In the last 35 years, Brian De Palma has become one of my favorite, if most eccentric directors. His first foray into the horror/thriller genre that would become his bloody specialty was 1973's SISTERS.
As far as I can tell, the plot is an interesting blend of Hitchcock's Rear Window and something much more akin to a young filmmaker's attempt to throw a whole lot at the screen to see what resonates.
Margot Kidder plays separated Siamese twins Dominique and Danielle. Beautiful model Danielle's apartment becomes a murder scene when one of the twins commits a grisly murder against an overnight suitor.
Thankfully, the NYC apartment is positioned across from reporter Grace Collier's (Jennifer Salt) apartment. Grace sees the entire murder and calls the police, who arrive to find no evidence.
Grace is a reporter whose latest story was anti-cop, which leaves the detectives unmotivated to believe her.
Grace decides to track down the killer herself, which leads her (and us) down some very twisted roads into the kind of sinister clinics and maniacal scientists usually found only in B movies.
Even a very young De Palma elevates the material, and you can see him laying amateur groundwork for what would become some of his most effective and branded creative touches in the decades ahead.
Split screens, jarring cuts, buckets of blood, graphic knife attacks are all present, but not quite gelling into a complete film.
Composer Bernard Herrmann, one of Hitchcock's favorite composers, delivers a loud, scary score, one of his best.
Kidder is effective in her dual role and Salt is okay, Charles Durning resonates best as a pulp detective that Grace hires to help her search.
The last twenty minutes or so were more funny than frightening to me, not helped by me constantly laughing at how fake screen blood was in the early 70's.
De Palma would get the blood AND a whole lot more right by the end of the decade, between "Carrie", "The Fury" and "Dressed to Kill".
SISTERS only scares up a C.