Gail’s review published on Letterboxd:
Watched on Prime for Hooptober.
Watched on Thursday night, and I've been ruminating, trying to think what to say about it, and now it's after midnight Saturday, just into Sunday.
I randomly thought of this movie taking my older son to his evening activity on Friday--the scene where the aunt rebukes the uncle, Peter Cushing, about how trying to beat the devil out of his nieces may have actually beaten it into Frieda. ...and I just realized how odd it is that I connected those two things. I was kind of in a meditation on parental anxiety and the duty to master it as you acknowledge and adjust to your kid growing into his own person instead of making him stay dependent like a small child, even though loosening control and letting the kid do for himself opens the possibility of things going awry... and somehow my brain connected that to the character arc Peter Cushing went through. It was a nice bit of depth to a story that could've left Cushing as a tyrannical Puritan caricature burning all the single ladies. (...and there I go trying to dream up a parody of All the Single Ladies about the witch trials. Get down with your bad self, brain.)
It did seem super... unfair isn't even the right word, not big enough, but I can't think of the right word so unfair will have to do. It's super unfair that Cushing's character who is so sincerely dedicated to taking down all the devil in his community keeps going after the single ladies who live alone in the woods (which reminded me of Kuroneko, incidentally) instead of going after the Count who's basically like 'hey Burninator, I'm the Satanist you've been looking for.' On the subject of unfairness, the title seems unfair too. It is a quote at least. Maybe they thought 'Twins of Good and Evil' was too long, or too spoilery. Maybe it's just another 'poor Maria, always getting dragged into Frieda's mischief.' Frieda reminds me of Maria Bertram (said the Jane Austen nerd).
I wonder if Frieda would've turned out differently with a different sort of uncle. I also wonder if them dressing alike is what they both wanted or if it was part of Frieda's dominion over Maria. "Dress like me so you can cover for me at a moment's notice OR ELSE!!!" Possibly yes. There are certainly broad hints that being Frieda's twin isn't exactly the best ever for Maria. And then after a whole movie of 'they're so identical that nobody knows which one is which' the aunt, basically being like 'no, that's Maria, I can tell because she's not evil.'
The weirdest thing I loved about this movie was the random schoolteacher who seemed like a lost member of the Monkees telling the witch trial people 'no wait, guys, THIS is how you defeat vampires, it says so in my book!' The thing I loved that fit in best with the tone of the movie was the Count playing vampires so feline.