Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Madeleine Potter as Annabel
TWO EVIL EYES (1990). Directors: George Romero and Dario Argento.

Dario Argento and George Romero directed the two sequences of Two Evil Eyes, a film inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe; Argento helmed "The Black Cat" and Romero did "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar." In the Argento segment Harvey Keitel [Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore] plays a crime scene photographer named Rod Usher (the first scene has him photographing a woman who's been cut in half by a pendulum, which is never explained or mentioned again) who has an abusive relationship with his girlfriend, Annabel (Madeleine Potter). Usher seems to become increasingly unhinged not so much because she has a handsome young friend named Christian (Holter Graham) but because of her attachment to her beautiful black cat. This leads up to a tragedy and an ironic conclusion. Romero's segment features Adrienne Barbeau as the wife of an aged and dying man of great wealth, whose doctor (Ramy Zada) not only hypnotizes him into compliance but does his best to keep the old man alive until they can claim his considerable fortune. Both segments are suspenseful, very entertaining, well-done and well-acted by the entire cast; "Valdemar" is especially creepy. The supporting cast includes John Amos as a detective, E. G. Marshall as a lawyer, and Martin Balsam and Kim Hunter [The Seventh Victim] as neighbors of Keitel. In an in-joke Balsam approaches the staircase in Usher's house and for a second you think he's going to climb it as he did in Psycho. One could argue that the film doesn't have that much to do with Poe's stories, but the scripts do start with a basic premise [hypnotist keeps dead man alive; man walls up wife with black cat] then head in a somewhat different, if intriguing, direction. [Of course the greedy spouse and lover is not exactly new.] Argento's segment is typically gruesome, and the make up effects in Romero's segment are excellent. Pino Donaggio's score helps a lot.

Verdict: Entertaining horror flick with several nice touches and very good acting. ***.


angelman66 said...

I've never even heard of this one, but I am fascinated...I'll keep my "evil eyes" peeled for it. Looks like a great cast of many of my favorites, though I have never heard of Madeleine Potter. I like Romero's films, need to catch this one soon.
- Chris

William said...

This picture got limited distribution in the US, as with most of Argento's movies; he also produced. This was not well-received at the time, but it's actually not a bad picture.