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Old 09-29-10, 09:59 PM   #1
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"Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2



Sisters (1973)



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Selected by llandros.

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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 Films in 31 Days Subset.

Main Discussion Thread | The List Thread

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags are unnecessary in these discussion threads, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

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Old 10-01-10, 05:18 PM   #2
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

Reading the inset booklet cued me in to a lot of fun homages in this film. My expectations were pretty low coming in since evil twin sisters seemed hockey. I was pleasently surprised not expecting the film to be as psychological as it was.

The plot structure was interesting in that this is a mystery where the beginning shows who the murderer is. I really like how the narrative artfully emphasized voyeurism with focus on a third party reporter who enters and exits the murderer's world and an over-reliance on flashbacks (maybe a comment on popular news media). This is how I made sense of the ending with the man spying on the desolate covered couch with binochulars suggesting continued fruitless search for understanding thou things did get very surreal towards the end. The consensus on imdb.com is that reporter Grace Collier was brainwashed into believing she was a twin then forgetting she saw the murder. This is a film I'll have to revisit soon to make clearer sense of it.

What do you guys make of the ending?
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Old 10-02-10, 02:38 PM   #3
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

Rear Window meets Basket Case minus the basket. A fantastic thriller, I often look out my window in the vain hope I will get mixed up in a murder mystery such as this. And the use of split screen is phenomenal, it should be used more often.

On the ending I wasn't a fan of the hypnotism but the guy waiting for the couch at the end was great, I just wanted it to keep going. Maybe the couch was going to some secret Canuk grave yard of Dominique's victims?

Last edited by SterlingBen; 10-02-10 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 10-02-10, 03:36 PM   #4
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

I hope everyone is enjoying this one since I suggested it! I remember it from when I was little and how it was pretty creepy. Glad to see that it is still as enjoyable a movie as before.

I thought Margot Kidder did an excellent job and love the use of split screen in this one - something I normally don't like. I just noticed that they did a remake a few years ago, but have not read anything positive about that one.
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Old 10-02-10, 06:43 PM   #5
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

I can’t believe this flick squeaked under my radar all these years. I had seen it in the video store but never thought it to be a horror film, let alone such a good one. De Palma didn’t seem to have any bones against taking a page, actually more like a few chapters, out of Hitchcock’s book (even yanking Bernard Herrmann out of retirement for the score). This isn’t a bad thing (he could have taken a chapter out of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer’s book…errr, you know, of the future) as if you are going to steal (homage) then best do it from the best. Where Hitch didn’t go with gore De Palma pours it out and the first murder in this film will jar you and stick. It holds up well even against modern cinematic brutality and, perhaps, was a sign of what was to come one year later with the pull of a chainsaw. 70s movie blood, though, looked terrible. At one point you will think the victim has busted open a tube of acrylic. I do feel the film fizzles out a bit at the end when it dives more into the psychological pool but it wasn’t enough to sully such a brilliant, unexpected setup. Rear Window and Psycho similarities aside, Sisters is 70s horror at it’s finest.
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Old 10-02-10, 11:57 PM   #6
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

Sisters is my favorite De Palma film. It contains some of the most intriguing bits of psychological horror I've come across. There's also some disturbing imagery throughout, most prominent in a hallucination towards the end of the film, though certainly not limited to that segment alone. The only knock against the film is that Jennifer Salt's character is somewhat annoying.
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Old 10-03-10, 12:15 AM   #7
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

I love this film so much, many directors borrow from Hitchcock, few succeed, De Palma nailed it. The split screen usage is brilliantly intense, William Finley's character freaked me out throughout the film.
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Old 10-03-10, 12:53 AM   #8
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

Thanks llandros for picking this. The film was no where on my radar, so I would have really missed out without your suggestion. There's not much I can add that hasn't been mentioned already, except that I'm never sitting on a hide-away bed/couch again...

And germs through a phone line? That's a great warning for a fellow germophobe. Can anyone confirm if germs can travel through cell towers as well? <-- sarcasm
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Old 10-03-10, 09:08 AM   #9
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

Loved it. Very much Hitchcock influenced. Thanks llandros!
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Old 10-03-10, 10:09 AM   #10
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

That opening Hermann theme is just killer - it really grabs you. I've always had a soft spot for this film, even if it is one of De Palma's more derivative films. The scenes with Salt in the asylum are genuinely creepy, and the split-screens are quite sucessful at depicting parallel, simultaneous action. My only major complaint is that we see the shadow of Dominique when Danielle is addressing her early in the film, which would, of course, be impossible.
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Old 10-03-10, 11:05 AM   #11
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

Loved it. Could have sworn that I had seen it before, as it was one of the first Criterions I ever bought, but on finishing it this morning I'm pretty sure it was entirely new to me.

