1990s, BLUE UNDERGROUND, cult, Edgar Allan Poe, film, genre, Horror, https://www.facebook.com/scarletthefilmmagazine/, independent film, monsters, review, SCARLETTHEFILMMAGAZINE.WORDPRESS.COM, tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

TWO EVIL EYES (Blue Underground Blu Ray 3 Disc Limited Edition)

TWO EVIL EYES (Blue Underground 3-disc Ltd Edition Blu-Ray/4K Restoration) $49.99 Special Edition Release Date October 29,2019 Region A.

Original Theatrical release U.S.A. -Taurus Entertainment ,1990.

Color.  120 mins.
https://www.amazon.com/Evil-Eyes-Blu-ray-Harvey-Keitel/dp/B07VGTYMKB/

 

  • Warning -review illustrated with gruesome effects shots. No animals and we suspect few actors were harmed

 

When TWO EVIL EYES came out, George Romero had just worked with a major studio on MONKEY SHINES (Orion,1988) but had a bad experience wherein his work was edited without his permission. *

Argento ‘s last feature OPERA (aka TERROR AT THE OPERA) was a huge success in his native Italy but was denied a theatrical release in the U.S. by Orion, instead letting the small video company Southgate release the film in an R and Unrated version.

The two filmmakers decided to go independent again to retain control of the final product and picked two different Edgar Allan Poe tales to adapt.

 

 


Romero chose “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” (published simultaneously in The American Review and Broadway Journal ,December 1845) . The story had been adapted previously in an Italian short film (Il caso Valdemar,Italy,1936 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3qGwCPKhdI ) as well as segments in the portmanteau films MASTERWORKS OF TERROR (Argentina ,1959, redubbed and released by Jack H Harris as MASTERS OF HORROR ,1965) ,Roger Corman’s TALES OF TERROR (AIP,1962) and on the Spanish horror series Historias para no dormir (Stories to Keep You Awake, Televisión Española 1966). It also is one of the stories in the recent EXTRAORDINARY TALES (Mélusine Productions 2015 ).

a 1969 Japanese Illustration, inspired by TALES OF TERROR

 

The Black Cat by Alphonse Legros 1860

Argento chose “The Black Cat” (first published August 19, 1843 in The Saturday Evening Post). The story has been adapted with varying degrees of faithfulness, starting in 1934 with both Universal’s THE BLACK CAT as well as MANIAC (Roadshow), Universal again in 1941, AIP’s TALES OF TERROR again, the 1966 THE BLACK CAT (Falcon) ,Lucio Fulci’s 1981 version(Italian Int.) and recently a marvelous independent short in 2012 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKN_I6ouswg .

 

The film :

Warning -turn your sound down for the opening credits of Pino Donaggio’s dissonant title theme.


The film opens with a succession of quick shots of Edgar Allan Poe’s statue, one of the great author’s home and burial plot, as a narrator intones: “To Edgar Allan Poe, whose stories have inspired this motion picture.”

 

We then immediately go to

THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF M. VALDEMAR (screenplay by Romero ; Dir of Photography  Peter Reniers, who has worked on such television series as LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, Dick Wolf /Universal ,1999- ).


Jessica Valdemar (Adrienne Barbeau, returning to work with Romero again after CREEPSHOW, Laurel/WB ,1982) is hoping to inherit the money from her mortally ill husband Ernest (the wonderfully named Bingo O’Malley ,who also appeared in CREEPSHOW, and sadly in real life passed away June 2 ,2019).

 

To that extent, she gets Dr Robert Hoffman (Ramy Zada, tv’s DARK JUSTICE, Lorrimar,1991) to hypnotize the sickly Ernest to better control him. Dr Hoffman is most willing to do so, partly from a past relationship with Jessica, and partly from the desire to share in the millions that she will inherit. The problem is that Jessica has been taking money from Ernest’s account, so much so that if anything were to happen to her husband over the next three weeks, the police will surely investigate the wife.

