Blu-ray Review: TWO EVIL EYES

Blue Underground releases a deluxe edition 3-disc set of an Argento/Romero classic

One of the great things about the horror genre is it’s always been a ripe playground for crossovers and team-ups… in front of the camera and behind.  One such team-up came in 1990 with the film, TWO EVIL EYES.  Originally conceived as a four-part anthology of Edgar Allan Poe stories to be directed by horror masters, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, George Romero and Dario Argento… it later transformed into a two-part anthology film helmed by Romero and Argento.  Of course, we can’t forget the final horror legend brought onboard to handle the film’s gruesome effects, the one and only, Tom Savini.  Unfortunately, even this trio of horror titans couldn’t help TWO EVIL EYES from becoming a dud at the box office and languishing on video store shelves.

TWO EVIL EYES opens with Romero’s segment, The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdmear, which is a solid little slice of horror that feels and plays like a great Twilight Zone episode written by Richard Matheson.  Adrienne Barbeau (THE FOG and SWAMP THING) stars as a conniving wife to a dying millionaire.  With the help of her husband’s doctor (and her secret lover), they put forth a devious plot to swindle the dying man of his fortune.  With the aid of hypnotic therapy, the two begin their scheme only to find that it will lead to a shocking ending involving the undead and an appearance from genre favorite, Tom Atkins (HALLOWEEN 3 & NIGHT OF THE CREEPS).

Up next is Argento’s segment, The Black Cat.  This segment plays more like a “best of Poe” feature than a straight Poe adaptation.  From it’s opening reference to Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum to our introduction of our main character, Rod User (wink, wink)… it’s clear, Argento is having a field day here.  Harvey Keitel (RESEVOIR DOGS) plays Usher, who is pretty much a despicable crime scene photographer that has a strong dislike for his girlfriend’s black cat.  Usher’s disdain for this cat reaches a boiling point and what follows is a tale of madness and murder.  Argento fans definitely get their money’s worth with the director’s trademark camera work and gore all on full display (especially in an extremely disturbing scene of impalement… ouch!).

Blue Underground released a solid DVD and Blu-Ray a few years ago, but they’re back with a stunning new 4K restoration of the uncensored version of TWO EVIL EYES, that’s part of their new 3-Disc Limited Edition Blu-ray.  Blue Underground set the 4K bar pretty high with their release of Lucio Fulci’s Zombie last year and I’m glad to see their attention to quality has continued with this release.  Previous editions have always had a muddy look to me (especially Argento’s segment), but this new restoration makes the movie come alive with a sharp, colorful and detailed image presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Audio is on this release is superb with both a 7.1 DTS-HD track and a 2.0 DTS-HD track.  The main feature also has an informative and entertaining audio commentary track from Troy Howarth, author of Murder By Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento… trust me, he knows his Argento, folks.

Blue Underground has produced some new interviews for this release featuring Assistant Director, Luigi Cozzi, composer Pino Donaggio, and stars Ramy Zada and Madeleine Potter.  You also get new interviews with the film’s special effects makeup assistant, Everett Burrell and costume designer, Barbara Anderson.

Also included are vintage interviews with George Romero, Dario Argento and Tom Savini, along with special looks into Savini’s workshop and his creative process.  Rounding out the impressive list of extras are the usual collection of trailers and promotional material.  Finally, also as part of this limited edition is a new booklet with an essay by Michael Gingold and a CD with Pino Donaggio’s soundtrack score (the third disc in this set).

TWO EVIL EYES is a solid horror movie by two genre greats… it may not be their best work, but it’s entertaining and worth a look.  And if you’re going to watch it, then by all means… watch this outstanding 3-Disc Limited Edition Blu-Ray from Blue Underground!