10 July 2007 | Witchfinder-General-666
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!