Superb Late Period Hammer Gothic with Twin Vampiresses & Peter Cushing !!
"The Devil Has Sent Me Twins Of Evil !"
Following 1970's THE VAMPIRE LOVERS and 1971's problematic LUST FOR VAMPIRE, Hammer proved with TWINS that it could successfully take the expanded use of nudity and blood (TWINS is probably one of Hammer's bloodiest) and integrate them into a compelling story. Filmed partially at Pinewood Studios (on sets VAMPIRE CIRCUS would share the following year), it was directed by Hammer one and done John Hough (and in '74 would direct HELL HOUSE) and although marred by some dodgy day for night sequences it's beautifully shot by Dick Bush (THE BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW and DRACULA A.D. 1972).
Scripted by Tudor Gates, this like the previous two films in the series was nominally based upon Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu and like LOVERS and LUST doesn't follow and thematic chronology in the series (although there are a few hints concerning the timeline that TWINS might be looked upon as a prequel to the previous entries).
Later the Count while attempting some satanic rituals in his castle (along with his lackey played by Jess Franco regular Dennis Price) revives the vampire form of his deceased relative Mircalla (Kara Wyeth - who would show up in a couple of Monty Python sketches) and without much prodding she turns the Count into a vampire. Into this Gothic brew of witch burning and vampirism Weil's two orphan nieces Maria and Frieda (the Collionson twins) arrive to stay with him and his wife played by the great Kathleen Byron (best remembered as the insane nun from Michael Powell's BLACK NARCISSUS - and sadly not given much to do in her only Hammer outing). It's immediately shown that the newly arrived twins have two distinct personalities with Frida being the more rebellious one while Maria is the more wholesome one.
The film while presenting the vampires as supernatural forces of evil also shows Cushing and his followers to be almost as big threat to the community as the amount of lives bloodthirstily taken by them rivals that of the vampires. TWINS also downplays somewhat the lesbian vampire angle that permeated the first two films (although there is a breast biting sequence just for the heck of it) and as mentioned above the film while having some nudity doesn't present it as a the peep show that turned up in VAMPIRE LOVERS. The film is one of the more gorier in the Hammer cannon as the climax features beheading, an axe in the head and stakings along with some beautiful set design in the moss covered tombs and graveyards.
Cushing is really excellent here (this was the first film he did after the death of his wife) and brings a tremendous amount of pathos to a character that while blinded by religious furor and killing people as a result of his own twisted moral outrage is still somebody that we can find sympathy for. Whether shouting down his subordinates or spitting out evil incantations, Thomas gives his vampire's lines the authority of a Shakespearean actor. It's really hard to make any acting judgement about the Collinson twins as they were both dubbed, but they both seem to carry a blank expressionless look most of the time.