not great actors — are pretty, charming, and do a decent job embodying facets of “good and evil” in one visage (much like Olivia De Haviland in The Dark Mirror).

Meanwhile, Cushing has never been more sober or skeletal:

and Thomas is effectively sociopathic as a playboy count with truly sadistic tastes.

Given its atmospheric sets and fine cinematography, Twins of Evil will certainly appeal to fans of period horror flicks, though the script fails to elevate the material above predictable fare with plenty of gaps in logic. Watch the extended documentary The Flesh and the Fury: X-posing Twins of Evil (2012) for more background information than you ever thought possible about this cult flick (and its two predecessors).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Dick Bush’s cinematography

  • Atmospheric sets and direction

Must See?
No, though it’s certainly worth a look for its cult status.


2 thoughts on “Twins of Evil (1971)

  1. Not must-see.

    It’s true that the addition of the Collinson sisters makes for a diverting novelty act for the plot but I’m in agreement that this hybrid of vampire/witch hunt tale is otherwise predictable – even leaning toward dull (though the fierce, over-compensating film score attempts to cover those facts).

    Poor Peter Cushing. A few years earlier, in Michael Reeves’ ‘Witchfinder General’, Vincent Price more or less took the crown for typifying what Cushing plays here. Of course, VP had a much better script (and role) to work with; PC labors under tepid material.

  2. Love this one; far and away the best of the Karnstein trilogy, a series that got progressively better with each film.

    The sequence started with the static and coy The Vampire Lovers (1970) followed by the trashy but fun Lust for a Vampire (1970) and the this film which is set a slightly earlier period to the other two which were set in the 1820s-30s. Great score by Harry Robertson who also scored the other two.

    Damien Thomas is wonderful as the florid, flamboyant pleasure seeking aristo who wants to be a vampire. Cushing is equally good as another villain; a religious nutter, a treat bible bashed who burns pretty, single women. David Warbeck is acceptable but not given much to do as the handsome lead.

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