So the other day I ordered an autographed picture of the Soska Sisters. They’re in heels and black dresses, covered in blood spatter, one holding a chainsaw, the other a machete. Swoon. And at first, that made me think I should go ahead and review one of their movies. But whatever I choose, I’d have to rewatch it, and there just wasn’t time to do that before this post.
But a somewhat related idea occurred to me—twin movies. Not just any twin movies, but movies specifically with a twin who isn’t really there. Yes, yes, I’ve let the cat outta the bag pretty early here, so if you don’t want any of these movies spoilt for you, proceed no further. For the rest of you, here are 5 Twisted “Twin” Movies.
#5 Dead Ringer
I’ve mentioned this movie before, but it deserves a spot here as well. I’m starting with this one because it’s not exactly the traditionally delusional horror take on this idea that will come into its own starting in the 70s, but it still counts. Bette Davis plays twin sisters Margaret and Edith. Margaret is rich, Edith a bar owner, not so much, so Edith kills her sister and makes it look like Edith’s own suicide, then takes over Margaret’s life. Almost immediately the plan starts to come apart. Edith doesn’t know her way around Margaret’s estate, doesn’t know anything about Margaret’s routines, and just generally doesn’t behave like Margaret. I won’t give away the ending because it’s oh so satisfying.
#4 April Fool’s Day
Also not the traditional nonexistent evil twin story it turns out. Muffy St. John (sheesh, what a name) hosts a spring break get together at the family manse. In stereotypical slasher fashion, people start getting offed by Muffy’s homicidal twin, Buffy who is masquerading as the supposedly murdered Muffy. Yeah, the whole plot is a veritable fish tank of red herrings. Again, if you’re not familiar with this one, stop right here. See, Muffy’s a prankster and wants to turn the estate into a horror themed resort. Everything has been a setup, and there is no Buffy. It sounds way dumber than it actually is, and the movie is actually lotsa fun.
I love De Palma horror movies. They’re bananas, and to me they play like some of lesser known giallo flicks—stuff like The Red Queen Kills Seven Times or Eyeball or The Strange Vice Of Mrs. Wardh. Margot Kidder plays Danielle and Dominique Breton. Danielle meets a man through some, to be honest, rather contrived prank-based game show, and they end up back at Danielle’s apartment. The next morning, he’s fatally attacked by Dominique, and off we go. It’s an entertaining, compelling watch once you muscle past Margot Kidder’s, uh, interesting take on a French accent.
#2 Goodnight Mommy
This 2014 German horror is probably fairly familiar to lotsa people. Elias and Lukas Schwarz play Elias and Lukas. There’s a lot goin’ on here, not the least of which is the evil but actually dead twin problem. See, Elias and Lukas’s mother has come home after having cosmetic surgery. Her face is bandaged initially, so the boys can’t see her face, but they soon start to suspect that this woman is not their mother. Lukas, the dead twin, in particular makes numerous observations about this woman’s behavior as being things their mother would never do. So there’s some twisted fairy tale changeling/dark mother stuff at work here (hell even the house is isolated out in a woodsy lakeside setting). It’s that fairy tale aspect that I guess explains, but not in a satisfactory way, the movie’s seemingly out of place supernatural elements.
#1 The Other
Not the best movie on the list, not by a longshot, but definitely my favorite and definitely creepy as all get out. That’s at least in part due to nostalgia. I read the Tom Tryon novel in high school and rented the movie soon after on VHS. These were my first exposures to the dead twin concept, and I. Ate. It. Up. Niles and Holland Perry live an idyllic life on the family farm. Things are more or less fine except for a few pesky little details. One, Niles is practically angelic whilst Holland is a sociopath. Two, “they” spend an unhealthy amount of time in the apple cellar which is supposed to be off limits since their father’s death earlier that year. Three, Holland is in fact dead. The novel was pretty chilling, and man oh man did some of it translate into some wince-inducing film. There’s a scene involving a pitchfork that, despite the result taking place off camera, makes me wince even as I write this.
So what did I miss? Any other deceased evil twins skulking around out there that I should be aware of? Let me know in the Comments.