Sunday, 1 August 2010

Goodbye Gemini (1970)

Goodbye Gemini is a wild psychedelic ride through Swinging 60s London. The ride is fueled by a shared madness rather than chemicals, but it still captures the spirit of its age. Not quite a horror movie, not in a conventional sense anyway, although it was certainly promoted as such.

Jacki and Julian are twins. They’re young, beautiful and sexy. Everyone wants to be seen with the twins. Everyone wants to sleep with one or other of the twins, or both. Jacki and Julian have always had a kind of Us Against the World attitude. They don’t really trust anyone else, apart from Agamemnon. Agamemnon is their teddy bear, but he’s very wise. The twins think he’s wise anyway.

Clive has now entered their enclosed little world. Clive is obviously bisexual and is obviously sexually attracted to both twins. Jacki is happy enough to welcome him to her bed, but Julian isn’t pleased. You see Julian thinks that anyone else entering their world spoils things. It should be just the two of them, brother and sister. They’re certainly very close, but Julian clearly woyld like them to be even closer. Judging from the way he watches her when she’s naked he’d like them to be very close indeed.

Julian does however condescend to spend time with Clive. Clive owes money to a local heavy and he has an idea he might be able to blackmail Julian. He gets Julian very drunk and Julian finds himself in a bedroom with two very friendly girls. Only these girls are actually boys. Julian is too drunk and too naïve to realise this before it’s too late.

Julian is somewhat confused about sexuality in general and his shock triggers off a cataclysmic act of violence that threatens to destroy the twins’ world.

Although as far as Julian is concerned the event that really triggered the crisis was Jacki’s rejection of his sexual advances. If only she’d slept with him everything would still be perfect, or at least that’s how he sees things.

Judy Geeson and Martin Potter are wonderful as the twins, bringing a disturbing combination of innocence, out-of-control sexuality and depravity to their performances. Michael Redgrave plays an MP who befriends Jacki. It’s not one of his great performances but he’s still effective. He turns out to be not at all what you expect his character is going to be. Alexis Kanner is nicely sleazy as Clive.

This is, as Judy Geeson points out on the accompanying commentary track, a movie that could probably not get made in the much more repressive sexual climate of today. There’s certainly no hedging when it comes to tackling the incest theme but in fact it deals with the issue intelligently and sensitively. Despite the subject matter and the nudity the film does not have a sleazy feel to it.

There’s some nice location photography that captures the magic of London in 1970. Director Alan Gibson went on to helm a number of unjustly maligned horror movies for Hammer.

The Odeon Region 0 PAL DVD release is relatively inexpensive, it looks good and includes some worthwhile extras.

If you’re a fan of horror with a psychedelic tinge, or of the whole Swinging 60s thing, you’ll definitely want to see this on. And if you’re a fan of offbeat horror in general it’s worth getting hold of. Recommended.

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