A Double Dose of Terror from the Directors of DAWN OF THE DEAD and SUSPIRIA!The masters of modern horror - George Romero and Dario Argento - bring you an unprecedented pair of shockers inspired by the tales of Edgar Allan ... more »Poe.In Romero's "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar," a conniving wife (Adrienne Barbeau of THE FOG) and her lover use a hypnotic trance to embezzle a fortune from her dying husband, only to receive some chilling surprises from beyond the grave. Then in Argento's "The Black Cat," a deranged crime scene photographer (Harvey Keitel of RESERVOIR DOGS) is driven to brutal acts of madness and murder by his girlfriend's new pet. But will this cunning feline deliver a final sickening twist of its own?Martin Balsam (PSYCHO) and Tom Atkins (MANIAC COP) co-star in this wild horror hit that also features grisly effects by gore master Tom Savini (DAWN OF THE DEAD, THE PROWLER). Blue Underground is proud to present TWO EVIL EYES newly transferred from an original vault negative and loaded with exclusive Extras.« less
"Despite being a big fan or Romero's zombie films and of Argento's more famous mid 70's to late 80's work it took me a while to get up too much enthusiasm for getting this movie, largely because of the primarily negative response to this film. And, though I generally like what Poe I've read, adapting him for film doesn't seem like such a hot idea, and not particularly wise use of these director's varied talents. (though I understand that these adaptations are, shall we say, very liberal with the source material) A couple days ago, however, frustrated with the late or non-arrival of some things I'd ordered I decided I needed to buy something, and this came to mind. Needless to say, it surpassed my expectations and was definitely worth the cash.
Romero's segment, 'The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar', is much maligned, virtually always sighted as being the weaker of the 2, and generally being accused of being 'boring'. While it is the weaker of the 2, I still find it highly entertaining and genuinely creepy. It involves a trophy wife and her ex-lovers scheme to steal money from her terminally ill, elderly husband's estate by forcing him to change his will through hypnosis. Unfortunately for them, he dies before the change can go through, and they have to stuff him in the freezer in order to buy time, at which point the story takes a supernatural turn. It is frequently described as being like an extra-long episode of 'Tales from the Crypt', with the conniving, utterly selfish characters and the poetic and/or ironic fate of the villains. This is a pretty apt description, though it is certainly far better than what you'll see on that show, and more straight-forward and serious as well. And as for the accusations that it is boring, well, I think it's atmospheric. Sure, not much happens, but it's got a real air of menace in my mind, although it is extremely low-key. Rather than creating atmosphere from an excess of style, Romero creates it with a lack of it, making the camera movements slow and deliberate, the sets relatively low-key, and keeping it largely free of any out and out shock attempts until we're already most of the way through the segment. I can see why people would find this boring, but I just don't. Many people have complained about the acting in this segment, particularly by Barbeau and Zada, but I think they're fine. They aren't fantastic either, but they don't really ham it up the way so many have claimed.
As you'd imagine, Argento's segment, 'The Black Cat', is quite a bit more lively from a stylistic standpoint, though it is still fairly slow moving. Harvey Keitel is Usher, a crime-scene photographer who is clearly at least a bit deranged, who has run-in's with his girlfriends hated black cat, leading to his murdering it. Naturally, the cat mysteriously returns repeatedly, and he is driven mad and to murder and so on. As you'd presume, style is the real point of this segment, and it is impressive, as always. Stylistically, it's reminiscents of Argento's previous film, 'Opera' in that it has a particular wealth of unconventional camerwork, and uses upper-class, modern day architecture rather than obviously artificial architecture of no particular era. There are some particularly flashy camera movements, as they display every nook and cranny of Usher's cavernous, ominous house, and there are some expertly executed, if rather senseless cat pov shots. There is also a very odd and hallucinatory dream sequence, apparently in the middle ages, and an even more trippy and unusual encounter between Usher and a barkeep who has a black cat similar to his girlfriend's. The film is even more self conciously stylish and flashy than his previous six films, almost as if he felt the need to get everything he'd have in a feature length film into the 60 minute time frame. This is perhaps slightly distracting at a few points, but not too often, and it's always cool. The segment also has a surprising amount of grue from Tom Savini and his crew. We've got a corpse bisected by a pendulum, a corpse with it's teeth ripped out, a really brutal murder with clever, a very odd and disturbing impalation, a partially eaten corpse and more. The execution is generally excellent. Not as good as what you'll probably see today, but still quite nice, and definitely impressive for 1989. They also have some fairly convincing and nicely done animatronic cats. And what's this, we have a great actor in an Argento film? Keitel is generally very good, as you'd expect, although he over does it slightly in a few of his 'angry' scenes. The supporting cast is generally strong as well, better than in the first segment.(It's largely a one man show, however)
Yeah, these movies are good. Come in with an open mind, discard the negative predisposition you might have and and be patient. I'll bet you'll like it."
