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).

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Dan Curtis’ classic TV horror movie gets the 4K treatment from Kino Lorber

The Seventies was a great decade for horror films. The genre was rocked with such hits as THE EXORCIST and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, but some of the best horror could be found right at home on the television set. Producer Dan Curtis brought horror to daytime television with his hit show, DARK SHADOWS but in 1972, Curtis unleashed a vampire onto the streets of Las Vegas and introduced the world to one of horror’s unsung heroes… Carl Kolchak. Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey (CITY OF THE DEAD) and written by the legendary Richard Matheson (I AM LEGEND, THE TWILIGHT ZONE), THE NIGHT STALKER would turn out to be a huge and unexpected success.

When bodies drained of blood start littering the streets of Vegas, intrepid news reporter Carl Kolchak (played by the great Darren McGavin, A CHRISTMAS STORY) jumps on the case. It’s not long before Kolchak comes to the conclusion that a vampire is responsible for the grisly slayings. Naturally this doesn’t go over well with his editor (Simon Oakland) and the local police, who view Kolchak as not much more than an irritant and seem to completely ignore his vampire theory. Never one to be deterred, Kolchak assumes the mantle of an amateur vampire hunter and goes after the creature of the night. What follows is a lean, mean TV movie that would spawn a sequel, a TV series and would inspire many of today’s leading horror filmmakers.

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Blu-ray Review: ZOMBIE 4K Restoration

In 1968, the late, great director George A. Romero shocked the world with his film NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and turned zombies into the modern nightmare we now know. That film, along with its sequels, pretty much set a new standard for how zombies would be portrayed on film, television and anywhere else. Then in 1979, Italian filmmaker Lucio Fulci (THE BEYOND, MANHATTAN BABY) decided to make his first horror film and for my money, one of the most disturbing zombie movies ever committed to celluloid.  ZOMBIE (aka ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS and ZOMBI 2) is pretty much the definitive Italian zombie movie. It followed the success of Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD and was released in Italy (where it was called ZOMBI) as a sequel to that film, while in the United States, it became a quintessential grindhouse movie.

The zombie action kicks in when a mysterious and abandoned boat sails into the New York harbor. Upon investigation, two police officers soon learn the boat isn’t abandoned and are attacked by a gruesome, bloated zombie leaving one of the officers “dead” by the zombie’s bite… yes, we all know what’s gonna eventually happen. The owner of the boat is soon identified and is missing. Luckily his daughter (played by Tisa Farrow) is found, who teams up with a journalist (played by Ian McCulloch, CONTAMINATION) and an adventurous couple before setting off to a mysterious island in hopes of learning what has happened to her father. The highlight of their journey is probably one of the most outrageous sequences you’ll find in any zombie movie… and that sequence is the infamous zombie vs shark underwater fight (this scene alone is worth the price of admission!) Once they reach the island, they meet a scientist (played by Richard Johnson) who fills them in on the horrible proceedings plaguing the island. Now with all that exposition out of the way, Fulci unleashes his horde of zombies upon our cast of characters and the audience can sit back and enjoy that trademark Fulci violence… which there’s plenty of.

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