Friday, 6 February 2015

Friday Night Screening: Two Evil Eyes 1990

Two Evil Eyes
Two heads, one movie, half the effort,  and a sh*tton of apologies to poor ‘ol Eddie Poe

Ah yes, Edgar Allen Poe, once a tragic writer ahead of its time, now but a mere throwaway joke whenever a movie director can’t come up with some original idea.
Yes it seems there are more Poe based movies around than high-schools in anime, well I don’t care if the idea’s been dryer than Conrad Hilton’s tit after a Night In Paris, believe it or not, I was actually looking forward to watch this little mess that we call Two Evil Eyes.
Why? Four words: George A f*king Romero. Now what heresy is this, you might ask, a campy movie reviewer who’s repertoire seems to exists solely on Evil dead 2 jokes, admiring the zombie master himself known as George A Romero? Most unorthodox...wait not really, it actually goes as well hand in hand as a creepy dog owner and peanut butter.
Yes of course I adore anything with the man’s name on it, hell, I’ve even given The Crazies remake a free pass for having his name in the credits (and because it’s actually a pretty good movie). So when I heard he made a movie that flew under everyone’s radar I went nuts and watched the damn thing, and I must say, after having seeing it, I start to see why everyone disregarded it like road kill.
Because there is another half to this otherwise awesome coin, Dario Argento.
Most people seem to actually like the guy, hell, he’s even seen as one of the better horror movie directors out there, personally though? I really don’t like him. Sure I haven’t seen every single one of his movies, but the ones I saw didn’t really catch my eyes or anything, and the guy himself is a complete creep. Now I know he’s probably Italy’s number 1 horror director, but I still need to see more of his work, but after watching this mess of a movie, I’m not sure I really want to, even though I heard that his movie Suspiria should change my mind, but that’s for another time in the future.
But despite my less than favorable view on the man, I’m just one guy and obviously not someone who was asked if it was a good idea to put these two directors in the same room with an Edgar Allan Poe novel.
So two movies for the price of one, what could go wrong?

The first story, directed by Romero, is a recreation of “The facts in the case of Mr. Valdemar”, a story an unlikable wife who cheats of her unlikable dying husband Valdemar with an unlikable doctor. Gees, talk about screwing you’re affair on your husband’s dying bed.
Well, it might come as no surprise that the characters aren’t the main driving point here seeing as they could easily been rewritten with top hats and monocles  and make a guest appearance in Captain Planet trying to drown baby seals in oil or whatever the hell happened on that show. What really gets this story going is that the unlikable wife has to keep her husband alive long enough to get the green the old geezer is sleeping on , unfortunately said task prove to be difficult as he trades his wardrobe for a red shirt and bites the dust faster than you can say ‘gold digger’. Fortunately the doctor had Valdemar under hypnosis at the time of dead, and it seems to have created a mortal loophole leaving the old man in-between worlds. It’s only when the spirits from the other side get tired of this cast of assh*les and decide to take control of the dead body and go on a rampage that the story really picks up its pace.

The second story, by Dario Argento, is none other than “The Black Cat”, a great story and a really sick and twisted look into the human creativity.
The movie however? Weird as hell, we follow Harvey Keitel playing a freelance photographer who’s girlfriend’s cat is driving insane. That’s about it without going into spoiler territory, however, if you read the story, you know it doesn’t end well for anyone.

All right, my thought on the first movie, The facts in the case of Mr Valdemar? All right at best.
One of the many problems is the fact that the story is amazingly slow, and the good part doesn’t come till the last five minutes or so, and of course Romero found a way to work some zombies in there somewhere. But yeah, as a standalone movie, it’s good, the characters are unlikable, sure, but their motives are clear and the situation they find themselves in is enjoyable to watch. And the ending is actually rewarding.

However, then we come to the point where I find myself obligated to talk about the Argento part.
The only way I can describe it, is as a putrid aftertaste to an already bland cake with some little chocolate bits here and there.
I’m really not a fan of it, it might be the confusing plot, the cruel and strange tone, or the throwaway characters.
The vibe is very weird, I guess that the story of a man going slowly insane should feel uneasy and weird, but I’m getting an overall feel of “Overtrying artsy-ness”.
The plot is all over the place, and a medieval dream sequence didn’t help my confusion, and you have to sink pretty low to make Hervey Keitel act like he’s got astick up his ass (Watch the movie, you’ll get the joke).
But yeah, this part has some pretty big names, mainly Harvey Keitel who’s an amazing actor, and even…wait, is that Darla, Julie Benz? And he gave her the role of an extra? Damn you Argento, and you wonder why we can’t get along?
But even with the best actor, this part just seems to fall flat. And here’s another thing, I once said that the theme of the slow decent into madness is one of my favorite subject, seeing as my all-time favorite movie focuses heavily on this aspect, the decadence of the soul is something I am very well accustom to, and it never seems to amaze me nonetheless. So this should be a feast for my eyes, but I the story is just too confusing, letting you hope for a higher meaning, a touch of symbolism, but the movie just never delivers and never goes the extra mile to draw you in and keep you invested in either the characters or the setting. Cruel, confusing and never deeper than the bottom of my shoe, that’s it in a nutshell if you can take my word for it.
So if you decide to watch this movie, take your time with the first one, the effects and story are rewarding in the end, but go ahead and skip the second one.

Things I’ve learned from Two Evil Eyes:
- The ‘Ripley’ hairdo made you irresistible in the 80s.
- This movie has the worse opening theme ever.
- Zombies don’t need lip sinc
- When the door open and a bunch of elves call you out to follow them, it’s probably best to lay off the liquor for a while.
- Nearly murdering an entire room of cops by acting like a dumbass to get some good pictures of half a naked chick is shrugged off by the officers like a minor inconvenience.
- In hindsight, going out with a guy who takes daily pictures of mutilated corpses wasn’t such a fresh idea to start with.

Personal rating: 5

Critical rating: 5.5

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