Animal-Handling AND Masonry: Components for Perfection
TastyBabySyndrome | "Daddy Dagon's Daycare" - Proud Sponsor of the Lit | 12/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When directors get together, they have the potential to make interesting things happen. When great directors join forces and decide to take on a project, even better results areexpected. It honestly doesn't matter what type of material they're doing or if the viewing population has tasted it time and time again. They, the silver screen's version of power coupling, know their art, understand the little versions - or perhaps perversions - of atmosphere that balance the viewing scales, and have the most cards to play when it comes to forging complete pictures. Unfortunately, both don't always deliver a knockout punch like you'd like. In this initial piece, it's a story you've heard before. An older fellow with dollarsign-laced pockets decides to marry a younger woman. People jeer it in the community and friends seem appalled by it, but attraction is attraction and a little IWantATrophyWife-itus is sometimes what wealth is all about. In our tale, we join an ex "airline hostess" and her much older husband as he's teetering on that painful plateau just outside of dying. Plans are in the works on how to acquire some of his fortune before his estate and the long years of "settling" are addressed, with hypnosis and the application of falsified doctor reports working fairly well. It all seems to be going splendidly, too, and three million dollars is all set to arrive in two weeks - providing the wife, Jessica, can keep her husband around that long. As movies would have it, however, he dies and the planning gets worse and worse and worse until....This Romero addition to the power duo has some serious flaws in it. The plot is thin, the effects are a little drowsy, and what seems to start off well dances down the corridors of lackluster architecture. Honestly, it's a good thing that things happen the way they do in these tales, because the atypical plan thrown into this type of movie would normally end up with someone going to jail for a very long time. Money or not, you wouldn't want to bury someone in your own backyard with a couple of bullet holes in them and you wouldn't want them kicking it with you ice-cream and getting freezer burn. This is worse than that in some ways, however, because it seems to say that a master in his field and Savini can't get together and make something that hasn't been seen a hundred times over. Instead of illustrating a story the way an audience knows they can, they take a Poe idea, splash a little effect work on it, and somewhat go through the motions. In Argento's version of The Black Cat, things play out a lot better. Our focal point, a man with a gruesome day job, brings home a little hatred and finds himself in a not-so-happy position of trying to conceal what he's done. When things get a little stressed and push come to shove (and hack and slice), it seems that things can get a little ugly at home. This seems especially when you're the owner of a cat you hate and don't want to keep up with, and moreso when you're half of a marriage that will ultimately self-destruct. Without giving all the gray matter away, this ultimately becomes a testament to revenge going awry, why you should treat animals a little bit better, and why post-it notes are a good thing if you don't want to leave out any small details to a crime.In my personal opinion, the Argento piece is a short film made in gore heaven. Not only does it make a show of force with all its little pieces coming together and working out all-too-well, but it also gives little shout-outs to other Poe stories as well.
And then the eye candy begins to make its rounds.
The first effects, mutilated bodies, birth even better effects. The deaths seem to get worse and worse until, in one place, I saw something that I could almost feel because of the way the image evoked words like "pain." Still, it didn't stop there. With little kitties doing things little kitties shouldn't do; hairless, nasty, and bathed in the debris brought to you by a mind that has imported images of this variety time and again, it gets even more graphic. And that's all I really ever wanted. Combine that with build, a good plan that twists until it morphs into something horrific that the main character couldn't foresee, and nice acting and you can even overlook Romero's shoddy addition to this collection. Simply be warned that it does have a little kick in the "gruesome" department."
Two part horror film based on Edgar Allan Poe stories.
Puzzle box | Kuwait | 04/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This horror anthology film basically consists of two horror tales which are based on short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and was directed by two famous horror directors George Romero and Dario Argento, the film also stars Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins and Harvey Keitel who were all great in this film. Two Evil Eyes was first initiated by Argento who came up with the idea to direct his favorite short stories from Poe so you have two classic tales brought to life, while I did like Romero's contribution The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdemar and thought it was fun my favorite had to be the one done by Argento, this was definitely a great horror film.