E.G. Marshall as a lawyer warning Barbeau

Of course, Ernest dies, and the pair dump his body into a basement freezer. During the night she hears moaning and discovers that due to the hypnosis, the spirit of her dead husband is trapped between worlds, and that other entities wish to use his corpse to enter our sphere!

 

THE BLACK CAT (Screenplay by Argento & Franco Ferrini, who worked together on OPERA ; director of Photography Beppe Maccari, who was the camera operator on the Visconti classic THE LEOPARD, Titanus 1963)-
Argento’s take on the famous tale is a delirious and trippy over the top gorefest that references several other Poe tales.

Keitel in a Corman-like dream sequence with an Argento touch

 

 

Rod Usher (Harvey Keitel, TAXI DRIVER, Columbia,1976) is a police crime scene photographer who we first meet when he is taking pictures at a murder scene. This killing  was a bit extraordinary, since it is a scene of a nude women bifurcated by a huge pendulum blade. To Usher, it is just work as usual, and he tries to frame the scenes with a sense of aesthetics that belie the horror of the scene.

 

At home, his girlfriend Annabel (Madeline Potter ,THE SUICIDE CLUB, Angelika Films ,1988) has brought in a black cat that Rod takes an instant dislike to. This mutual hatred comes to its zenith when Rod viciously and cruelly strangles the animal during a photo shoot. Rod, however, in a sort of A BUCKET OF BLOOD (AIP,1959) moment, decides that the murder deserves to be the over of his newest photo collection.

Sally Kirkland has a new kitty for Rod .

When Annabel sees the cover some time later in a store window, she realizes what has happened, and rushes home to confront Rod. Rod , in the interim , has been given a cat that is identical to the one he killed ).He takes the animal home to destroy it once and for all, but Annabel comes home ,saves the creature but she herself is killed gruesomely.

Rod conceals the body behind the wall, but suspicion continues to grow against him, resulting in more murders and gore before Rod receives poetic justice.

John Amos as a detective who grows suspicious of Usher

 

A huge title assures us that none of the animals were harmed in the making of the film as the picture’s end credits roll.

The film, which reportedly cost over $ 9 million to make,  opened in only 150 theatres throughout the U.S. for just one week, taking in only $349,000.

 

It was released on VHS through various companies (Anchor Bay, budget label Video Treasures) as well as DVD and Blu Ray previously by Blue Underground.

Now , Blue Underground has gone back to the original camera negatives and given it a 4K 1080p restoration. The colors, especially in the Argento segment, really seem to jump out.

 

Martin Balsam  & Kim Hunter,Spanish Lobby Card

The audio is available in either English: 7.1 DTS-HD, or to duplicate the theatrical release sound, English: 2.0 DTS-HD (or in French: Dolby Digital Mono). Again, watch that opening bit of music in the beginning!
Optional subtitles are English SDH, French or Spanish.

Where this becomes the must have edition of TWO EVIL EYES is the immense number of extras, some ported over from BLUE UNDERGROUND’s previous release of the title, but many brands new and exclusive to this limited edition.

Extras include

Disc One Blu Ray- a brand new audio commentary by Troy Howarth (author of the upcoming book “Murder By Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento “). Troy has done audio commentaries on other Blu ray releases, and his love and well researched talks always have the feel of a well-informed fan joyfully sharing his thoughts and insights throughout the running time of a film, and this one is no different.

Theatrical Trailer

Poster & Still Gallery

Disc 2 Blu Ray
Two Masters’ Eyes – Interviews with Directors Dario Argento & George Romero, Special Make-Up Effects Supervisor Tom Savini, Executive Producer Claudio Argento, and Asia Argento. These are ported over from the 2003 Blue Underground 2-disc Blu Ray release.

Savini as a Poe like character who digs up corpses to steal teeth.Or is it just his character from THE RIPPER (United Ent.,1985 ) reprised?

