May 24th, 2009

SISTERS (1973) ****

Margot Kidder is a cute French-Canadian model who meets a handsome dude while appearing on a Candid Camera style reality show.  He takes her out to dinner and that eventually leads her to bringing him home for a one-night stand.  Unfortunately, their lustful bliss is short lived when Kidder’s deranged Siamese twin shows up.


Brian DePalma has basically made an entire career out of ripping off Alfred Hitchcock but this was his first and best attempt at cribbing from The Master.  DePalma’s main influence is Psycho as our “hero” is dispatched about halfway through the flick via a very sharp kitchen knife.  There’s also a long-winded psychobabble laden explanation of the killer’s mental state and an eerie Bernard Herrmann score as well.  (DePalma also borrows the voyeurism aspect from Rear Window too.)


There is one masterful split screen shot in this flick that has to be seen to be believed.  On one screen a reporter (Jennifer Salt) witnesses a murder and phones the police while on the other screen we see the killer’s accomplice cleaning up the crime scene.  In an especially inspired touch, the accomplice and the police end up walking through each other’s screen so that we wind up seeing two different angles of the same event.  I know I’m not doing a great job of explaining it, but you should definitely check this scene out.  It’s fucking brilliant. 


The first half of this movie is filled with so many wonderful shocks and surprises but once DePalma switches gears midstream and begins to follow the reporter, he loses a lot of his momentum.  This is mostly due to the fact that we the audience, already know who the killer is and the reporter doesn’t.  Still, DePalma has one or two more tricks up his sleeve and although the second half of the flick isn’t as nearly as much fun as the first, it still delivers the goods.


Sisters ranks Number 6 on the Video Vacuum Top Ten List of 1973, right below Coffy and just ahead of Lady Snowblood.


AKA:  Blood Sisters.