Goodbye Gemini (1970)

MAY 1, 2010


Sometimes I think they just call a movie a horror movie because it’s a better fit than any other genre. Goodbye Gemini (aka Twinsanity) could never be considered a Western, for example. But just listen to this plot description: “Two 20 year old twins have a bizarre incestuous relationship. Julian and his sister Jacki carry on the affair and only reveal their secrets to a stuffed teddy bear named Agamemnon. While their father is absent, they murder the housekeeper and run wild at night. Drugged out parties with transvestites and homosexuals leads to blackmail, debauchery, and murder. Julian soon finds himself unable to escape the dark and strange world and finds his fantasies have becomes his worst nightmares."

Horrible grammar and redundancies aside (Oh, two twins? I thought there were seven twins. Thank for you for clarifying), it sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, the incest thing is just shy of a complete lie - there is no affair, but rather the brother wants her for himself and occasionally tries to kiss her, which she never allows. Not much of an affair, right? Also, THEY don’t kill the housekeeper - HE does. In fact, the sister is curiously absent from the scene, and the housekeeper character is never mentioned again, so the whole thing is just a complete waste of film. Not only is it without any consequences, it also makes what should be a shocking moment later on in the film feel a bit anticlimactic, as we know that Julian is capable of murder. And poor Agamemnon gets phased out as the film goes on, so he doesn’t get to hear about their final adventures.

In fact, the biggest problem with the film is that it starts weird and gradually gets more normal, with the third act being a fairly dull drama more than anything else. After the big murder, Julian disappears from the movie entirely (Hey! I thought his fantasies were supposed to be becoming his nightmares!) until the final scene, and Jacki just sort of hangs out “in hiding” with a slumming Michael Redgrave. No bear, no trannies, no debauchery... just a lot of hanging out in hotel rooms and such. This is no way to end a movie that features a teddy bear named Agamemnon!

When it’s being weird it’s kind of fun (and certainly different), however. The murder scene is a particular “whaaaa?” moment, as they cut sheets with swords to make full body coverings, and the sister stands on a cushion so that the intended victim won’t know which one is which from the height (I guess they hope he doesn’t look too closely at their eyes). And any movie in which a guy is threatened with blackmail via photos of him being more or less raped by transvestites can’t be altogether bad.

It’s based on a book, so I am curious if the book had more weird shit that they didn’t think would fly in a film. On the commentary, with Judy Geeson (Jacki) and producer Peter Snell, they discuss how incest was frowned upon in films back then (as opposed to today where its encouraged?), so maybe these elements were toned down (or really, removed entirely) and thus other stuff had to go with it. The commentary is a bit dry; they talk a lot about how difficult it is to get a movie made, and compare it to the horror films of today (and I mean TODAY, it was recorded fairly recently, as they discuss Sorority Row and Halloween II being in theaters), and actress Helena Bonham Carter for some reason. They also just sort of watch the movie a few times, so I eventually tuned it out for the most part after a while. The trailer, which tries really hard to make it look like a swingin’ giallo, is also included. All in all, a somewhat satisfactory package for a somewhat satisfactory movie.

P.S. I bet the bear from The Pit would kick Agamemnon’s ass.

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. I love 70s British horror, but this one sounds even more demented than some of them. The problem is they can make them feel creepy with weird characters and atmosphere but they play lightly with the horror element. If they could make horror again with the feel of the old Hammer flicks but make them more terrifying, they'd be my new "Hollywood."


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