The Other (1972)

Twins are a biological anomaly that has always been a subject of interest to fans of pornography, pulp fiction and tales from Bizzarro World. I’m not talking about the oh so average fraternal kind (think The Governator and Devito in that film, what was it called …), I’m talking about the identical and extremely unsettling Mary Kate and Ashley kind, that make teen romance movies, wear hipster glasses, and seem to be fracking everywhere – I mean, at least those chicks from Sister Sister went away.
My point being, meandering as it is, is that two of something isn’t always a good thing, and its no small mercy that there is only one Beiber.

One Beiber, one bullet, after all.

Scientists have always been intrigued by the supposed psychic bonds that can occur when one cell goes splitville forcing a happy couple to go out and buy two of everything, and have been conducting research that has consisted of anything from surveys to torture since the first mommy produced a two for the price of one. Secret languages, ESP, and that Children of the damned type similarity, has proved that sometimes, some things just have to remain a mystery.

No matter how many electrodes are attached to your body.

Based on the truly underrated novel by Thomas Tryon, The Other is the story of mirror image siblings living on a scarily Walton-esque farmstead in rural America. Holland and Niles have a favourite game their Grandmother Ida has taught them, that isn’t so much cowboys and injuns, as psychically entering the mind of just about anyone or thing. Good old fashioned family fun huh? Holland isn’t exactly the sort of child you’d want to play that sort of game with, and when he gets annoyed, there seems to be a coincidentally large amount of accidents happen to people that he doesn’t like, that frankly should have been looked into a hell of a lot sooner than it is (but hey, what the hell do I know about parenting?).

It’s rare that a film can live up to the book it is based on, but given that the screen play was written by Tryon himself, Robert Mulligan’s film may even surpass the original work in my opinion. Beautifully acted by the young Udvarnoky brothers, who disappeared back into obscurity with the rolling of the credits, yet brought a purity and genuine quality to roles that would have been lost on stage school brats. Relentlessly foreboding and deliciously twisted, this is a film that draws you in from the very first scene, misdirecting you with such charm that the twist is like punch in the gut. Diet gore, with scares based on pure psychology, The Other is an overlooked horror classic that seems to only get better with age.

Oh and look out for a very young John Ritter in his movie debut.
RIP Brah.

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