Due Occhi Diabolici
Two Evil Eyes
Edgar Allan Poe
Italy / USA 1990
Achille Manzotti, Claudio Argento (executive), Dario Argento (executive) for ADC Films, Gruppo Bema
directed by George A. Romero (segment The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar), Dario Argento (segment The Black Cat)
starring segment The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar: Adrienne Barbeau, Ramy Zada, Bingo O'Malley, Jeff Howell, E.G. Marshall, Chuck Aber, Jonathan Adams, Tom Atkins, Mitchell Baseman, Anthony Dileo jr, Christine Forrest; segment The Black Cat: Harvey Keitel, Madeleine Potter, John Amos, Sally Kirkland, Kim Hunter, Holter Graham, Martin Balsam, Julie Benz, Barbara Bryne, Lanene Charters, Bill Dalzell, J.R. Hall, Scott House, James MacDonald
screenplay by George A. Romero (segment The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar), Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini (segment The Black Cat), based on the short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, music by Pino Donaggio, special makeup effects by Tom Savini
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, Edgar Allan Poe's Black Cat
- The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar: Old Ernest Valdemar
(Bingo O'Malley) is dying - and his younger wife Jessica (Adrienne
Barbeau) just can't wait to get her hands on his fortune. So she has
hired young and attractive Dr. Hoffman (Ramy Zada) to not only treat
Valdemar but also put him under hypnosis to sign over more and more
assets to her - and the good doctor is quite so willing to do just
that because he's also Jessica's lover, and just as much into money as
she is. Then though Valdemar dies a bit prematurely, and Jessica and
doc Hoffman decide to hush his death up for a few days and siphon more
and more money off his estate that would otherwise be bound in a legal
battle over the inheritance. Thing is, Valdemar has died while under
hypnosis, and now something inside of him is still alive - and he's
miffed at Jessica and Dr. Hoffman and wants his revenge, as a walking
Movie legend E.G. Marshall plays Valdemar's suspicious attorney.
- The Black Cat: The relationship between photographer Rod
(Harvey Keitel) and violinist Annabel (Madeleine Potter) seemed to be
perfect, so much so that their neighbours were convinced they were
actually married - until one day, Annabel brings home a black cat, to
which Rod takes an instant disliking, so much so actually that he
makes the cat the "star" for a few of his photos, in which
he seemingly murders the animal. These photos make it into Rod's
latest book, and when Annabel, sick with worry over the whereabouts of
her cat, sees them, she labels him a cat killer and decides to leave
him - but the two get into a fight, and Rod kills Annabel. Of course,
he doesn't want to go to jail for this, so he walls her up, covers all
the tracks, and for a while gets away with it just fine. Then he
starts hearing sounds from behind the wall where Annabel's body's
hidden - and it's the cat of course. In a fit of rage, Rod kills the
cat quite brutally and patches up the wall again. A few days later a
couple of cops stop by to inquire the whereabouts of Annabel, but
Rod's story is rock solid - until again noises from behind the wall
are heard ...
Legendary Sally Kirkland plays a barmaid who at one point finds the
black cat to hand it to Rod.
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Now I think I'll run into little resistance when I dub George A. Romero
and Dario Argento two pioneers and masters of modern horror - so of course
it's mighty interesting to see them adapt two of one of horror's greatest
writers Edgar Allan Poe's short stories for the screen - no matter what
the outcome really. And the outcome - well, Two Evil Eyes is
neither Romero's nor Argento's greatest movie, maybe not even in the top
five ... but it's still good entertainment: Romero actually tells his
story with a classic horror vibe (what with its old school musical score
and old dark house feel), with Tales
from the Crypt-like twists to it, which might not be
super-inspired but fun to watch. Argento on the other hand scales back his
visual excesses a tad and lets his segment rest on lead Harvey Keitel's
shoulders mostly - which is of course an excellent choice -, but features
enough shocks and a gruesome finale to keep horror fans happy. So the film
might not be a masterpiece - but it's very entertaining indeed!
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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Robots and rats,
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