Directed by: Alan Gibson
Written by: Jenni Hall (novel) and Edmund Ward
Starring: Judy Geeson, Martin Potter, Alexis Kanner and Michael Redgrave
Reviewed by: Josh G.
Originally titled Goodbye Gemini, this British psycho drama was later renamed for its VHS release, under Twinsanity. Itís a much better name than its first, donít you think? Prism Entertainmentís video cover art for Twinsanity looks fresh, and considering I had never heard of it before, I was expecting, perhaps, some 1986 American possession flick. But, probably for the better, it was an early 70s look into the mind of the obsessed. Horror was present, but it wasnít the dominant feature, as story, characterization and very strong acting took over. At times touching, spooky, and sleazy, this under-appreciated thriller brings out some of the fun in early British cinema.
Jacki (Judy Geeson) and her younger twin brother Julian (Martin Potter) move to London with their stuffed teddy bear and matching yellow raincoats. But these two arenít what you expect...theyíre about twenty years old! Living in a bizarre world cut off from reality, they go with their bear to a nightclub, where they meet swingers Clive (Alexis Kanner) and his date Denise (Marion Diamond). Clive is a gambler in debt, and he plans to get the money through the twins, any way he can. At first he sweet talks Jacki, but the next day, his eyes are set on a drunken Julian. After getting Julian high on grass, he brings the young man to a hotel room, where two transvestites make love to him. Clive blackmails Julian with photos of the scandalous night into giving him some cash, but the secret cannot stay hidden any longer, and when Jacki finds out, the twins decide to kill Clive. Thereís a curse that plagues Jacki and Julianís close relationship, and itís called Twinsanity! Only now, the couple is on the run, and Jackiís mind haunts her of what she has done.
Without the powerful performances by the entire cast, especially the twins, this movie would not have been as effective as it was. The twins are like children: seemingly innocent, naive, and ruthless. Being based on a book definitely helped it to become more story oriented. You have the twinsí storyline, Cliveís troubles, a politician (Michael Redgrave) caught in the middle, and the queens who throw the parties, who are always asking about the twins. Jacki and Julian are so close, they depend on each other to move forward. Itís actually kind of sweet, in a weird way. Naturally, Jacki, being the older twin, wants to see other people at parties, and Julian is not a fan. He wants his sister all for himself. It turns out that Julian has a little crush on Jacki. He looks at her undressing, is very freely open with touching her with hugs, and actually attempts to make out with Jacki, in a scene which Jacki coldly turns him down. I think that sheís always known of his interest for her. She just doesnít take it as something strange, as most siblings would.
There is a lot of homoeroticism in Twinsanity, not to mention transvestite exploitation. At the nightclub, thereís a lady stripping on the barís counter, and when she takes off her shirt, sheís a he. Yep. The same thing similarly happens to Julian, when heís in the hotel room, and the ladies heís about to have sex with...have bristle and a flat chest. The movie almost makes this realization a terrifying moment for the viewing public, even though today (depending on who watches it of course) itíd seem both predictable and not too shocking. The gay aspect comes from Clive and his friends. When one of the queens tell Clive that heís picked up a nice pair (referring to the twins), he adds ďwhich one are you interested in?Ē But still, the film focuses on Jacki and Julianís relationship, and no, Julian doesnít turn out to be a gal, nor does Jacki turn out to be a guy. Although youíd almost expect it. The character of Denise is one who seems the most stable of anybody in this picture. She tries to help out the twins when she knows that Clive wants to blackmail Julian, and she has the knowledge of exactly what is going on at the current moment. Everyone else is oblivious to what others may be thinking.
So when does the horror start? About 55 minutes in, but thatís okay. The movie has been entertaining thus far in, so we forgive it, since it's so well acted. The twins plan the murder of Clive, and what they come up with is one of the best death scenes filmed in the 1970s. This is not because of the method. Itís because of the camera angles and imagery. Clive is blindfolded, brought into the twinsí house, and sat down in a chair. He thinks that they are playing a game with him, and when he takes off his blindfold, he laughs when he sees both siblings on either side of him, dressed up as ghosts in white blankets and eyes slits. In front of him, he sees a mirror and the teddy bear, with the dark room and candle lights adding atmosphere. Both twins raise up a knife, and plunge the blades into Cliveís neck, as the sparkle of the teddy bearís eyes stares onward at the scene. Itís fair in blood, but itís the idea of it all that is great. The teddy seems as though heís an actual person as well. From this point onward, Jacki is the only twin shown for about 20 minutes. We donít know where Julian runs off to, and neither does Jacki. She canít remember killing anyone, or being there at all!
Jacki takes her bloody ghost sheet to the waters and throws it out. A man sees her, and takes her to his place, thinking that she is lost. She goes with ease, but when she tries to fall asleep on his couch, the haunting visions of bloody knives and reflections prevent her from thinking straight. She returns to her house to find teddy all ripped to shreds and covered in blood. She doesnít know whatís going on! Why canít she remember? She sees a pile of bears at a shop, all identical to teddy, and her mind goes crazy! She must remember! And she must find Julian! The opening music, ďTell the World Weíre Not InĒ by The Peddlers is family friendly and fun. The scoring later pulses and at times is very tense. Twinsanity switches immensely in tone from beginning to end, and it takes the twins through a dirty ride thatíll change both of their lives forever. Not perfect, but luckily, made well and very creepy at times when itís not being a psychological thriller. Buy it!
*Now available on DVD through Scorpion Releasing.
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