Friday, October 25, 2013

THE OTHER (Twilight Time Blu-ray) Review

My first experience with The Other was in the Album of Modern Horror, a picture book complete with horror history lesson that featured films of the early 80's and before. The cover used to get under my skin, but one picture in particular always stuck with me alongside Peter Cushing's zombified face from Tales from the Crypt and the pre-transformation bed scene from Beast Within. The image featured a young man wearing a top hat, dressed as a magician. He was not alone. An older woman was in the frame, horrified as our innocent looking child, antagonist pulled a large rat from his (instead of the characteristic and expected rabbit). Her face and his look devilishly innocent face painted a picture of terror that kept me taking the book out of the library week in and out. It would be quite some time before I got to see The Other on film, but this disturbing picture lives up to the horror generated by the single still from the album. Twilight Time has brought us a limited edition, 3000 pressing of The Other on Blu-ray.

Synopsis from Twilight Time:

The Other (1972), directed by Robert Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird) and adapted by Tom Tryon from his own best-selling novel, is a psychological horror film set in Depression-era New England about a pair of young twins (Chris and Martin Udvarnoky) who find themselves at the center of a series of ghastly accidents that may not be so accidental, after all. 

While the movie actually quite scary, it is made during a period where the acting style might be considered somewhat hammed up for most horror pictures. The Other may suffer from that a bit and at times plays like a made for TV movie, but it wallops a psychological, mind bending twist if you stick around for more than the pranks and pain inflicted by one young man. The movie watches like a portrait of the struggle between good and evil in the form of a strange sibling rivalry that pits two very different twins against one another. The ultimate question is just how far will they go in their gradual slip into a more macabre world?

This isn't heavy on special features. It contains the original theatrical trailer and an isolated score track. Movies of this period deserve that because the music, whether library music or original composition for the film, are eerie and big.  The Other, released in 1972, comes before a time when horror movies were purely fitted with generic Heavy Metal tracks. Twilight Time offers this feature on most releases, and it's a nice way to enjoy a completely different aspect of the film. The Jerry Goldsmith (yes, that Jerry Goldsmith) score is worth isolating and appreciating. The transfer looks great,and the version I had previously seen was not good so this will be a dramatic improvement.

The Other features the director, Robert Mulligan, who did To Kill a Mockingbird which is a movie that builds suspense and atmosphere while focusing on exceptionally talented child actors. In this respect, The Other isn't far off. Well acted feature with children who clearly understand the fine line between innocence and getting away with quiet torture and murder. It plays like a much bigger picture even though you may only be hearing about it for the first time with this Twilight Time release.

I recommend this feature to fans of kid horror, suspense flicks and 1970's Made for TV features (even though this isn't one).  The Other is available through Screen Archives but is extremely limited. Pick it up now or miss out.


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