Not my favorite DePalma film, that will probably always be Body Double, but definitely plan to re-watch this someday, and hope for a better release with more special features.
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Old 10-03-10, 03:40 PM   #12
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Loved it. Could have sworn that I had seen it before, as it was one of the first Criterions I ever bought, but on finishing it this morning I'm pretty sure it was entirely new to me.

Not my favorite DePalma film, that will probably always be Body Double, but definitely plan to re-watch this someday, and hope for a better release with more special features.
Yeah I got all excited when I saw that Soviet Siamese Twin feature and then it turns out to be all text
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Old 10-03-10, 05:33 PM   #13
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

This was an interesting film. I usually hate the use of split screens but it worked so well in that particular scene. Reminiscent of Rear Window but I also got a Rope vibe during the scene when the detectives are looking for evidence and the body is right there in front of them, inside the couch, and they don't know it. I thought the movie delivered a stronger first half, lost a bit of steam toward the end when the story went a different direction, but the final scene with Durning was great. Likable cast, all in all a solid film.
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Old 10-03-10, 06:28 PM   #14
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

Thought this was a pretty good pick for a movie, and worth being in the challenge. The homage to Rear window is so obvious but it still plays well. Loved seeing the Phantom in this... as a bad guy. The scenes in the insane asylum, with the doctor saying she was a patient, to me, where the scariest. Just the thought of a sane person being commited freaked me out.

6/10
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Old 10-04-10, 10:39 AM   #15
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

I thought this was a great pick. It was one the 1970's films I still had not seen so I was excited to watch it. I thought Margot Kidder did a great job and Brian DePalma (who is one of my favorites) also did a very good job.
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Old 10-05-10, 12:06 AM   #16
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

Brian De Palma's first film to really showcase his Hitchcock fetish is still grand entertainment. In addition to paying homage to Rear Window, Psycho, and Rope, De Palma used Hitchcock's favorite composer, Bernard Herrmann, to connect all the dots. All of the performances are excellent; Charles Durning really stands out as a private detective, and the film reminds us that, before going full goose bozo, Margot Kidder was a pretty charismatic screen presence. As is often the case, De Palma ends the film in a cynical manner that is sure to infuriate those not familiar with his body of work.
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Old 10-05-10, 04:53 PM   #17
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

Clearly had the Rear Window angle working. Body Double is still my favorite De Palma mystery (another Rear Window angle), but this had a much more psychological aspect to it. Margot had to be all over the place playing the two (one?) sisters. Much more to her than the simple Lois Lane character she is famous for. I couldn't help but see Weird Al in the Like a Surgeon video in the doctor/husband character! Great split screen use. The ending made me want to climb up the pole and slap Charles around for being such a fricking idiot for still following that couch! LOL
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Old 10-08-10, 01:32 AM   #18
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

I watched this a few weeks ago during the Criterion challenge and I thought it was hilarious. I can understand why it's in the Collection and I get why so many praise, which don't get me wrong, I found it highly entertaining, but I laughed throughout most of it. Such blatant "homages" were too ridiculous for me to take seriously, even though the acting was great and it was technically a well made film. I didn't really start to seriously get into the movie until the scene at the end with the doctor's altered retelling of the past. I really enjoyed that scene and thought it worked so well, I actually rewound it and watched it again. But then it's capped off with Durning and the couch, the most hysterical and abrupt final scenes ever filmed. Yes yes with the whole commenting-on-voyeurism angle. That image is gutbustingly dopey no matter what intellectual ideals you throw at it.
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Old 10-12-10, 01:25 PM   #19
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Re: "Sisters" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by NoirFan View Post
My only major complaint is that we see the shadow of Dominique when Danielle is addressing her early in the film, which would, of course, be impossible.
I noticed that and I also wondered how the reporter could be so descriptive to the cops. Didn't all she see was the dude with the bloody hand on the window for a few seconds? Did I miss seeing her see more than I thought? She gives a graphic description of both the murder and the "murderess" (her word).

The movie felt like more thriller than horror until the very end. And it just gets kinda strange in the last 15 minutes. I did like the end shot though and as others have said, I am sure it drives lots of watchers crazy.

Nice to see everyone else enjoying the split screen shots. I loved those and thought they were very well done and added to the suspense. The score was great at times but felt out of place in other scenes. Tons of Hitchcock scenes and the first murder is just brutal to watch.

So even with all the positive comments from me, why didn't I enjoy it more? Can't put my finger on it but the film just gives me an average feeling when thinking of the movie as a whole.

My rating: *** out of *****
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