Vibe of the Month – June: Doppelgänger (1993)

In honour of my birthday and Gemini season in general, my vibe for June is Drew Barrymore in Doppelgänger.

What a bizarre movie. I wasn’t really aware of its existence until my partner brought it up, so I wasn’t prepared for how weird and kind of stupid the movie would be.

Our patron saint of the ’90s, Drew Barrymore, stars in the film as Holly, a mysterious woman who moves to L.A. after she’s been implicated in a murder. She moves in with Patrick, a writer, played by the actor who also plays the dreamy college boy in Adventures in Babysitting (I love that movie). He has a thing for her (obviously), but when weird things start happening that Holly attributes to her evil double, Patrick can’t decide if she’s being honest or if she’s a crazy serial killer.

I’m not going to spoil the ending for you because it’s truly an unusual ride. You should definitely add it to your list if you love ’90s thrillers.

Lately I’ve become nostalgic for the ’90s thriller wave. Of course thrillers are still made today, but the amount that came out of that era is particularly interesting. From erotic to domestic thrillers, the 1990’s really gave us our fill when it came to cheesy thrills and chills.

And it’s interesting to me that so many ‘90s It Girls can be found in this genre – I’m thinking specifically of Alicia Silverstone and Reese Witherspoon. In the ‘90s, Barrymore also starred in Poison Ivy, another erotic thriller that isn’t particularly great but has found appreciation from cult audiences (and me). While Doppelgänger isn’t as corny and trashy as Poison Ivy, it still has the tacky touches of sex and nudity, pseudo-psychology and awkward, clunky dialogue that the genre is known for.

I also really love the idea of doppelgängers –  that there’s an opposite version of you existing somewhere in the world. June is Gemini season. Gemini is symbolized by the twins and the sign is all about seeing both sides of an issue to the point that the sign has a reputation for being two-faced. But its archetype is duality and all the contraditions within us. Some astrologers encourage Geminis to embrace the parts of themselves they don’t like – the “evil” or dark sides – in order to feel more whole and balanced. What other sign in the zodiac is more ripe for a doppelgänger than Gemini?

For a while, I actually thought that I might have my own evil double. I lived around Bloor and Yonge when I first moved to Toronto. One day, my roommate at the time came home and told me that she saw someone who looked just like me in the area when I was at work. A few months later, I was in the Indigo at Bay and Bloor and the cashier asked me, randomly, if I had been there earlier the day. I hadn’t. He asked me if I had a sister – specifically, a twin sister. No, I didn’t. He was surprised and told me that he had cashed out someone who looked exactly like me that afternoon. A few months after that happened, a co-worker asked me if I had been in the Village recently. I hadn’t. We talked about it for a bit and then she told me that she had seen someone that looked just like me a few times around the Church and Wellesley area (close to Bay and Bloor/Yonge and Bloor for those that don’t live in Toronto). Apparently, the resemblance was so overt that she almost called out to me from her balcony.

Chills, chills, chills!

I’m disappointed that I never got to see or meet this double of mine who looked enough like me that even strangers were commenting on it. What if it was me, though? An alternate universe version of myself and we would both implode upon meeting?

I don’t know. But as a Gemini, I’m thrilled and terrified that there’s someone who looks exactly like me hanging around.

PS: Danny Trejo has a blink-and-you’ll-miss him scene in this movie, if my blog about the film wasn’t enough to convince you to watch it.