Stars: 4.5 of 5.
Running Time: 120 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Adrienne Barbeau (THE FOG, CREEPSHOW), Ramy Zada (DALLAS, DARK JUSTICE), E.G. Marshall (CREEPSHOW, 12 ANGRY MEN), Tom Atkins (HALLOWEEN III, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS, CREEPSHOW), Bingo O'Malley (CREEPSHOW, KNIGHTRIDERS), Harvey Keitel (BAD LIEUTENANT, MEAN STREETS), Martin Balsam (DEATH WISH 3, PSYCHO), Tom Savini (PLANET TERROR, MARTIN), John Amos (GOOD TIMES, DIE HARD 2), Julie Benz (DEXTER, RAMBO IV), Madeleine Potter (THE BOSTONIANS, THE GOLDEN BOWL), Christine Forrest (MARTIN, MONKEY SHINES). Special Makeup Effects by Tom Savini. Based on works by Edgar Allan Poe.
Tag-line: "When I Wake You...You'll Be Dead."
Best one-liner: "Christ! Rich people... Sick stuff always turns out to be rich people."
Originally conceived as a George Romero-produced, Poe-based cable television series (with Michele Soavi directing "The Masque of the Red Death," Richard Stanley directing "The Casque of Amontillado," and with John Carpenter & Wes Craven involved as well), it failed to receive the final green-light and instead we ended up with a full-length horror-omnibus twofer entitled TWO EVIL EYES. I've heard a fair amount of bellyaching about this film, ranging from Poe purists who're upset that the settings are contemporary to disdainful viewers who inexplicably cite the complete incompetence of Romero and Argento (!). I must say that these criticisms are unfounded– I see TWO EVIL EYES as one of the stronger horror omnibii, fusing outrageous Savini gore, virtuoso camera-work, audacious performances (including an entire host of CREEPSHOW alumni), and original expansions to the Poe stories together into a result that's occasionally hilarious and occasionally terrifying.
So without further ado– since Poe was a poet, after all– I'll express my love for TWO EVIL EYES in the form of verse:
THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR (in the mode of "The Raven")
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered zombie theory,
I felt a hankering for some Romero,
seized the disc and gave it a go,
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven though he sorta looked a crow.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he,
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched by the one-sheet of CREEPSHOW--
Perched upon a bust of Carpy above the one-sheet of CREEPSHOW--
Perched, and sat... like in the Poe!
Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of neon electric glow,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no Wes Craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from your nightly sorrow--
Tell me what thy lordly name is upon this night's horror-show!"
And quoth the raven... "Adrienne Barbeau."
It wasn't Father's Day, but Bingo O'Malley still wandered around, dead (ish)
You see, he died while hypnotized, so he can't sleep with the fish
This causes unease to his trophy wife
Who realllllly doesn't want his eternal life
Adrienne's performance is pretty sympathetic
Which after CREEPSHOW's "Billie" is no small trick
Gold-diggers got souls sometimes, too
(and you'll never hear me say that in another review)
The conspiring lovers wear yuppie pinstripes
and E.G. Marshall delivers some nice "old man gripes"
There's twists and turns and how the plot does grow!
Quoth the raven, "Adrienne Barbeau."
Hey lookit, it's Tom Atkins as a hard-boiled detective!
One of these days, I'll do a full-blown retrospective
And we hear about The Others, from the opposing side of the mortal gate
And while I won't reveal what they look like, I'll say that they're well worth the wait!
And Carpy's ex-gal shares a scene with (Christine Forrest) she of Romero,
Ya don't see that every day, I'll have you know
I'll bet they had some tales to tell in the midst of that tableau
It's not the kind of thing ya see in a film by Truffaut
So quoth the Raven, "Adrienne Barbeau."
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Carpy above the one-sheet of CREEPSHOW;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow from his toe;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the row
Shall be lifted-- God bless George Romer-o!
THE BLACK CAT (in the mode of "The Bells")
See the suavitude of the Keitels
What a world of merriment
his beret fortells
He's a sort of Pittsburgh Weegee
What's this, who... me?
Oh that Keitels, tells, tells
Oh how we long to see
a shot of POV
on our old tube TV
So thank God for Signore Argento
The man puts on a goddamn show
There's things that he's got
and things that he ain't
of the latter, there's not
a great deal of restraint
looks pretty good to me
(the gore's all Savini)
Cat P-O-V rears its feline head
and instills in Keitel a true sense of dread
He's a beret-wearin' artist livin' life in the city
He just wants to photograph the nice little kitty
He's shacked up with a sensitive l'il lady
her hair's as red as the beard of O'Grady
She's a music teacher to a young Julie Benz
And Argento captures all this with his wide-angle lens
Her violin music so beautifully wells
For the Keitels tells tells
The Keitels tells tells
Harvey hits up a ren-fair
But who knows if it's really there
It's probably only in his dream
But is there more to it than it would seem?
John Amos shows up, helpin' solve some crimes
But the plot's pretty fucken far from GOOD TIMES
Watch for Savini, blink and you'll miss 'im, gettin' arrested by the police
and if you're paying attention, his character's taken from Poe's Berenice
I don't mean to dwell
But this segment's all about Keitel
Oh the rapture it impels
of the Keitels tells tells
The cat begins driving dear Keitel mad
And so he resolves to do something bad
He begins choking the cat beyond hope of resurrection
(Yikes- I really hope Keitel didn't have an erection)
But what the hells who can really tells
After all, we're dealing with Keitels
(The Keitels tells tells)
At least it's set to smooth sax jazzytown
Nothin' set to that can ever make me frown
Amongst animal lovers, nausea it may induce
BUT DON'T WORRY MY FRIENDS THERE WAS NO ABUSE!!!
And check out this bar
I really hope it's not far
Sure, it ain't the Oak Room or the Ritz
But I'll bet you can pick up a cold sixer of Schlitz
Then Martin Balsam (from PSYCHO!) walks toward the stair
which'll give any true horror lover a nice fuzzy scare
Oh, how the danger sinks and swells
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of Keitels
Of the Keitels
Of the Keitels tells tells tells
Tells tells tells
In the clamor and the clangor of the Keitels!
Tequila for breakfast– er make mine a Mezcal
It's merely a warm-up for Keitel's zany Grand Mal
For the Keitels tells tells
Oh how he tells tells tells
"IT'S... A... FUCKING CAT!!!! MEOW!!!! MEOWWWW!!"
Keitel must have his say
We only do things his way
That Keitels tells tells
The Keitels tells tells
Oh the little lady's not too impressed, but how about now: