A film can be too damned weird. Slightly earlier than Brannigan (1975) in Judy Geeson‘s charming of my generation of chaps, there came a film that gouged an unpleasant, cultish, wildly of-its-time (post ’60s glam falls dignity-first into early ’70s sleaze) hole in her career. Arguably it led to the 1981 joy that wasn’t Inseminoid in much the same way as killing Bambi’s mum in a previous life made Nurse Stabby Fingers the petty minded dominatrix of B Wing. Old Jack here saw Michael Redgrave‘s name in the credits and thought there may be a bit of senior solipsism on the way…there wasn’t. For in this Age of Aquarius, it was time for some nasty twins and Goodbye Gemini.
If you enjoyed The Prisoner in the 1960s, the shine of The Avengers (Steed and co – in colour), and the creepy weirdness of that quiet man three doors down who mumbles and won’t look you in the eye, then this film is for you. Be aware, however, that it is shiny, creepy stuff. There’s a dash of Harold and Maude (1971) in the weirdness, but with incest between pretty-twins that you should know about upfront. What with the telly offering many many more pleasant experiences, you may prefer to hunt down Fred Dinenage‘s latest work before testing your patience with 1970 sleazebaggery.
The plot: two nasty twins arrive in London, kill, meet a blackmailing tosser, get pursued and / or raped whilst playing with sibling sexuality, kill some more, bump into old souls on boat parties, kill… There’s other stuff, not least the music, but you’ll be flinching and holding back the bile too much to enjoy the spaces where the joy could have been.
The first kill is of the housekeeper in their town house, their teddy placed on the stairs to trip her to her death. If they weren’t cavorting joyously in that freaky-dangerous way, this may have laid down a sense of cunning. Instead, it does the Bonnie & Clyde thing and makes you pissed off at the young. Said housekeeper is the redoubtable Daphne Heard, a few years shy of To The Manor Born and a Czech accent to die for.
Alexis Kanner is the creep who takes the twins into the London party life. A fascinating, intense presence in anything he did, Kanner makes for some entertaining moments of selfishness and flamboyance. His presence takes Redgrave – already a dash fuddy-duddy and creepy around the beautiful Geeson – into past-it-Pops territory. Pitiable, but essentially unpleasant and not great to watch.
The sexual blur of the film is the toughest thing to endure. From the twins push-me-pull-you relationship, to the pub stripper with a surprise, to the horrible fate the boy twin faces with transvestites in a back room. Layered with more yuk by Kanner and a camera, it’s all an onslaught of horrible trendiness, like some kind of hippyish revenge on tutting oldsters.
Geeson is the girl twin, Martin Potter the boy twin. Where she carries a lucid lightness to her, he has the weight of his desires and the slop-bucket in his soul. Competent both, but skipping through material that may be drama, may be horror, but is neither nice nor watchable.
Old Jack here normally delights in films acting as recorded history, stuffed with character actors in their Sunday best. Freddie Jones middle-age-sweats his way through some scenes here, counterpointed by the ever noble-with-a-glint Peter Jeffrey, but…nothing gets better or easier to watch The twins descend into weird religiosity and hack and slash games until your patience and the credits flail out of sight.
A film to make you angry for what it could have been.