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Two Evil Eyes (Limited Edition) [Import]

Adrienne Barbeau , Harvey Keitel , Dario Argento , George A. Romero    R (Restricted)   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Legendary horror directors George Romero and Dario Argento team up to direct a pair of short films inspired by the writing of Edgar Allen Poe. In Romero's story, a woman (Adrienne Barbeau) and her lover hypnotize her ailing, older husband into signing over his riches. But when he dies while still under their command, his soul haunts them, seeking to be freed from their hypnotic spell. In Argento's tale, a crime-scene photographer (Harvey Keitel) kills his live-in girlfriend in a fit of jealous rage, but her black cat continues to torment him after her death. While Romero's piece toys with horror conventions and Argento's plays out in his typically elongated fashion, their dramatic story lines, unexpectedly gruesome imagery, and ironic endings shock some life into the movie. It is rumored that this was originally meant to be a quartet of horror tales with contributions from Wes Craven and John Carpenter, but at least we got these two. --Bryan Reesman

Product Description

The masters of modern horror - George Romero and Dario Argento - bring you an unprecedented pair of shockers inspired by the tales of Edgar Allan 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?


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two horror greats in one film. March 26 2004
Format:DVD
While George A. Romero and Dario Argento worked together on the production of Dawn of the Dead, this was the first movie the two actually 'worked' on together as directors. Each contributed a short film based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe. Romero adapted The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar while Argento chose The Black Cat. Romero's comes first and it is routine EC comic style stuff, solidly made yet hampered by pacing that is a tad too methodical. But the payoff is worth the trip and the cast (Adrienne Barbeau, Ramy Zada, and Bingo O' Malley) contribute nice work. Argento's segment is far more energetic, a surreal trip into madness as a crime scene photographer (Harvey Keitel) is driven by his art to kill his live-in girlfriend's black cat. Of course the cat returns, again and again, and things get even worse in that surreal nightmare way that only Argento can pull off. Not content to just adapt The Black Cat, Argento also tosses in references to other Poe stories; namely The Pit and The Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart, Bernice, and several characters have famous Poe names (Usher, Pym, etc.). If he didn't go overboard, then he wouldn't be Argento, now would he? Blue Underground has done another first rate job with this wonderful disc. The maligned movie has never looked or sounded this good and the extras are more than worth the bonus disc. Romero and/or Argento fans will love it. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I have to confess: I was thrilled beyond words when I heard Blue Underground was releasing this 1991 collaboration between two of my favorite horror masters, George Romero and Dario Argento. I bought the DVD sight-unseen, having only seen a few snippets of sequences from the second story in this two-movie collection, Argento's adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Black Cat".
I had seen those snippets as part of a larger Argento documentary called "Dario Argento: an Eye for Horror"---and they were ghoulish indeed! Harvey Keitel impaled on a stake? Mewling, hairless baby cats walled up with a gore-caked corpse, 'Cask of Amontillado' style? The gruesome final finishing touch---death by merciless, razor-sharp pendulum---that even Poe himself had shied away from?
I had to have it, just for the Argento work alone! As for the Romero adaptation of "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar", well how could you lose, with the evil mastermind behind "Night of the Living Dead" helming up a short movie about a miser left in hypnosis after death?
Blue Underground has done an excellent job with their Limited Edition DVD: the DVDs themselves are nicely decorated with two of the more chilling sequences from the film, and the material on the bonus DVD (including---hey!---a tour of make-up guru Tom Savini's home!)is worth the price of admission alone. It's a handsome DVD, and a nice addition to any horror movie aficionado's collection.
As for the movies---well, they're not what I had expected, highly uneven, and not the best examples of either Argento or Romero's work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good horror, great directors July 27 2003
Format:DVD
This movie is based on the writings of Poe. The first film is okay. It drags a little, but once things pick up it gets very interesting. The second film is probably the BEST horror short ever made. If you're a fan of episode horror films, (Creepshow, Trilogy Of Terror and the like), then this is a MUST HAVE DVD. The extras alone are worth the purchase. It's a limited edition, so make sure you snag it up before it's gone!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
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.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Underrated. 4.5 stars. Oct. 24 2004
By General Zombie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
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.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Animal-Handling AND Masonry: Components for Perfection Dec 16 2003
By TorridlyBoredShopper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
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.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A horrific pair of tales Jan. 3 2001
By "mwrangel" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Okay, let's get something straight...George Romero's episode wasn't THAT bad. It just pales incomparison with Argento's episode (AKA: the second story).
Romero's simplistic episode is genuinely creepy ("Wake me!"). Adrienne Barbeau's energetic performance, as the adultress gold diging wife, and a cool set design make for a very entertainingly spooky horror episode. What hurts this episode is perhaps the fact is that the story is a very tired one. A revenge of a dead husband plot is one story that's been overused to death(no pun intended).
The second story, however, takes a Poe story that is known to be overused and takes it to another level. With the help from a script by Dario Argento and Franco Ferrini, brilliant direction from Argento, an exellent performance from Harvey Keitel, and an above average supporting cast you've got one hell of a story of a man obsessed with crime, murder, and a black cat with a white mark on it's neck.
Incidentally, this movie got me interested in the works of Dario Argento.
Interesting movie. Great directors.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Life here has become ugly..." Feb. 6 2006
By cookieman108 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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.

Cookieman108
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TWO EVIL STORIES Oct. 8 2005
By Anton Ilinski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"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.
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