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Twins of Evil... with additions
on 12 October 2011
Twins of Evil is the third film, produced by Hammer Films, in the Karnstein Trilogy, and arguably the best of the three. The film was a prequel to The Vampire Lovers and Lust For A Vampire and is set in Styria towards the end of the 1700's. The plot involves a battle between good and evil involving the fanatical puritan witch hunters, known as The Brotherhood, and Count Karnstein, the last of the corrupt and vampiric Karnstein family. I use the term good loosley, as the the Brotherhood are, in essence, as evil as Count Karnstein, hunting down and burning innocent young women in their maniacal and misguided quest to rid the locality of suspected witches and devil worshippers. The Brotherhood are led by Gustav Weil (pronounced Vile, with good reason), a religious zealot, in to whose life come his identical twin nieces, the soft and loving Maria and the feisty and dangerous Frieda. Frieda's love of danger eventually brings her in to direct contact with Count Karnstein, setting off a train of events that can only end in tragedy and death for all those involved.
Shaun Hutson has made a solid job of adapting the film in to a novel, adding and extending scenes and fleshing out characters not seen in the original movie. I would have given the book 5 stars if it was not for, in my opinion, a serious error of Hutson's, by including chapters that incoporate characters from several other Hammer vampire films, whose own storylines take place over a hundred years after the events in Twins of Evil. He also briefly skits over the storylines of The Vampire Lovers and Lust For A Vampire, but has altered their timeline and sequence. Was it necessary to do this? His introduction to the book states that he is a fan of Hammer films, but he has clearly not done his homework.
For those who have never seen Twins of Evil or the other films, it will probably make no difference, but to Hammer fans such as myself, who will recognise the characters I have mentioned, it seems a shame that an author, such as Hutson, should stoop to "lifting" characters from other classic Hammer films and liberally scatter them in to the storyline, rather than just create original scenarios from his own prolific and fertile imagination.