Two Evil Eyes
Directors: Dario Argento, George A. Romero
Writers: Edgar Allan Poe, George A. Romero, Franco Ferrini, Dario Argento, Peter Koper
Stars: Adrienne Barbeau, Harvey Keitel, Ramy Zada
“Rich people. The sick stuff always turns out to be rich people.”
Initial: I was going to lay off the anthology movies, but then I remembered about Two Evil Eyes. Argento! Romero! Poe!
Production Notes: Adrienne Barbeau’s second appearance on my list. Also, this was the first acting job for Julie Benz.
What Did I Think:
Poe adaptations are always…entertaining. Many of the AIP/Roger Corman adaptations shared titles with Poe stories, but not much else. Dario Argento was interested in doing either an anthology movie with more collaborators or a Poe cable show, but neither of those projects worked out. Instead, we have Two Evil Eyes, giving us somewhat faithful-ish adaptations of two Poe stories. Each “episode” is an hour long and set in contemporary Pittsburgh (a very Poe-appropriate detail).
The first episode is directed by George Romero. It is based on “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” which is less of a story in its original form than an eerie report of a hypnosis experiment. But it does involve a mostly undead guy, putting it solidly in Romero’s wheelhouse. The story is updated to include a gold-digging wife whose lover is a hypnosis dilettante.
The second story is Argento’s, based on “The Black Cat.” The bones of the original story are there accompanied by many references to other Poe stories. For example, Harvey Keitel plays our “protagonist” a crime scene photographer. The first job we see him on is the investigation of a woman who has been cut in half by a huge, bladed pendulum. Oh, and his name is Rod Usher.
Both stories have a large helping of gore, a modicum of over-acting, and a fairly annoying score. Hey, it was the 90s!