The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdemar, Jessica (Adrienne Barbeau) a former flight attendant who is married to a very rich and very old man named Ernest Valdemar is anxiously waiting for his death so she can collect her money and inheritance and live the high life with her lover Dr. Hoffman. To ensure things go as planned Hoffman hypnotizes Ernest to give all the money to Jessica. The plan works well until Ernest who is still hypnotized is dead but trapped in a limbo so hes like a zombie, he later terrorizes Jessica who cannot escape this nightmare. The film had some awesome makeup fx done by Tom Savini and George Romero's directing was very good and suspenseful and it also has a creepy ending thats quite effective.
Argento's version of The Black Cat concludes the film, Harvey Keitel stars as Roderick Usher a crime shot photographer who is driven into utter madness by his girlfriend Annabel's new pet. The cat is in need of a new home so Rod decides that its O.k. despite hesitating at first he also notices that the cat has been staring at him the whole time which makes him feel abit uneasy and agitated and soon the situation becomes worse as the cat is not friendly towards Rod, he starts strangling it to death while keeping this a secret from Jessica. He also has violent outbursts and becomes more aggressive towards people while having strange visions (I really liked the strange medieval dream sequence) and a detective who works with Rod becomes more suspicious. Argento's Black Cat definitely had its shinning moments and was the better half in my opinion. The dialogue is more superior in this segment of the film and the acting was brilliant especially from Kietel and the gore was amazing so if your a Dario Argento fan then you must see this.
Overall I would have to say that both stories were interesting and well paced so if you like Edgar Allan Poe and these two directors then you should definitely check this out. Make sure that you get the two disc edition since it has some awesome special features in it like the personal tour of Tom Savini's house."
"Life here has become ugly..."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 02/06/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"So what happens when you draw two masters of cinematic horror together to each provide their own, particular take on a couple of Edgar Allen Poe stories? Two great tastes that taste great together? Not exactly...but it is kind of fun. Originally titled Due occhi diabolici (1990), and then later called Two Evil Eyes (1991) for the American release, is comprised of two hour long segments. The first, titled "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar", was adapted and directed by George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Martin), and features Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing, Creepshow), Ramy Zada (After Midnight), Bingo O'Malley (Knightriders, Creepshow), and E.G. Marshall (12 Angry Men, Tora! Tora! Tora!). The second, titled "The Black Cat", adapted and directed by Dario `Visconti of Violence' Argento (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Suspiria), features Harvey Keitel (Reservoir Dogs, The Piano), Madeleine Potter (Slaves of New York), Sally Kirkland (Fatal Games), Martin Balsam (12 Angry Men, Psycho), and John Amos (The Beastmaster, Die Hard 2), probably best known to 1970s television fans as the no nonsense patriarchal figure James Evans, Sr. from the series "Good Times".
The movie starts with a short dedication to Poe, including a shot of his grave (or, at least a reasonable facsimile), just so we, the audience, are aware the material featured in this film was stolen...er, I mean, adapted from the works of Edgar Allen Poe. After this we kick into the tale titled "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar". Adrienne Barbeau plays Jessica Valdemar, an older, still highly attractive woman who is currently scheming with her sickly husband's physician, Dr. Robert Hoffman (Ramy), to bilk the her dying husband Ernest (O'Malley) out of as much money as they can, by using hypnosis to get him to sign important documents and such. Well, things go slightly awry after the old codger croaks sooner than expected, so the pair put him in cold storage, namely the freezer in the basement (who's up for some ice cream?) until they can see their plans all the way through. Only thing is, the geezer died while still under hypnosis...so what? Well, it also seems now, besides being a Popsicle, he's stuck between two worlds, that of the living and that of the dead. After Ernest starts vocalizing his predicament and freaking everyone out, Jessica decides to take matters into her own hands, which raises the question how can you kill what's already dead? The next story, titled "The Black Cat", features Harvey Keitel as Roderick Usher, a photographer who specializes in still life, often working with the local police documenting gristly crime scenes. Anyway, one day his live-in, witchy woman girlfriend Annabel, played by Potter, brings home a black cat. Well, turns out Roderick and the cat don't get along, as the cat has an unnerving habit of sitting and staring at Roderick. Soon the cat goes missing, Annabel is inconsolable, and Roderick is less than sympathetic. After a bizarre medieval dream sequence, one in which Roderick is punished with a sharpened pole inserted into a very uncomfortable place, the couple's relationship deteriorates quickly, not helped by Roderick's love for the drink, eventually leading to Annabel deciding to split...and split she does when Roderick comes home with a snootful and takes to her with a meat cleaver. After a bit of creative dry walling, Roderick conceals his crime, but the cat, which has since returned, sees all, and remembers even more...
