Two Evil Eyes (1990)

Adrienne Barbeau, Harvey Keitel, Ramy Zada, Bingo O'Malley,
Two horror tales based on short stories by Edgar Allan Poe directed by two famous horror directors, George A. Romero and Dario Argento. A greedy wife kills her husband, but not completely. A sleazy reporter adopts a strange black...
  • 6.0 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Franco Ferrini, Peter Koper, Edgar Allan Poe, Writer:
  • Dario Argento, George A. Romero, Director:
  • Achille Manzotti, Producer:
/ 10

7 / 10

Not The Masterpiece One Might Expect From Romero/Argento, But Certainly Good Horror

When the two greatest Horror directors alive (and two of the greatest of all-time), George A. Romero and Dario Argento make a movie together, a fan of Horror might rightly hope for a masterpiece. "Due Occhi Diabolici" aka. "Two Evil Eyes" from 1990 features two separate 1 hour films based on the work of Edgar Alan Poe, "The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdemar", directed by Romero, and "The Black Cat" directed by Argento. "Two Evil Eyes" is certainly great entertainment and a pleasant Horror experience, however it does not quite come up to the high expectations one might have of a film by these two brilliant directors. It must be said, however, that it may be very difficult for a Poe-themed movie to impress me after Roger Corman's brilliant Poe-cycle from the sixties, starring my all-time favorite actor, the great Horror icon Vincent Price. These films, such as "Pit And The Pendulum", "The Haunted Palace" and "Masque Of The Red Death" (just to name the three most ingenious masterpieces of this brilliant cycle) are essential all-time Horror greats, no Poe-themed film has ever come close to those flicks, and it is very unlikely that any ever will.

The second segment, Argento's "The Black Cat" is, in my opinion, a lot better than Romero's "Mr. Valdemar", not only for the fact that one of the greatest living actors, Harvey Keitel, plays the lead, but also since it is far more twisted and atmospheric.

"The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdemar", mainly based on Poe's short story of the same name, tells the tale of a woman named Jessica (Adrienne Barbeau), who, alongside her ex-lover (Ramy Zada), is willing to do quite anything to inherit the entire property of her terminally ill older husband (Bingo O Malley)... The 1 hour segment has some very eerie moments, and a chilling atmosphere over-all. As mentioned above, however, Roger Corman handled the same topic with a lot more depth in 30 minutes as the final segment of "Tales Of Terror" (1962). Admittedly, Corman had a brilliant cast, Vincent Price, Basil Rathbone and Debra Paget.

"The Black Cat", is also mainly based on Poe's short of the same name. However, this second segment furthermore contains elements from certain other Poe works. A crime-scene photographer with a familiar name, Roderick Usher (Harvey Keitel) and his younger girlfriend Annabel (Madeleine Porter) live happily together in a nice old building. Until one day Anabel takes a black cat home... The second segment is highly atmospheric, nightmarish and very eerie, and crowned by Harvey Keitel's leading performance.

All said, "Two Evil Eyes" is neither a highlight of Romero's nor Argento's career, however it is still a good film. Let's not forget we're talking about two geniuses here! If you set your expectations too high and expect a masterpiece of the brilliance of "Night Of The Living Dead" Or "Suspiria" you'll be disappointed. Nevertheless, this is great Horror entertainment. Just keep in mind that you're not about to watch something comparable to Romero's or Argento's masterpieces in quality, and you will have a great time as a Horror fan. My rating: 6/10 for Romero's segment and 8/10 for Argento's segment, makes an overall 7/10. Recommended!

8 / 10

Two Creepy Stories by Edgar Allan Poe and Directed by Two Masters of Horror

"Two Evil Eyes" is a creepy movie with two segments directed by two masters of horror, George A. Romero and Dario Argento, and based on short stories by Edgar Allan Poe.

