Sisters (1972)

The start of Brian De Palma’s “I’m just going to keep making Psycho” period, Sisters sees journalist Grace Collier (Jennifer Salt) investigating the case of a corpse folded into a sofa bed.

This hysterical homage to Hitchcock and American sofa bed manufacturing references films from Psycho to Rear Window (Grace Collier’s name is a nod to Grace Kelly), and features a cacophonous score by Bernard Herrmann. Raincoat horror master De Palma exploits the exploitation side of Hitchcock to tremendous effect, even though his twist obsession loses its surprise for anyone who’s seen Raising Cain or Dressed to Kill. But the Hitchockian themes of voyeurism and split personalities are brilliantly realised through De Palma’s pioneering use of split screen, offering two simultaneous perspectives while expertly building tension.

Opening with a satirical gameshow named after Peeping Tom, the movie’s eccentricities, style and performances elevate it to the level of high-quality drive-in cinema. Margot Kidder is appealingly insane as a French-Canadian model, in counterpoint to Salt’s disgruntled journalist sick of reporting Metro-style stories about local residents making replicas of buildings out of soap. It also has one of the strangest closing shots ever and the best birthday cake plot point since Some Like It Hot, making Sisters a bracing, bonkers slice of schlock.

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