“Rich people… Sick stuff always turns out to be rich people.”
Two Evil Eyes is a 1990 Italian-American horror film written and directed by George A. Romero and Dario Argento.
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. And “The Black Cat”, directed by Argento and starring Harvey Keitel.
“The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar.” A woman’s husband is on his deathbed, and a psychiatrist with whom she’s having an affair hypnotizes him so they can get him to sign all his money over to his wife before he dies. The husband dies when he is still in a trance and becomes stuck between the two worlds, and seeks revenge and release.
“The Black Cat.” A forensic photographer resents his girlfriend bringing a stray cat home. He dispatches the little furball, only to find out he can’t rid himself of it that easily.
Two Evil Eyes is another collaboration of the highly revered and legendary horror directors, Romero and Argento, based largely on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. An anthology movie of sorts but without the filler of lesser tales and simply focusing on two fairly simplistic stories.
I’ll begin with my favourite of the pair, The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar. A legitimately creepy vibe runs throughout this tale. The idea of dying under hypnosis and being unable to rest is a unique and terrifying idea. Alongside this souls unrest is a gold digger wife storyline, who is more complicated than she may seem. I thoroughly enjoyed unpacking their motives and actions, and came to the conclusion that although what they’re doing is morally wrong, she doesn’t hurry along his death and ensures he’s cared for so she’s certainly not evil. Additionally the Dr is a previous partner so it’s not a brand new fling that took place during his illness, but one that already existed.
Very solid acting, solid story and unbelievable effects by Tom Savini as usual. You almost believe Mr Valdemar is really frozen solid. The scene where he first speaks will always send chills down my spine.
Now onto our second half, The Black Cat. An unnerving and haunting slow burn that will linger in the mind long after the credits roll. The weaker of the two due to its abrupt ending and how unpleasant it is to watch but still a solid watch.
It’s not often that you view a film where the main character is completely irredeemable and not someone you root for in any way, shape or form. It was fascinating to see him make all the right decisions in terms of hiding the murders but to still somehow not pull it off. My favourite part was the medieval dream sequence because I’m a sucker for old fashioned, cult rituals around a blazing fire.
Again, fantastic and believable effects from Savini.
Overall, Two Evil Eyes is a highly enjoyable, creepy movie. With a little something for everyone and visuals that will haunt you in the late hours of the night. Unfortunately, I found the second half to be a little weak (how and why was he able to sell that book?!) and would have perhaps preferred them to just be their own separate movies due to “The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar” being just so damn good.
Two Evil Eyes