Friday, October 19, 2012

Two Evil Eyes

(1990) *****

Horror geniuses George Romero and Dario Argento combine forces in this diabolical double feature of doom!

In the first 1-hour installment, "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar" Romero tells a tale of murder and adultery when Jessica Valdemar has her husband's doctor (and her lover) forge documents to leave all his assets to her, as Mr. Valdemar only has three weeks left to live. It only seems reasonable, right? As she states to their lawyer, "I was a flight attendant that Ernie brought home off the redeye to the shock and dismay of you and everyone else. I married a rich, old man. I let him use me for pleasure and for show; and now I'm going to let him pay me for my services."
"Talk to the hand 'cause the wallet ain't listening."
Jessica's lover Robert, has not only been hired to take care of Ernie but also has a thing for hypnosis, and he is able to manipulate the rich, old man to get everything they want. Robert is under a lot of pressure as he truly loves Jessica but also recognizes that her life of privilege has caused her to prioritize her pocketbook over her feelings for him. Despite all this soap-opera plot, one must keep in mind that this is a Romero flick, and the payoff not only is satisfying but there are dead walking bodies involved, too.

The second installment, entitled "The Black Cat" was much more gruesome to watch. The major issue I have with Argento's work is that it is woman-oriented, for better or for worse. You want to root for the women when they stick up for themselves (or each other) but then your spirit is crushed as they die horrible deaths and you are reminded of the sick injustices in the world.

"The Black Cat" follows the unfortunate course of events in the lives of Rod (Harvey Keitel) and his live-in girlfriend Annabel. I don't understand why these two are together: Rod is a freelance photographer specializing in criminal photography and owns a giant house, he will do anything to get the perfect shot. Annabel, on the other hand, is into spiritual/Pagan chanting and rituals, gives violin lessons to the rich kids in the neighborhood, and attends violin recitals in the evening. It is really clear that they have no common ground except for the bedroom and for that reason I am super-critical but also understanding that if that's what makes them happy then it's none of my damn business.
Gruesome, gruesome, gruesome!
I originally gave it 3 stars for the soap-opera quality of "Valdemar" and nastiness with which women are tortured and killed in "Black Cat," but after some considerable contemplation, Two Evil Eyes holds up (especially after viewing a bunch of horror crap). As a child I loved reading all the Edgar Allan Poe stories I could and have a great appreciation for his poems. The fact that Two Evil Eyes contains elements of suspense as an homage to Poe (specifically, "The Tell-Tale Heart" and my favorite, "The Cask of Amontillado") -- I actually squealed with delight upon hearing the name Annabel in this movie.

Here, nerdcore artist MC Lars raps about Annabel Lee:


Catfreeek said...

This is a really good anthology film, nice pick.

AC said...

i tend not to like twofers but may need to make an exception for this.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Are there any other twofers in existence?

Glad you liked this one Crystal! I wish Argento and Romero collaborated more often.

DCD said...

Wow, what a duo! For an anthology, of sorts, it sounds really good!

Octopunk said...

The other weird thing about Argento is how often the woman in question is his daughter.

This sounds like something I'll need to watch someday.