Of the two tales featured here, I enjoyed Argento's more...both include better than expected production values, strong performers, and solid source material, but where Romero's piece seems a little tired and, well, trite, Argento's piece is a bit more substantial, flowing, and visually entertaining (not to mention visceral). I can't help but wonder if perhaps Ms. Barbeau taking one for the team by popping her top would have helped Romero's story...it couldn't have hurt...as far as the story itself, it's sort of similar to that segment titled "Something to Tide You Over", featuring Leslie Nielsen and Ted Danson, from the 1982 film Creepshow, as both included a re-animated corpse slumping around, seeking vengeance from those who wronging it prior to it becoming a corpse. The effects are excellent, but the adaptation lacks the punch I was expecting. There did seem a half-hearted effort to create something meaningful between the two main characters, specifically in terms of the pair seeing each other at their worst, and the subsequent effect this had on their relationship (murder's always been a turn off for me), but it never really developed into anything noteworthy. Seems like George had a couple of novel ideas, ones that he then filled in the rest of the story around. The bit at the end was definitely fresh, with the apparitions and the lighting, but not worth the price of admission. E.G. Marshall and Tom Atkins make limited appearances as a lawyer and a police detective, respectively. Argento's piece, on the other hand, comes across a bit stronger, despite the fact it includes an outlandish dream sequence, a tactic I generally despise, as it usually comes off as an effort to pad out the running time or introduce some crucial aspect to the story in a ridiculous manner. This one's set during medieval times, as we see a lot of people running around in ratty clothes, bad hair, and even worse teeth...oh, and look, there's a little person (is that the correct term nowadays? I'd say dwarf, but I need no blowback from the various midget/dwarf support organizations out there). Everyone knows a dream sequence just isn't a dream sequence without a little person, clad in strange garb, running around and cackling like a little a-hole...if you feel this way you should see the film Living in Oblivion (1995), but I digress...one of the reason's Argento's piece comes across as well as it does is because his eye towards hideous detail, his focus on vivid imagery, and his willingness to draw the audience's attention towards nasty, unpleasant things we might normally steer away from...overall the performances are solid, but I had a hard time swallowing Keitel's stereotypical beret wearing, pretentious, jazz listening, booze swilling, bohemian artist type character. The funniest bits for me were after the fact, as he tries to explain the subsequent absence of his girlfriend to the neighbors and her friends (apparently she was well-liked). Keitel's character was about the worst liar I've ever seen. The story flowed along nicely, and ended with a few, gruesome and welcomed twists.
The picture quality, presented in widescreen (1.85:1) anamorphic, on this Blue Underground DVD release, is very sharp, and the audio excellent. There are a few different audio tracks to choose from, including Dolby Digital Surround EX, 6.1 DTS - ES, and Dolby Digital Surround 2.0. As far as extras, it depends which version you purchase (there are two). If you buy the single disc version you'll get a theatrical trailer, a poster and still gallery, and biographies for the directors. If you get the double disc version, you'll get what I've already mentioned plus four featurettes. The first is titled `Two Masters' Eyes', and it's basically series of interviews strung together, lasting about a half hour, followed by a bit about Savini's effects (12 mins), At Home with Tom Savini (16 mins), and lastly Adrienne Barbeau talking about George Romero (5 mins). There's some interesting stuff in the two disc version, but not interesting enough for me to recommend to someone to pony up the extra cost over the single disc version...at the end of the day both versions feature the exact, same film.
TWO EVIL STORIES
Anton Ilinski | Moscow, Russia | 10/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Two Evil Eyes" is loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe's stories "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar" and "The Black Cat". The first one was directed by George Romero and the second - by Dario Argento. Romero's segment came out to be pretty poor to my opinion. He always specialized on low budget trashy horror and among the pictures he did really well I can only mention his "...of the dead" quadrilogy. So here he did his usual job and as a result we have received a rather midiocre novel. Argento's segment on contrary is outstanding. This was the first working experience on American soil for the Italian master. Dario's genius and American money and scale did their best. Although "The Black Cat" is different from previous Argento works it's still very remarkable. Dark and gruesome, this story will give you creeps for sure. It tells about a crime scenes photographer who commites a terrible crime himself and tries to cover up all the traces. Although we know he's a criminal we feel compassion towards him and watch anxiously how his lies get him deeper and deeper into new lies and how police circles him tighter and tighter. The story is extremely intense and is aggravated by terrible nightmares the photographer suffers at night. Of course I have to mention Harvy Keitel's work. Without any doubt it's one of the best of his roles. "Two Evil Eyes" is rather little-known and that's a pity, I can't understand why it is so underestimated. If you haven't seen it, buy it - the film won't be a disappointment. Romero's half will be a decent appetizer while Argento's - a real main course."