Sheer Creepiness

There's been no shortage of gangsters in this hood-heavy season, but for sheer creepiness, none can match the legendary twins Ronald and Reginald Kray, mod London's celebrity crime lords. As played by Gary and Martin Kemp (from the rock group Spandau Ballet), these pale, fastidious sadists, locked in a narcissistic attachment to each other and dominated by their fiercely adoring mother (the superb Billie Whitelaw), seem sprung from a textbook on aberrant psychology. The Krays, a fascinating, theatrically stylized chronicle of their rise and fall, has more on its mind than the usual genre movie. Director Peter Medak ("The Ruling Class," "The Changeling") and writer Philip Ridley place these two monstrous mama's boys in both a historical context, as children of the Blitz, and as the twisted offspring of a matriarchal home, where they were raised among women who believed that "men are born children and stay that way." Thematically, "The Krays" bites off more than it can chew: it's hungry for significance. But the horror of the twins' tale holds you in its clammy grip: it's a high-class creep show.