TWO EVIL EYES (1990) Reviews and overview

 

‘When I wake you… you’ll be dead.”

Two Evil Eyes – aka Due occhi diabolici – is a 1990 Italian-American supernatural horror feature film, written and directed by Dario Argento and George A. Romero. The pair had previously worked together on the hugely popular and influential Dawn of the Dead in 1978.

The film is split into two separate tales, both based largely on the works of Edgar Allan Poe: “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”, directed by Romero and starring Adrienne Barbeau, showcases his traditional mix of horror with social commentary, especially about capitalism, and “The Black Cat”, directed by Argento and starring Harvey Keitel, which blends a number of Poe references into a new narrative.

Both of the tales were filmed, and take place, in contemporary Pittsburgh. Romero collaborator Tom Savini provided the film’s special effects and appears briefly in “The Black Cat” episode playing a serial killer who looks like Edgar Allan Poe himself.

New release:

Blue Underground is releasing Two Evil Eyes on Blu-ray, transferred in 4K from the uncensored original camera negative, on October 29, 2019. The 3-disc set also includes a CD with the soundtrack score by Pino Donaggio.

Disc 1 (Blu-ray) Feature Film + Extras:

  • New! Audio Commentary with Troy Howarth, Author of Murder By Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Poster & Still Gallery

Disc 2 (Blu-ray) Extras:

  • Two Masters’ Eyes – Interviews with Directors Dario Argento & George Romero, Special Make-Up Effects Supervisor Tom Savini, Executive Producer Claudio Argento, and Asia Argento
  • Savini’s EFX – A Behind-the-Scenes look at the film’s Special Make-Up Effects
  • At Home With Tom Savini – A personal tour of Tom Savini’s home
  • Adrienne Barbeau on George Romero
  • New! Before I Wake – Interview with Star Ramy Zada
  • New! Behind The Wall – Interview with Star Madeleine Potter
  • New! One Maestro And Two Masters – Interview with Composer Pino Donaggio
  • New! Rewriting Poe – Interview with Co-Writer Franco Ferrini
  • New! The Cat Who Wouldn’t Die – Interview with Assistant Director Luigi Cozzi
  • New! Two Evil Brothers – Interview with Special Make-Up Assistant Everett Burrell
  • New! Working With George – Interview with Costume Designer Barbara Anderson

Disc 3 (CD):

  • Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Pino Donaggio

Bonus materials are a collectable booklet with a new essay by Michael Gingold and a lenticular slipcover (First Pressing Only)

Reviews:

“Argento’s film is, without question, the more stylish of the two, in both structure (there are moments when we get a “cat’s-eye” view of the action, with the camera scampering around on the ground) and story…” Dave Becker, 2,500 Movies Challenge

“Romero and Argento came together here with their tribute to the writing of Edgar Allen Poe. But rather than directly recreate his work in period setting, Two Evil Eyes gives us their personal modernised take on Poe, with contemporary settings and a very 80′s take on horror. And while the results hardly rank among the greatest work of either director, they’re still interesting and noteworthy films.” Brutal As Hell

“Argento may not be on top form with The Black Cat – it is intriguing rather than riveting, and it lacks the originality and all-out visceral thrills of his other work – but his half of the film is competent, to the extent that it thoroughly embarrasses Romero’s contributions. Two Evil Eyes is, overall, a flawed but watchable package, with a strong second half almost making up for the feeble first instalment.” Michael Mackenzie, The Digital Fix 

“The Romero half was singled out for scorn by some critics, but its methodical pace worked on this reviewer. Argento’s segment is visually stylish but its characters are murkily defined, though the sum of its parts makes it worthwhile by the end, which in addition has several clever twists.” Stuart Galbraith IV, DVD Talk

“Undoubtedly, Argento’s contribution is the more lively of the two. There’s more action, there’s more blood, and it feels less like another walk on familiar ground. Harvey Keitel gives a performance that’s appropriately slimy, violent, and infuriating. Romero’s visuals tend to be on the more subtle side, whereas Argento concocts original camera tricks and outrageous gore shots.” Final Girl

“Uneven, Two Evil Eyes never hits all the marks it could, but it’s nonetheless a solid effort which will appeal to genre lovers.” The Terror Trap

Release:

With an estimated budget of $11 million, Two Evil Eyes bombed at the US box office, taking just $349,618.

Cast and characters:

Adrienne Barbeau … Jessica Valdemar (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
Ramy Zada … Doctor Robert Hoffman (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
Bingo O’Malley … Ernest Valdemar (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
Jeff Howell … Policeman (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
E.G. Marshall … Steven Pike (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
Harvey Keitel … Roderick Usher (segment “The Black Cat”)
Madeleine Potter … Annabel (segment “The Black Cat”)
John Amos … Det. Legrand (segment “The Black Cat”)
Sally Kirkland … Eleonora (“The Black Cat”)
Kim Hunter … Mrs Pym (segment “The Black Cat”)
Holter Graham … Christian (segment “The Black Cat”) (as Holter Ford Graham)
Martin Balsam … Mr Pym (segment “The Black Cat”)
Chuck Aber … Mr Pratt (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
Jonathan Adams … Hammer (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
Tom Atkins … Det. Grogan (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
Mitchell Baseman … Boy at Zoo (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
Julie Benz … Betty (segment “The Black Cat”)
Barbara Bryne … Martha (segment “The Black Cat”)
Mario Caputo
Lanene Charters … Bonnie (segment “The Black Cat”)
Bill Dalzell … Detective (as Bill Dalzell III)
Anthony Dileo Jr. … Taxi Driver (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
Christine Forrest … Nurse (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
J.R. Hall … 2nd Policeman (segment “The Black Cat”)
Scott House … 3rd Policeman (segment “The Black Cat”)
James MacDonald … Luke (segment “The Black Cat”) (as James G. MacDonald)
Charles McPherson
Larry John Meyers … Old Man (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
Jeff Monahan
Fred Moore
Christina Romero … Mother at Zoo (segment “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar”)
Peggy McIntaggart … Young Policewoman (segment “The Black Cat”) (as Peggy Sanders)
Ben Tatar
Lou Valenzi … Editor (segment “The Black Cat”)
Jeffrey Wild … Delivery Man (segment “The Black Cat”)
Ted Worsley … Desk Editor (segment “The Black Cat”)
Jonathan Sachar … Officer Brian (segment “The Black Cat”) (uncredited)
Tom Savini … The Monomaniac (segment “The Black Cat”) (uncredited)

Technical details:

120 minutes
Audio: Dolby | Dolby (Dolby 5.1)
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Trailer: