Review Date: February 1, 2010
Released by: Scorpion Releasing
Release date: 1/26/2010
Region 0, NTSC
Widescreen 1.78:1 | 16x9: Yes
Although Hammer started out making monster movies in the universal horror vein, they slowly evolved into making character driven horror often reflecting the values of the times. Part of this was a way to reach new youth audiences in lieu of a dwindling interest in Gothic horror, but an equal part seemed to be rooted into the pomp humanism that has come to define British film and television. The clash of old and new is most evident in Dracula AD 1972
before Hammer would go on to abandon Gothic altogether with psychological dramas like Straight on till Morning
. Before he made Dracula AD 1972
though, Alan Gibson made a mod British thriller of his own, the terrible twins flick Goodbye Gemini
. Scorpions got the rights, let's see if terror works better in twos.
Meet Julian (Martin Potter
, trying his best to look like David Hemmings) and Jacki (Judy Geeson
, later to star in Hammerís Fear in the Night
). A couple of giddy Aryan twins, they giggle and laugh as they bound up the stairs of their posh London flat. Moments later, Julian is stepping on their nanny's glasses and Jacki is setting her cotton bear on the top step of the staircase. A few seconds later the nanny trips and falls in a horrible accident. Coincidence it ain't, calculated it is, as the teen twins have more terror brooding than their innocent blond faces would reveal. Without guardian they quickly take up the swinging sixties nightlife, although that too is far from innocent.
At posh parties and bubbly bistros they meet an assortment of liberated characters, befriending first a Clive (Alexis Kanner
). It's friendship at first but jealously immediately sets in when Clive starts crushing on Jacki. More than just a protective brother, Julian exhibits a dangerous passion for his genetic half. He watches her change and even tries to do the clothing removal for her. She resists, and Julian finds himself in a web of sexual frustration that slowly starts to take him over. This, uh, climaxes, with a drug induced hotel room romp with a Jacki surrogate that turns out to be a man!
Julian is in shambles, and when Clive continues to threaten the relationship between the twins, they both devise a sacrifice to get him out of their lives for good. Draped in bedsheets that would make the KKK, John Carpenter and Alejandro Jodorowsky jealous, they send Clive to his maker. Judgment then comes to them as Scotland Yard rallies a manhunt to capture the two twin killers. They need a way out, and in Julianís mind love with set them freeÖ
Certainly a novelty in its odd tackling of incest in a somewhat serious and somber tone, Goodbye Gemini
is nevertheless a movie unsure of its focus. It seems to veer off in all directions, cashing in on popular films of the time rather than forging ahead with its controversial subject matter. On one hand itís playing suck and blow with Antonioni and his mod 60ís stylings of London, going for the woah man LSD atmosphere that made the scene such a visual staple in cinema of the time. An insanely bombastic opening number by The Peddlers, ďTell the World Weíre Not InĒ, certainly takes a few pages from Blow-Up
ís The Yardbirds and the ďloss for meaningĒ ennui so chic for the time is also in full force. Then, on the other hand, itís going for the star-crossed tragedy of youth thing that Franco Zeffireilli did with Romeo and Juliet
in 1968. That, and I guess itís supposed to be a horror movie, too.
Aside from the oddly ambiguous incest scenes, the truly horrific moment in the film is the murder depicted on the case and poster. Rightfully so, since the scene is certainly the standout in the film, shot with symmetry and cut like an art house picture, itís a wild bit of ritualistic sacrifice in an otherwise tame bordering on tepid film. Thereís visual flourish there, and in other sporadic moments throughout the film, which is no surprise given the quality behind the lens by the great Geoffrey Unsworth. Unsworth had just come off 2001
and would also work on Superman
, Polanskiís Tess
(for which he won his second Oscar) and another Scorpion title, Say Hello to Yesterday
. He lends some class to the production, although the acting and direction is also of a sophistication not often found in the genre.
But still, this movie is all over the place, poorly defining its supporting characters and worst of all failing to penetrate the mind of its female protagonist. Julian introduces some taboo topics and Clive certainly pushes her sexually too, but throughout the film you never penetrate past Geesonís good girl faÁade. Who does she want? What is all this drama doing to her? Whatís with the teddy? Jumping between genres and influences, the movie, like with its treatment of character, bites off more than it can chew. When we finally get to the downbeat ending, it seems more like a plot convenience than a conclusion. Itís based on the book ďAsk AgamemnonĒ by Jenni Hall, and I wonder if Hall pushed the darker themes to greater dramatic payoff in her novel. Here, they fawn interest but never entice with any sort of statement on the lines of lust and sexuality in the swinging sixties. As a film it may not be cohesive, but those more enthralled with the London cultural landscape than the faux-mystery of Blow-up will find a few nuggets of historical interest baked within the muddled story. Forget twins, thereís an octuplet of genres of directions
is anamorphic and progressive in 1.85:1, and while Scorpion has again done a nice job with the transfer, the print itself at times leaves more to be desired. There seems to always be a problem, whether itís the spotty dust and debris throughout or the occasional scene thatís much grainer than bookeneding scenes (and weíre not even talking optical effects here). Then thereís a sequence where the three-color emulsion seems to have lost conformity, giving a blurry bleed of greens and reds to all the edges. When these glitches arenít happening, though, itís a pretty satisfying transfer. Great color vivacity and a strong sharpness are present in most sequences. But then there will be the occasional film jitter or edge fading to once again distract from an otherwise nice transfer.
English mono is the flavor of the day here, but unlike Doctor Death
, this is a much cleaner mix, almost completely devoid of any hissing or background noise. Itís a solid mix, if understandably flat given the age of the picture. That super-catchy title track really bustles during the opening credits even with a relatively limited range.
Compared to previous Scorpion titles the extras here seemed separated at birth, but the few extras we did get are nothing to complain about. First is a buoyant commentary with actress Judy Geeson, producer Peter Snell and moderator Nathaniel Thompson. They talk for a good time about Helena Bonham Carter, as well as the state of horror today, previous films the lot have worked on, and even a Wicker Man
sequel in production. The participants donít necessarily remember ever facet of their varied careers, but Thompson certainly prods them enough to get the good info.
The only other extras are trailers, one for the film and then a number for other Cinerama pictures, all of which are the same as those found on their Doctor Death
Not quite stillborn, Goodbye Gemini unfortunately promises more than it can deliver, failing to dramatically explore the themes of blurred sexuality or violent revolt in sixties London, content instead to just take pages from influences like Blow-up
and Romeo and Juliet
. Itís made with a proficiency in all departments, and Scorpion does a similar job with the sharp visual transfer. With only a commentary and some trailers, this litter may be lean, but for genre fans looking for something new, Scorpion once again serves up another curiosity that probably had more influence on the seventies spate of Hammer flicks than it had any right to. If youíre looking for a trip through mod London, say hello to Goodbye
, but otherwise a rent might be best fit for Gemini
Movie - C+
Image Quality - B
Sound - B+
Supplements - B-
- Running time - 1 hour 30 minutes
- Rated R
- 1 Disc
- Chapter Stops
- English mono
- Commentary with actress Judy Geeson, producer Peter Snell and moderator Nathaniel Thompson
- Theatrical trailer
- Cinerama trailers