"The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar": The gold-digger Jessica Valdemar (Adrienne Barbeau) and her lover Dr. Robert Hoffman (Ramy Zada) plot a scheme to take the money of her old and terminal husband Ernest Valdemar (Bingo O'Malley). Robert has hypnotized Valdemar to give his money to Jessica. Out of the blue, Valdemar dies while hypnotized and is stranded between the world of the living and the dead. Robert finds the experience fascinating and Valdemar asks him to take him out of the trance since other spirits are stalking him. However Jessica shots the corpse of Valdemar twice expecting to finish his contact with the world of the living. But soon she learns that Valdemar had been already possessed by evil forces. This segment is based on a creepy and macabre tale of greedy with a weird and bizarre conclusion.

"The Black Cat": In Pennsylvania, the tabloid photographer Roderick Usher (Harvey Keitel) that explores gruesome crime scenes where Detective Legrand (John Amos) is investigating. Rod has been living for four years with his girlfriend Annabel (Madeleine Potter), who is a violinist. When she brings a stray black cat home, Rod immediately hates the animal. Soon Rod takes photos torturing the cat for his book and the cat vanishes. When Annabel sees the photos of the cat in a bookstore, she concludes that Rod killed her cat and she decides to leave him. Meanwhile Rod finds a stray cat in a bar identical to the one he killed and the owner Eleonora (Sally Kirkland) gives the animal to him. Annabel is leaving the house but she overhears the cat and returns to her room. Rod kills her and builds a wall to hide her body behind a bookshelf and prepares a solid alibi. But his fate is doomed by the black cat. This segment has a great version of the well-know tale by Edgar Allan Poe. Harvey Keitel has a magnificent performance and the direction of Dario Argento is top-notch.

My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Dois Olhos Satanicos" ("Two Satanic Eyes")

7 / 10

delivers, up to a point, for both sets of fans; it's Poe with a chaser of slightly modern twists

It's always tricky to evaluate a filmmaker when at work on a film that is in an in-between realm of short and feature. Actually, by technical ruling (or what would be considered by most festivals), it is feature-length with each segment. But I found Two Evil Eyes an underrated effort, after reading many mixed reviews (many leaning to the lesser side for especially Romero's film, and some faint praise for Argento's). The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar and The Black Cat are not the tippy-toppest best for either filmmaker, and for Romero it's a strange kind of quasi-conventional experiment while Argento stays in somewhat familiar territory. Each has its own strengths, own weaknesses, and it's a fine little treat.

'Valdemar': This starts with the veneer of what comes in the range of something like a cross between daytime Soap and a 40s melodrama. A woman (Adrienne Barbeau) married Mr. Valdemar late in life, and as he's about to die (and soon does) she stands to collect a load of money with her cuckold- a smooth operating doctor who has a knack for hypnosis.

What unfolds after his death, and their cover-up in order to secure more funds, is something still like a 'living-dead' movie for the director, but more psychological in head-games and, to be sure, a faithfulness to the Poe source. It is a peculiar feat to adjust to in seeing Romero, at least in the first half hour, directing more like an old pro of the studio era than with his trademark panache in editing and shocks.

This time he brings on the dread in a gradual fashion, built on guilt and paranoia, and then as Valdemar is in that freezer, a Gothic form of psychosis: two people stuck with a body, and a voice, they can't get rid of and become absorbed with. I liked it a lot- maybe more than I should have from what I read (the 'Soap' argument against it I read before, though Romero does try to give his actors more to work with than any hack would)- as it preys on the fear of death as not a final measure, with one last wicked kick in the nuts with that bed scene. Top shelf Romero? Not quite, but it's still oddly gripping, like a polished piece of clichés giving way to a wild head game of "old-school" horror.

8/10 'Black Cat': Argento's dip in the Poe pool goes to the lengths that he as a director always goes to: elaborate-to-the-Italian-horror degree style in camera and deranged horror, and even bits of dark horror that almost make Poe seem tame. I can't say how much this is tied into Poe more than I can Valdemar, but try as I might I couldn't see this as being totally peak Argento either, despite (or almost in spite of) everything he has going for it. Like Valdemar, it's about someone not coping with life after death; a photographer (Keitel) into the macabre, with a (color me shocked Argento) violinist girlfriend, has a black cat, whom the photographer strangles while taking some provocative photos. She knows he's behind it, but he can't stop himself- he needs another cat- just like the old cat- which will meet some grisly consequences.

