Two Evil Eyes is an arcane anthology divided into two halves (it’s all there in the title folks), both directed by legendary horror directors (George A. Romero and Dario Argento for those keepin’ score at home) and based on the writing of Edgar Allan Poe (The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar and The Black Cat respectively). Let’s kick out the jams with Romero’s joint, shall we?
Jessica Valdemar (Adrienne Barbeau) is what one would call “a reluctant shit-heel”; sure she’s conspiring with Dr. Robert Hoffman (Ramy Zada) to bilk her dying husband, Ernest (Bingo O’Malley) out of his vast fortune via hypnosis… but she doesn’t feel great about it, until the dough begins to be well in hand that is.
As fate would have it, Ernest buys the farm, so Bob and Jess chuck his dead ass in a large freezer in the basement and carry on with the Devil’s business… which you’d imagine would go smoothly, but the noises from the freezer indicate that some serious supernatural static is heading our protagonist’s way right quick!
This is some prime fright flick fun here boils n’ ghouls; you got a corpse that seems to not give a damn that he’s dead, bad folks involved in a monstrous morality play, and some spine-tinglin’ spills n’ chills.
It also doesn’t hurt that you have the usual rock-steady direction of Romero steering this sinister ship, and some great performances by a host of actors that have worked with George A. in the past including the aforementioned Barbeau and O’ Malley, as well as a turn by Creepshow‘s E.G. Marshall as Ernest’s lawyer and Tom “Thrill Me” Atkins as a detective to name a few.
Well we know half of this putrid picture is top-shelf horror biz, let’s turn our eerie eyeballs on Argento’s piece!
Roderick Usher (Harvey Keitel) is a crime scene photographer who shares a place with his New Age obsessed girlfriend Annabel (the ethereal Madeleine Potter) and a newly acquired stray cat that ain’t so wild about ol’ Rod. Our “hero” eventually loses his god-damn mind and kills that fiendish feline (which he documents)… and that is where we once again enter some preternatural territory as Rod dreams of pagan ceremonies and suffers the return of that dread cat! Things begin to rapidly head south for Roderick and soon he’s up to his F-stop in murder and mayhem!
First things first; if you dig on cats there is shit in here that will be hard to watch. That being said, Argento provides a great segment loaded with ancient curses, arcane rites, gore, corpses stuck in walls… and plenty of references to other Poe tales (as if the character names didn’t give that one away). Add to all that the powerhouse performance of Keitel and you got yourself a heapin’ helping of grizzly ghoul-ash that’s hard to resist!
If I had to pick my favorite of the two entries I’d definitely go for Argento’s yarn… that Italian visual panache is hard to beat, but Romero’s is damn good as well (and does feature a great make-up effects piece in it’s finale… wait, Argento’s does too… dammit).
You know what will be a favorite for those that love this picture (my King of All Segue’s title remains well within my grip)? The extras ol’ Blue Underground have gathered for this Blu-ray release! First up we get a fantastically detailed audio commentary courtesy of author and Argento scholar Troy Howarth which takes us through the details of the film’s tumultuous production and provides plenty of interesting factoids for horror hounds to chew over. Also included are the film’s theatrical trailer as well as poster and still gallery.
And that ends that disc, two more to go (yup, this is a 3-Disc Limited Edition release)!
Disc two brings us a host of archival material to kick things of which includes: a thirty-minute “making-of” documentary of the film’s production featuring interviews with Romero, Argento, Special Make-Up Effects Supervisor Tom Savini, Executive Producer Claudio Argento, and Asia Argento (who was just hangin’ around on set), A behind-the-scenes look at the film’s make-up effects, a quick tour of Savini’s home, and a piece detailing Barbeau’s thoughts on working with Romero.
Following all that comes a host of brand-new interviews featuring conversations with: Zada, Potter, Composer Pino Donaggio (more on him in a bit), Co-Writer Franco Ferrini, Assistant Director Luigi Cozzi (who made my fav flick of all-time, Starcrash), Special Make-Up Assistant Everett Burrell, and Costume Designer Barbara Anderson.
Now we come to disc three, which is a CD containing Donaggio’s soundtrack to the film; a truly awesome beastly bonus if ever I’ve seen… err, heard one! I should also mention the lenticular animated slipcover and collectable booklet with an excellent essay by journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of Fangoria Magazine, Michael Gingold.
Bottom line; you get Romero and Argento gettin’ their Poe on with effects by Savini… if that don’t get your pants tight you’re on the wrong website ya dig?