Based upon the subject of this blog, you might guess that I think evil twins are hilarious, a bit scary, and sort of surreal in that baby-crawling-across-the-ceiling kind of way. Hey, if it works for soap operas, it should work anywhere, right? I mean to say that soap operas are the cornerstone of the entertainment world and evil twins are pure limestone.
Sarcasm aside, everybody loves a good "evil twin" story. In some cases it is even a classic mechanism done extremely well. Look at Dr. Jeckly and Mr. Hyde. While they are not traditional birthed twins, they are living inside of that same bubble of divergent personalities with the same basic molecular structure.
This hit home for me recently when I discovered that my wife is pregnant with twins (a boy and a girl!). From the moment we found out, we started working on names, as would be expected. The sonogram tech suggested Luke and Leia, and she hadn't even a clue that I was a Star Wars fan (who isn't a Star Wars fan?? Actually, my old college roommate hates Star Wars... so nevermind). Anyway, we immediately started asking, "What just happened?" in that half-dreamy-just-got-hit-by-an-emotional-dumptruck style. In addition to the twin shock, there was also a student from the university watching the procedure, a green-faced kid who couldn't have been a day over ten years old. He quickly perks up, "I'm a twin!" That was sort of weird, as though his familial disposition had wiped off on us when we started the sonogram, that he had put a gypsy-twin-curse on it. Not that it's actually a "curse", our family is complete now. Accelerated motion has always been my style. I never ran up the stairs in my childhood home one at a time; I skipped every other one because life isn't meant to be spent on the stairs.
Anyway, something hopped into my head when the sonogram tech said: "Oh my lord... I've never seen somebody go this far before, not without picking it up in previous scans... YOU'RE HAVING TWINS!"
The ground level images that raced through my mind, in no particular order:
1. SCARY TWINS from THE SHINING. Obviously.
2. SCARY EVIL DOCTOR TWINS WITH ARCHAIC GYNOCOLOGICAL DEVICES in DEAD RINGERS. Jeremy Irons is a sick bastard.
3. FIRST TWIN EATS SECOND TWIN in the beginning of THE DARK HALF (the book, not the movie- as we know the movie was lame).
4. KITT and KARR from KNIGHT RIDER (yes, an evil twin of an automobile totally counts... similarly Michael Knight had an evil twin, which was basically just Hasselhoff with an awesome Lothario mustache)
5. BELIAL and DUANE from BASKET CASE (the one with the little conjoined evil twin, what a great movie, piss-poor sequels though)
6. LITTLE DEBBIE SWISS CAKE ROLLS. You know you just wet yourself thinking about them!
7. And of course THE PENGUIN and MR. FREEZE in that lovely shitstorm of gags called TWINS. 80's comedy at its worst. Didn't that win an Oscar for Best Novelty?
I could go on but I will scary you the horror.
Twins are scary as shit, don't ya know? Being half of a twin pair means that somebody is walking around as you, doing things that you cannot control, potentially marring your good name, committing dastardly deeds and sporting a bad mustache/goatee.
It is fair to say that the little lop-headed twins from The Shining are by far the most disturbing that many can recall. What was wrong with those kids? I wonder what they look like now. I bet they're middle aged and smoke lots of cigarettes and talk about that scene all the time. They live together in a one bedroom apartment in Seattle. They share a bed together and one of them wears adult diapers already, a tad premature because she's scared of what her life has become. One of them probably works at an occult bookstore and the other is a phone sex operator who specializes in beastial fantasies. This is all a theory, but it seems pretty logical to me. They don't even bother finishing each other's sentences anymore because they gave up speaking aloud more than a decade ago. See what I mean, they are STILL scary... crazy after all these years.
The illogical nature of what happens at a biological level strikes at the fiber of our souls. Something beyond "human" occurs, with either two sperm simultaneously winning the competition, or two eggs (which is the case with our upcoming Isaac and Amity). One in about 95 pregnancies has twins. Compare this with dogs, cats, wolves... animals that have litters just about every single time they get knocked up. There is something animal about giving birth to twins, and that is what scares us at the root, that we are interconnected with the mammalian species even more so than the human species.
But hold up. That's just one theory.
Or maybe two identical things with different words and thoughts just scares us. Like two parallel universes- the splitting of potentials. You can have two perfect twins at birth, and by their eighteenth birthday one of them could be a tattooed goth and the other a bookworm with a reasonably mannered wardrobe and academic credentials.The divergence happens at any point along the way, like Robert Frost talking about standing at the fork in the road. This is the wildcard of the human condition, that which lies beneath the surface and mocks us for our silly assumptions that things do not change, that the world is not in constant flux... chaos and entropy swimming around us like hungry sharks.
Whoa, I say to myself as I type this... slow your roll, Socrates.
Maybe twins are scary just because we LET them be. Kubricks' visionary blood elevator and the bulbous-domed twins with the pale skin... maybe that is the true genesis, much the way that Pennywise is the first thing to come to mind when we think about how creepy clowns are.
Perhaps things are not scary until somebody makes them scary. I think of Jaws. I think of The Exorcist. Something may not be considered scary, pervading the human psyche, until somebody (a Spielberg or a Blatty or a Hitchcock or a King) really hits the underlying fear out of the park. We're not scared of sharks, we're scared of our fear of sharks. I think Winston Churchill said something about that.
When my twins are finally here, and a couple of years pass by, I will keep my eye on them. Maybe I'll figure it out then. I've always wanted to write a great SCARY TWIN novel... I think by 2014 I will have that scary twin novel ready to go. Between now and then I can figure out what really makes twins scary. Any suggestions or theories???