Tuesday, June 9, 2009

TWO EVIL EYES (Blu-Ray)

In 1990, George Romero, who'd had some success with the anthology format with 1982's CREEPSHOW, teamed up with Italian horror maestro Dario Argento (SUSPIRIA) for the Edgar Allan Poe-inspired anthology, TWO EVIL EYES, now re-released in high definition by Blue Underground.

Originally, the plan was to include additional sequences two other directors, but by the time the project came together, it was just Romero and Argento. The first story, directed by Romero, is a contemporary re-telling of "The Case of M. Valdemar." Adrienne Barbeau (SWAMP THING, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK) plays the greedy trophy wife of a dying millionaire. She and her lover, a young doctor, are using hypnosis to insure that her curmudgeon of a husband doesn't cut her out of inheriting his fortune. The difficulty comes in keeping him alive until the paperwork goes through. Though a little slow, I think this sequence has been unfairly maligned by most horror fans expecting something more along the lines of Romero's "Living Dead" films. It's actually a fairly successful little traditional terror tale that benefits from some good performances and Tom Savini's effective make-up effects.

The second tale, Argento's version of "The Black Cat," stars Harvey Keitel (THE BAD LIEUTENANT) as a disturbed photographer who specializes in crime scene photos. When his girlfriend brings home a stray kitty, he begins to find his grip on his sanity slipping away with frightening speed. Argento packs his hour with plenty of references to different Poe stories and abundant Savini gore effects, but, ultimately, it's more style than substance. Like most of Argento's work, it's beautifully shot and full of strong imagery, and Keitel is, as usual, compelling to watch, but, overall, the story's pretty anemic.

Blue Underground's new Blu-Ray re-issue features a pristine 1.85:1 1080p High def widescreen transfer of the movie, accompanied by a 5.1 Dolby Surround track, a 6.1 DTS track and a Dolby stereo track. The disc also includes a poster and still gallery, the film's theatrical trailer, a retrospective featurette that includes on-camera vintage interviews with Romero, Argento, Savini and a teenage Asia Argento. There's a behind-the-scenes featurette focusing on Savini's effects work and a vintage video tour of Savini's memorabilia-cluttered home. Finally, there's a brief video interview with actress Adrienne Barbeau as she discusses her work on the film and relationship with Romero.

While it's neither director's best work, fans of the filmmakers in question will want to add this high quality Blu-Ray presentation to their collection.

BUY: Two Evil Eyes [Blu-ray]