Directors: George A. Romero, Dario Argento
Notable Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Ramy Zada, Bingo O’Malley, Harvey Keitel, Madeleine Potter, John Amos, Sally Kirkland, Kim Hunter, Tom Atkins
As a horror fan, there a few things I’m a sucker for. Well, it’s a lot of things. For the sake of this review, it’s necessary to know four of them: Edgar Allen Poe, George Romero, Dario Argento, and anthologies. Combining these four pieces into one film should be a recipe for success. Going into Two Evil Eyes, that’s the mindset I adopted. Particularly when Blue Underground gives the film some incredibly lavish treatment in this latest 3-Disc Blu Ray set. It’s something of a shame that it’s a film that I haven’t seen until this point, if anything for the four reasons above, but lukewarm reactions from a lot of my cinephile friends created hesitation in me to leap into the film. Maybe the idea of it is better than the actual product.
Which is, to an unfortunate degree, the case with Two Evil Eyes. Combining those key ingredients spells out the blueprint for a great film, but the actual piece is a rather underwhelming experience. Covering only two stories (instead of the usual 3+ that an anthology film aims for,) the film combines a multitude of Edgar Allan Poe stories into two parts – one directed by each of the previously mentioned directorial icons. Although each of the stories have their elements to appreciate, the dramatic heft of the first and the strangeness and moments of surrealism in the second, both suffer from the same major issue – they fuckin’ drag. The set-up is interesting and, generally speaking, both end up in an interesting place, but both stories have to fight to get between points A and B. Whether it’s Romero’s love triangle death piece that explores far too much of its lovers’ rifts or the paranoia and growing hatred of Kietel’s character in Argento’s piece, both segments simply can’t carry their concept for as long as they have to and it undercuts so many of the better elements.
Better elements of which there are quite a few. Both directors bring their game to the stories, punching up key moments with their own sense of style and dream-like qualities (even if the flashback (ish) sequences in Argento’s portion make no fuckin’ sense) and Two Evil Eyes utilizes phenomenal special effects to deliver on the ghoulish delights. While the problematic narratives and plotting undermine most of the film, it’s easy to see why Two Evil Eyes has developed a cult following. Some decent performances in both portions attempt to layer and extrapolate everything the scripts have to offer as muddled combinations of various Poe writings and both endings for stories really capitalize on the concept in some wild ways. Horror fans are sure to love where the film ends up, but getting there is a rather daunting chore at times.
Naturally, one of the reasons for this latest review of the film is to talk about Blue Underground’s most recent 3-disc Blu Ray set. Two Evil Eyes might be a mediocre film overall, thanks to a muddled and stretched script, but this release is anything but mediocre. As with their other releases of this ilk, it’s a full house of great packaging, a wonderful new 4K restoration of the film, and a bevy of special features that demands to be experienced even for those who are not completely sold on the film itself. The restoration looks sharp and well done (blind monster cats never looked so gooey and creepy) and the bonus content covers a wide variety of material including a fantastic new commentary from Troy Howarth and a plethora of various new interviews and classic ones. Not to mention, along with the great lenticular cover artwork, the set comes complete with a CD version of the score. This set is absolutely soaked in great bonus material for any fan (or newbie) which makes it the definitive release.
Two Evil Eyes remains a film that’s more fascinating in its concept and combination of elements than it is as an actual success of those executions. It includes some great things – strong finales to both stories, great effects, and some stylish key moments from two of horrors cornerstone directors. None of them gel together in a way that is truly as effective as the promise that came with them. It’s just one of the reasons that Blue Underground’s latest release is so impressive. It takes a cult film, a mediocre one overall, and makes it a must-own release for horror fans.
BLUE UNDERGROUND RELEASE FEATURES:
- New 4K Restoration from the uncensored original camera negative
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) Widescreen 1.85:1 Feature Presentation
- Audio: 7.1 DTS-HD (English); 2.0 DTS-HD (English); 1.0 Dolby Digital (French)
- Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
- NEW!Audio Commentary with Troy Howarth, Author of Murder By Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento
- Theatrical Trailer
- Poster & Still Gallery
- Two Masters' Eyes - Interviews with Directors Dario Argento&George Romero, Special Make-Up Effects Supervisor Tom Savini, Executive Producer Claudio Argento, and Asia Argento
- Savini's EFX - A Behind-the-Scenes look at the film s Special Make-Up Effects
- At Home With Tom Savini - A personal tour of Tom Savini's home
- Adrienne Barbeau on George Romero
- NEW! Before I Wake - Interview with Star Ramy Zada
- NEW! Behind The Wall - Interview with Star Madeleine Potter
- NEW! One Maestro And Two Masters - Interview with ComposterPino Donaggio
- NEW! Rewriting Poe - Interview with Co-WriterFranco Ferrini
- NEW! The Cat Who Wouldn't Die - Interview with Assistant DirectorLuigi Cozzi
- NEW! Two Evil Brothers Interview with Special Make-Up Assistant Everett Burrell
- NEW! Working With George Interview with Costume Designer Barbara Anderson
- BONUS! TWO EVIL EYES Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Pino Donaggio on CD for the first time ever!
- BONUS! Collectable Booklet with new essay by Michael Gingold
- BONUS! Lenticular 3D Slipcover (First Pressing Only)
Written By Matt Reifschneider