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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD region 0. Odeon.

It's always good to see obscure films getting a decent release, and so Goodbye Gemini, which has languished unseen in the UK since it's 1970 theatrical run, is a welcome sight. The film itself though is something of a mixed bag - too interesting to write off completely, yet never more than a curiosity.

The film tells the story of very unidentical twins Jacki (Judy Geeson) and Julian (Martin Potter), who turn up in London and soon find themselves caught up in a decadent, and decidedly gay, social scene headed by mutton-chopped sleazeball Clive (Alexis Kanner). Julian is none too happy with this - he's content to live in an enclosed and possibly incestuous relationship with his sister - and things get worse when Clive drags him along to a orgy with two hookers who turn out to be transvestites, photographs the proceedings and then threatens him with blackmail unless he turns rentboy to help clear Clive's debts with thuggish bookie Mike Platt. Things go wrong for Clive when the twins challenge him to a 'game' where he has to identify who is who while they dress in white sheets. Unable to tell (the eyes are a blatant giveaway) he's hacked to death with a sword. But by who?

Things get weird from this point on, as Julian disappears and Jacki is found wandering the streets by 'progressive' MP James Harrington-Smith (Michael Redgrave), unable to remember what has happened. As flashbacks start to reveal the truth, she heads off in search of her missing brother...

Goodbye Gemini seems unable to decide what it wants to be - hardly a horror film, it flips from a Cool It Carol-style look at innocents abroad through the twisted family sub-genre to the hipster cinema of the late Sixties, not really gelling as any. Kanner makes for a suitably loathsome villain, but the two leads make little impact and the story takes forever to get anywhere. Director Alan Gibson - best known for helming Hammer's two modern day Dracula films - directs in a flashy style, but there's precious little substance to the film.

As for the 'controversial' incest theme - well, it's handled so delicately that other than a couple of blink-and-you'll-miss-it scenes that hint at it, there's little here that you wouldn't find in any other creepy twin film.

The DVD is a mixed bag too. The print quality is not great - it generally looks 'soft' and some scenes have a weird blur that resembles watching a 3D film without glasses. There's a commentary with Geeson and producer Peter Snell that doesn't tell you much about the film, alongside interesting silent behind-the-scenes footage ad a trailer.

For completist British horror fans, this is worth picking up, but it's hardly a lost classic.






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