Two Evil Eyes (Due Occhi Diabolici) (Stomp Visual) (1989) (NTSC)
Main Menu Introduction
Gallery-Posters And Stills
Biographies-Crew-George Romero, Dario Argento
|Year Of Production||1989|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
George A. Romero
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English dts 6.1 ES Discrete (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Two Evil Eyes is collaboration between two legends of the horror film genre. Dario Argento and George Romero combine their unique talents with two macabre tales from Edgar Allan Poe. The film consists of two of Poe's well-known stories, each with a running time of slightly under one hour. Each story has been adapted to a current day setting and situation, with Romero and Argento taking on writing and directing roles for each story separately.
Dario Argento originally wanted the project to be an association between himself, Romero, John Carpenter and Wes Craven. The latter two had to decline the offer due to an occupation with other projects.
After a very brief homage to Poe, the film begins with the instalment written and directed by George Romero, The Facts In The Case Of Mr. Valdemar. Ernest Valdemar (Bingo O'Malley) is an elderly and wealthy businessman who is bed-ridden. His wife Jessica (Adrienne Barbeau) and her conniving lover Dr Robert Hoffman (Ramy Zada) have concocted an evil scheme of deception in an effort to clear money from his various accounts.
The plan involves Hoffman using hypnosis to gain total control of Valdemar, both in speech and action. The funds need to be first cleared through Steven Pike (E.G. Marshall), Valdemar's ever-cautious lawyer.
This immoral and evil plot is close to completion when Valdemar dies unexpectedly. To gain the extra time needed, they place his body into a large chest freezer in the basement to preserve the body a few weeks longer.
However, Valdemar died while still under hypnosis and is trapped in a kind of limbo. Malevolent spirit entities are also seeking to find advantage from the situation. It soon becomes apparent that their seemingly foolproof plan has become an exercise in survival. As Valdemar rises from his frosty coffin, escaping the unseen spirits is now impossible.
The second and (I believe) the better of the two is the Dario Argento instalment, The Black Cat. Argento brings his familiar stunning visuals to this piece, with much of Giuseppe Maccari's innovative camera work a true highlight. Tom Savini's wonderful special effects are also more prominent in the second story.
A few actors of note and distinction play some minor but important roles in The Black Cat. John Amos plays Detective Legrand, Sally Kirkland plays Eleonora, Martin Balsam plays Mr Pym and Kim Hunter plays his wife, Mrs Pym.
Rod Usher (Harvey Keitel) is a photographer specialising in capturing the visual horrors of gruesome crime scenes. These horrific images are soon to be compiled into a macabre coffee table book that Rod plans to release.
Rod lives with his girlfriend Annabel (Madeleine Potter), who has just taken in a stray black cat. Rod has no emotional connection with the feline and actually feels threatened by it, much to the amusement of Annabel.
When the cat suddenly goes missing, Rod is forced to defend himself over having a hand in its disappearance, although Annabel soon has her evidence when she sees a copy of Rod's newly released book in a bookshop. Inside the book are a series of pictures of her cat being tortured in various ways. Annabel is furious and confronts him with an accusation of killing the cat, a charge Rod firmly denies.
In a fit of rage Rod attacks and kills Annabel in the gruesome style of many of his photos. He cleverly entombs her body within the walls of the house, but it isn't long before some of Annabel's friends get a hint of foul play.
The cat hasn't finished with Rod either, proving the nine-life theory. The cat played a major role in Rod's descent into madness, and it will now play another role in his ultimate demise.
Footnote: Just in case you were concerned about the welfare of the cat used in the film, the first credit you'll see at the end of the film is a declaration from The American Humane Association which states the following.
"The American Humane Association has certified that the live animals used in The Black Cat suffered no physical or psychological abuse."
The first thing to note about this transfer are that it is an NTSC transfer. Please make sure your equipment can play back and display NTSC discs. That said, the video transfer for Two Evil Eyes is very good.
The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer exhibited decent sharpness and clarity, although the level of intensity did vary slightly throughout the film. Blacks were clean and deep and displayed no low-level noise. Shadows were quite impressive and held an excellent level of detail.
Colours appeared natural and well balanced, displaying no apparent adverse issues.
I found no obvious MPEG artefacts. I noticed some slight stuttering in camera movement during a couple of tracking shots. One of these is the opening spiral shot during the first scene in the film. At first I thought this could be some sort of compression artefact, but on closer examination of other moving objects within the same scene I believe this is probably not the case. Either way, it was not a significant annoyance in viewing the film. Film-to video artefacts were not problematic. I noticed the occasional and very minor film artefact, but only because I was especially looking for them. Overall this video transfer is exceptionally clean.
Unfortunately, no subtitles are available on this DVD.
This is a single sided, dual layered disc. The layer change is well placed at 59:33 and was not easily detected.
The audio transfer is very good.
There are three audio tracks available on this DVD; English DTS 6.1 ES Discrete (768Kb/s), English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s) and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). All three tracks are of excellent quality. The DTS track does offer slightly more over the Dolby Digital, but the entire soundtrack is not overly demanding for this film. The occasional rumble of thunder and the spread of music over all channels sounds excellent in either track.
All dialogue was clear and easily audible throughout the film and in all audio tracks. Audio sync presented no problems and appeared spot on.
The original music score by Pino Donaggio is used to substantially increase the atmosphere of the film. It tends to be a little overbearing at times, but is generally well suited to the content. During the opening of the film, the score sounds very similar to Goblin's score for another of Argento's films, Suspiria.
The surround channels carried music and some occasional directional effects. However, the mix is not particularly concerned with the precise movement of directional sound, but rather more concentrated on subtle and ambient sound. The second instalment is much more alive with surround activity than the first, but generally the overall mix was very well controlled and sensible, avoiding any horror film overkill.
The subwoofer had lengthy periods of rest through the film, but was effective when used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The selection of available extras are basic and minimal.
The main menu is quite well presented with initial animation, 16x9 enhancement and a generous music sample. The featured music is Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) which is also surround encoded.
Two Evil Eyes (1:27) Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.
Five categories of images.
Comprehensive text based biographies for George Romero (25 pages) and Dario Argento (23 pages).
I will compare this reviewed all region version with another Blue Underground "Limited Edition "of Two Evil Eyes.
This Limited Edition is a two-disc presentation and still appears to be available in the U.S. Both the limited edition and this reviewed edition are NTSC transfers. The first disc of the limited edition has exactly the same contents as this reviewed disc. The second disc contains some additional quality extras, which includes:
This very same limited edition was also available locally sometime ago, although it is now no longer available. If you can get your hands on a copy, the limited edition would be my preferred edition of the film simply because of the additional extras.
Two Evil Eyes is a reasonably good two hours of macabre entertainment. Neither instalment represents the best work of either director, but it is still highly recommended viewing for fans of the genre.
The video and audio transfers are very good.
Unfortunately, the selection of extras is minimal.
|DVD||JVC XV-N412, using Component output|
|Display||Hitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||Panasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS|
|Speakers||Fronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17|