Useless Ringers: The True Story Behind David Cronenberg’s Twin Physique Horror

Any learned viewer of David Cronenberg’s films knows that his latest film, Crimes of the Future, was not his first foray into body horror with an emphasis on psycho-sexual medical theatrics. In his 1988 film Dead Ringers, Cronenberg introduces us to twisted twin brothers Beverly and Elliot Mantle (both played by the brilliant Jeremy Irons) whose unnerving codependency and shared obsession with female anatomy and obstetrics reward them successful careers as gynecologists. We follow the brothers as they pursue devilish fancies only to shatter the equilibrium that steadies their bond, sending them hurtling towards a shared deadly fate. Little do some know, the Mantle brothers were based on real-life twins Stewart and Cyril Marcus, who were also accomplished women’s health professionals in New York City until their mysterious deaths in 1975, both aged 45. The sinister circumstances of their deaths served up the perfect recipe for horror master Cronenberg and co-writer Norman Snider,

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