Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 15th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Italy / USA, 1990
Directors: George A. Romero (“The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar”), Dario Argento (“The Black Cat”)
Writers: George A. Romero (“The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar”), Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini (“The Black Cat”)
Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Ramy Zada, Bingo O’Malley, Jeff Howell, E.G. Marshall, Chuck Aber, Jonathan Adams, Tom Atkins (“The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar”), Harvey Keitel, Madeleine Potter, John Amos, Sally Kirkland, Kim Hunter, Holter Graham, Martin Balsam, Tom Savini (“The Black Cat”)
DVD released: May 10th, 2010
Approximate running time: 115 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English, Dolby Digital StereoItalian
DVD Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £15.99
The plot for Two Evil Eyes is two separate Edgar Allen Poe stories, one directed by George A. Romero and the other directed by Dario Argento. The score for Two Evil Eyes was composed by Pino Donaggio whose other notable scores include Don’t Look Now, A Whisper in the Dark, Carrie, Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Lucio Fulci’s The Black Cat, Phantom of Death, The Sect, Dario Argento’s Trauma and Do You Like Hitchcock? Tom Savini who created many of the special effects for Two Evil Eyes has a brief appearance in Dario Argento’s segment The Black Cat.
First up is George A. Romero’s take on The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar, in which a gold digging much younger wife plot’s with her lover (who also happens to be her dying husbands doctor) to bleed him dry financial before he passes on. The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar is poorly paced as the story just plods along to its inevitable conclusion. There is virtually no bloodshed and gore when it occurs, it is minimal. Despite the lackluster story, The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar features stylish direction from George A. Romero and a flawless performance from its lead actress Adrienne Barbeau.
The second story Dario Argento’s take on one of Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous stories The Black Cat. At the core of Dario Argento’s adaptation of The Black Cat, is a story about a struggling photographer whose life is turned upside down when his girlfriend brings home a Black Cat (which in turn torments him). Dario Argento’s adaption of The Black Cat is a melting pot of several Edgar Allen Poe stories, themes and characters, all built around the essence of The Black Cat. Visually The Black Cat features all the style and operatic carnage one would expect from a Dario Argento film. The little additions that Dario Argento has infused into the original source “The Black Cat”, like making the lead character that is superbly portrayed by Harvey Keitel, a photographer, greatly enhance the story. Without a doubt the best part of The Black Cat is Harvey Keitel tortured performance as Roderick Usher.
Arrow Video presents Two Evil Eyes in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Besides this release my only other exposure to this film is via Blue Underground’s DVD and BluRay releases. When compared to these two Blue Underground releases, the transfer for the Arrow Video release is very similar to those aforementioned releases.
This release comes with three audio options, Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English and Dolby Digital Stereo Italian. Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free have been included. All three audio mixes sound clear throughout. The differences between the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and the two stereo mixes are minimal at best. All three audio mixes are rather limited in range.
Extras for this release include a English language trailer for the film (1 minute 26 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). Other extras include “The Complete Dario Argento Trailer Reel” which includes the following trailers, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Cat O’ Nine Tails, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, The Five Days of Milan, Profondo Rosso, Suspiria, Inferno, Tenebre, Phenomena, Opera, Two Evil Eyes, Trauma, The Stendhal Syndrome, The Phantom of the Opera, Non Ho Sonno (Sleepless), The Card Player, Mother of Tears: The Third Mother and Dawn of the Dead. While most of his film’s are represented there are a few omissions Giallo and Do You Like Hitchcock?
Also included with this release is an eight page booklet with liner notes about the film and a essay about actress Adrienne Barbeau that were written by Calum Waddell, reversible cover art and a replica poster. Overall Two Evil Eyes gets a strong audio / video presentation from Arrow Video.