Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Trailer Tuesday: Sisters (1973)

Halloween is just around the corner!

Director: Brian DePalma.
Writer: Brian DePalma & Louisa Rosa.
Starring: Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt, Charles Durning, the always awesome Bill Finley.
Sound Track: Bernard Herrmann.

With the film SISTERS (2015) on video, I thought we'd look at the original film from 1973... oh, wait, it *wasn't* a remake of the 1973 movie? Then why the hell didn't they come up with a different title so people wouldn't confuse the two movies? Well, hell - here's the Trailer Tuesday for SISTERS anyway...

Brian DePalma is one of my favorite directors, and not just because he does a great job of imitating Hitchcock - I love his comedies like HI MOM! and HOME MOVIES... and his dramas like CASUALTIES OF WAR. Though he makes a mis-step or two, he's always interesting and has done some amazing visual experiments - he's the king of split screen. My favorite faux Hitchcock film of his is OBSESSION, but his film SISTERS is creepy and has enough jump moments to keep you above your seat when you aren't on the edge of it.

We basically have the old "Two sisters: One Good, One Evil" - but this time they have a deeper connection. They were conjoined twins. Danielle and Dominique. The problem is - which one is this? The nice one, or the psycho? The movie opens with a Candid Camera type TV show where a guy in the men's locker room at a gym sees a hot blind girl come in and start taking off her clothes. How long before he tells her she's in the wrong locker room? After the episode is over, the guy and the girl hook up - she's Danielle (an actress who can see) and she lives in a NYC apartment with her sister Dominique. They go back to her place, her sister is out, and make love. The next morning, the guy discovers that today is Danielle's birthday... goes out and buys a cake... but when he comes back, runs into Dominique...

The scene ends with him writing Help Me on the window in his blood, and reporter Jennifer Salt sees it and calls the police. Dominique splits, leaving Danielle with the dead guy. Great split screen sequence where Danielle's ex-husband (Bill Phantom Of The Paradise Finley) is trying to clean up the blood and dispose of the body on one side while Jennifer Salt is leading the police up to the apartment on the other side. Instead of cross cutting for suspense, our eyes do the cutting as we look back and forth between the two sides of the screen. This is split screen used to tell the story - not as a gimmick.

The great thing about this film is that it's PSYCHO and REAR WINDOW and FREAKS and EYES WITHOUT A FACE and several other flicks all put into a blender and turned into one seamless story that never seems like it rips off a specific movie. The ending is in a mega-spooky metal institution - and is ultra-creepy.

The Crazy Dream Sequence From Sisters.

Music by Bernard Herrmann, who did so many great scores for Hitchcock. DePalma uses all of *his* stock company of actors, from Jennifer Salt to Bill Finley to Charles Durning - the only guy who doesn't show up is DePalma discovery Robert DeNiro. One of the great things in the end is when Jennifer Salt is attached to Dominique in a FREAKS inspired scene... so there's kind of a PERSONA reference going on there as well. This was a drive in movie that did really well and put DePalma back on the map after GET TO KNOW YOUR RABBIT flopped big time, and though it was schlock horror back then, today it's a Critereon DVD with a bunch of extras. The music is creepy enough to give you nightmares! And a textbook on how to use split screen. You'll never sit on a sofa bed again.

- Bill

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