The Other (1972 film)

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The Other (1972), AKA The Innocent Face of Terror, Twins of Terror

Summary

"Niles and Holland are as close as twin brothers can be, but appearances can be deceiving... and deadly." After their father dies, young twin brothers spend their summer playing around the farm while their mother hides in mourning; their grandmother has taught the twins how to project themselves into the thoughts of other people and animals as a harmless game to distract them from their grief, but when a further series of deadly tragedies strike the family and friends, the grandmother begins to suspect something sinister at work.

Details

Scene from The Other (1972 film)...
  • Release Date: 1972
  • Country/Language: US, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror, Suspense, Mystery
  • Setting: 1920s small-town USA
  • Runtime: 1 hr 48 min
  • Starring: Uta Hagen, Diana Muldaur, Chris Udvarnoky, Martin Udvarnoky
  • Director: Robert Mulligan
  • Writer: Tom Tryon
  • Producer/Production Co: Benchmark, Rem, Twentieth Century Fox, Robert Mulligan, Tom Tryon
  • View Trailer: (link)
  • Wikipedia: (link)
  • IMDB Page: (link)

Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: PG (perhaps equivalent to a modern PG-13 or even R for Violence)

Just about all the violence and its aftermath appear off-screen, but brief glimpses of a grisly trophy kept by the Evil Kid, a couple corpses of children, as well as a circus sideshow scene with a deformed performer and a hydrocephalic baby exhibit, are all gruesome and disturbing even by modern standards, while the suggestions of off-screen violence are bloodless but effective enough that together these factors should probably push this film out of the realm of kid-friendly cinema....

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; has almost no direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

Not too much in this movie can be considered "Lovecraftian", though the Gothic horror structure, themes of thought-transference and malevolent survival of an unearthly intellect vaguely suggest a relationship to some Lovecraftian elements.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • Ywhateley Another Evil Kid movie with few overtly supernatural elements (there's a sort of "game" involving out-of-the-body experiences, and off-hand suggestions of the Changeling myth and some question of exactly who/what The Other really is, but that's it: any supernatural elements could easily be written off as tricks of the imagination); this is (to me) one of the better examples of the "Evil Kid" genre, one I liked much better than the more famous The Omen (1976 film)....
  • Review by Scott Ashlin at 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting (4.5/5 Stars) (link) - " To begin with, it has a highly unusual setting: rural New England in the mid-1930’s. Not a lot of horror movies are set in those days, not even ones that were made in those days. The bucolic milieu offers especially fertile ground for what is sometimes referred to as “sunlit horror”— that is to say, horror that does not rely on creepy atmosphere, inherently eerie places, the darkness of night, or any of the other commonplaces of the genre. It’s a very demanding approach, and when it goes awry, it often strays lethally into tedium, rather than committing the more forgivable sin of ridiculousness. But when it’s done right, it is all the more effective. The makers of "The Other" did it right."
  • Review by Keith Bailey at The Unknown Movies (link) - "Perhaps the best way to describe it is to call it a disturbing movie. ...because not only is the movie disturbing while you are watching it, it actually becomes more disturbing after you've finished watching it. After the end, you think about everything that happened during the movie, and now knowing everything, many scenes now take on a deeper meaning and a new perspective. And we see everything that was happening was even more disturbing than we initially thought."
  • Review by Graeme Clark at The Spinning Image (7/10 Stars) (link) - "...Mulligan was careful to film it so tastefully the full revulsion of what is going on may have been downplayed, yet if it hadn't been then the story would have been unbearable, just as Tryon's writing emphasised his literary qualities over the grimmer aspects of his narrative. Some find this too slow to truly engage with, yet adjust to its mood and pace and if it wasn't a classic, it was absorbing."
  • Review by Mitch Lovell at The Video Vacuum (2 stars) (link) - "I’m telling ya, folks; for the first 70 minutes or so, you’re going to think The Other is completely worthless. Then about 2/3 of the way through there is a fairly decent (yet predictable) Shyamalan-ian twist that sorta works. After that the movie gains a bit of momentum and it limps it’s way to an OK finale. However good the final act is, it doesn’t make up for the lousiness that preceded it."
  • Review by Richard Schieb at The Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (link) (3.5/5 Stars) - "... all sorts of sinister things happening that leave one not sure where they are at. Director Robert Mulligan underlines the action with sinister imagery..."
  • Review by Greg Walton at Cinemanerdz (link) (3.5/5 Stars) - "..."The Other" could pass for an elegiac coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of bucolic rural America just before the onset of World War II. The idea of true “evil” arising in such an unlikely setting is one of the film’s greatest assets."

Synopsis (SPOILERS)

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
After their father dies, young twin brothers spend their summer playing around the farm while their mother hides in mourning; their grandmother has taught the twins how to project themselves into the thoughts of other people and animals as a harmless game to distract them from their grief, but when a further series of deadly tragedies strike the family and friends, the grandmother begins to suspect something sinister at work. In truth, one of the twins died before the father did, and seems to continue to exist as a figment of his brother's imagination, or perhaps as an evil spirit, and the deaths and other tragedies have all been caused by the surviving twin under the malevolent influence of the hallucinatory/ghostly twin.


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Associated Mythos Elements


Keeper Notes

  • Investigators called in to investigate a seemingly supernatural case follow the clues to an unusual suspect: the surviving member of a set of twins who fancies himself a magician capable of thought transference and seeing his dead brother, who the boy blames for the tragedies.