Two Evil Eyes
Directors: Dario Argento & George A. Romero
Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Harvey Keitel, Tom Atkins, E.G. Marshall
Reviewed by – Brian M. Sammons
On paper this movie sounded like a great idea. Take two certified masters of terror, have them both adapt and direct tales from an originator of the horror genre, mix in some cool splatter and BANG; instant classic. However, this wasn’t to be the case with this film. While it is a perfectly fine, if a bit uneven, fright film, it never made a big splash and today is largely forgotten, despite having some major league talent in it.
The directors I mentioned are Dario Argento and George A. Romero, two guys that between them have made some of the best, most memorable horror films ever. The author I hinted at is none other than Edgar Allen Poe, one of the granddaddies of the modern terror tale. As for actors, cult favorites like Adrienne Barbeau and Tom Atkins can be found doing their thing in these two short-ish tales, as well as veterans like Harvey Keitel and E.G. Marshall. Yet with all that, most newbie horror fans have probably never seen this one before.
Luckily for horrorheads everywhere, the blood-loving Brits over at Arrow Video in the UK have released this one on DVD, and thankfully once again they put it out on a Region Free disc for the entire world to enjoy. Here, let me tell you about it.
Each of these two movies is about an hour long and the first has George Romero doing what he does best and giving us a film full of undead goodness with, “The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar.” Adrienne Barbeau plays a money grubbing wife of a sick, much older husband who she keeps in a hypnotic stupor and close to death so that she can milk him for all his money before he dies. She is added in this evil endeavor by her husband’s doctor, who just so happens to be her lover. Then one night Mr. Valdemar dies, but since he died while under deep hypnosis, he doesn’t pass on to the other side. Can you say vengeful ghost zombie out for blood? I knew you could. In this case the blood is ably supplied by makeup effects genius, and long time Romero running partner, Tom Savini.
Italian horror maestro Dario Argento puts his stamp on Poe’s classic, “The Black Cat.” Actually, it borrows bits from many Poe stories, such as “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and a bit of the “Tell-tale Heart.” In this short, Harvey Keitel plays a photographer named Usher (hah, get it) obsessed with death, teetering on the brink of madness and taking his obsession to the next level. Looking for an outlet for his homicidal impulses, he kills the titular feline only to enter a world of nightmares, madness, and murder. Of the two, this was my least favorite, but it was still pretty good, if somewhat disjointed and schizophrenic.
Arrow does a pretty good job putting out all the extras they can with this disc, however as for extras on the actual disc, this time the pickings are slim. There are a couple of trailers to be found on this DVD and sadly that’s it. While I wish there could be more it is good to just see this movie out on disc after so long of not being available at all. However, in an attempt to add some extra value to the package, Arrow does add some of their usual treats to the movie. Double sided art for the DVD case? Yep. Collector’s booklet? You betcha. Large fold-out wall poster? Yeah, that’s here too. So I give this DVD edition of Two Evil Eyes a solid A for the goodies, a C- for the extras on the disc, but an overall rating of B due to the scarcity of the film. Therefore this DVD gets a grade B recommendation from me.