Keitel's always game for something like this part, which plays like his Bad Lieutenant gone Grand Guignol, which makes for one of the best pleasures of the project. He doesn't have a whole lot of range in the role, but it's a fun one for him, chewing on the meat that Argento throws out for him scene after scene. Argento, meanwhile, even for *him* overdoes it with the horror music in certain scenes, and dares to go to too much excess with the symbolism of the white spots on the cat. But it's totally a wonder to see that dream sequence, where Keitel is in the midst of a medieval Pagan sacrifice, with a sharp cut-away in the most violent bit.

And I loved the pleasure that Argento takes in enlivening Poe's macabre with his own, with the violence extending from mania into the visual. I had my complaints at times, but it's hard to not throw up one's hands with Argento and say "why carp!" when he's unabashed in his passions of mostly constant camera movement (tracking, cranes, close-ups, pans, you-name-it) and illogical steps in plot (i.e. why Keitel's character would even put out a book with cat deaths knowing his girlfriend might see them, let alone so soon).

8/10 Bottom line, fans of the directors should check out the films, and decide for themselves how they do. It's two tall tales of curses and death, derangement and the surreal, and it's a concoction worth at least one viewing.

8 / 10

Worth Seeing for Argento film than Romero film.

These two tales of horror are inspired by the work of Edgar Allan Poe. The Two Tales are titled "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar" and "The Black Cat". "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar" is written and directed by George A. Romero (Bruiser, The Dark Half). "The Black Cat" is directed by Dario Argento (The Stendhal Syndrome, Trauma).

"The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar". The story is about a conniving wife (Adrienne Barbeau) and her lover (Ramy Zada) use a hypnotic trance to embezzle a fortune from her dying husband (Bingo O'Malley). His wife and her lover are receiving surprises messages from the behind the grave, when her husband died unexpectedly.

"The Black Cat". The story is about a talented but unfocused photographer (Harvey Keitel) is driven into madness, when his girlfriend's (Madeleine Potter) new pet. This man is driven to brutal acts of crimes and murder.

Romero's take on "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar" is a mix of high camp, heavy handed and some real silliness but what it makes it watchable is the good performances by the three leads:Barbeau, Zada and O'Malley. E.G. Marshall has a small role. Romero's wife:Christine Forrest and Tom Atkins appears in Cameos.

Argento's take on "The Black Cat" is near perfect. Harvey Keitel gives a powerful performance and this one hour film is a study of obsession. The only fault is the shortcoming conclusion. This story has a good cast like Sally Kirkland, Martin Balsam, John Amos and Kim Hunter. This is One of Argento's best works as a director. Written by the director and Franco Ferrini (Demons).

Blue Underground did an excellent job of doing an newly transferred from an original vault negative on this two-disc set. Also the sound is been remastered to Dolby Digital 5.1 EX Surround Sound (Also in DTS 6.1 ES Surround Sound). The DVD has the original theatrical trailer, poster & still gallery and talent bios. The film features grisly terrific make-up effects by Tom Savini and great music score by Pino Donaggio (Carrie, Dressed to Kill, The Howling). Disc two has an entertaining featurette with interviews by Romero, Argento, Savini and vintage interview with an young 14 year-old Asia Argento. Second Disc also has 12 minute featurette with Savini about the F/X work, other Savini featurette showing parts of his house back in the late 1980's and an outtake from "Document of the Dead" with interview with actress Barbeau.

This independent production was briefly released into theaters in the U.S but become a wild horror hit in Europe. This is a Cult Film. I would really love to see Dario Argento's take on "The Black Cat" as a full length two hour film. Imagine what would Argento could have done with that. George A. Romero's "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar" rates (*** ?/*****). and Dario Argento's "The Black Cat" rates (**** ?/*****). Both films rates together (****/*****). Do not miss this forgotten horror stories done by Two Talented Directors.