Savini’s EFX – A Behind-the-Scenes look at the film’s Special Make-Up Effects. Also, from the 2003 release, Savini takes us on a behind the scene tour of how some of the effects work was done.

At Home With Tom Savini – A personal tour of Tom Savini’s home. From 2003, this segment is not only a master of his craft but also a fan sharing with fellow fans.

Adrienne Barbeau on George Romero.- From 2003. The still lovely and charming actress shares her thoughts about working with the director.

Tom Atkins makes a horrific discovery

 

NEW! Before I Wake – Interview with Star Ramy Zada. The actor talks about his career and working with Romero.

NEW! Behind The Wall – Interview with Star Madeleine Potter. The very busy actress, who shuttles back and forth from the U.S. and London to perform, talks about Harvey, Dario and cats.

NEW! One Maestro And Two Masters – Interview with Composer Pino Donaggio. Subtitled. The composer talks about his career

NEW! Rewriting Poe – Interview with Co-Writer Franco Ferrini, who has often worked with director Argento, as well as upon the screenplay ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (W.B.,1984) .

NEW! The Cat Who Wouldn’t Die – Interview with Assistant Director Luigi Cozzi (who also directed the cult hit STAR CRASH, New World, 1978).

 

NEW! Two Evil Brothers – Interview with Special Make-Up Assistant Everett Burrell (who has worked with Savini several times, as well as Greg Cannom, and Kevin Yagher.).

NEW! Working With George – Interview with Costume Designer Barbara Anderson who worked with Romero from KNIGHTRIDERS (Laurel/UFD, 1981) up to THE DARK HALF .

Finally,

Disc 3-A CD of Pino Dinaggio’s score. This alone might be enough for some to wish to buy this collection, as this soundtrack it seems has never been issued legitimately before. It is a sharp moody score, which fits the film perfectly, but many pieces can be listened to and enjoyed on their own.

 

Adding to the welcome extras is an informative booklet by Michael Gingold, who was one of the guiding forces of Fangoria magazine from 1990 (when the film came out) until 2015.

Fango #95 ,which covered the film 

 

Once again, BLUE UNDERGROUND has put to shame many major studios Blu Ray releases, due to the care and multiple goodies adding entertainment, value and collectability for horror film lovers.

RECOMMENDED
For fans of
ROMERO
ARGENTO
EDGAR ALLAN POE
BLU RAY EXTRAS!

-Kevin G Shinnick

*-right after filming TWO EVIL EYES, he worked upon THE DARK HALF for Orion, which sat on a shelf for two years.

Like and Follow us on https://scarletthefilmmagazine.wordpress.com
and on https://www.facebook.com/SCARLETreviews/

If you would like to write or create for SCARLET THE FILM MAGAZINE,

please contact Kevin at
SCARLETTHEFILMMAG@yahoo.com

Standard
tv film radio books theatremusic storytelling horror mystery fantasy science fiction thrillers drama, Uncategorized

COUNT YORGA , VAMPIRE -Twilight Time Blu Ray Limited edition (3,000)

CountYorgaVampire_BD_HighRes__19671.1442176314.1280.1280

COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE -Twilight Time (limited run 3,000 copies) 1970 – 93 mins- original rating GP (now PG-13) BLU RAY $29.95     http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/count-yorga-vampire-blu-ray/

On June 10, 1970, A.I.P. released a low budget pick up vampire film. The movie had cost about $64,000 (costs vary) and had begun life as a soft core porn film. The lead actor agreed to play the role on his time away from a big budget film (WUSA) which meant weekends and weekday evenings.  The actor, who thought it was a nice way to make a few extra bucks (only $1,249 for starring, plus a $350 bonus), felt it would come and go while the big budget film would help his career.

A.I.P. submitted the film several times to the ratings board, until they got the GP rating they so desperately wanted, excising a few minutes of gore (most infamously, the suggested killing of a kitten).

No one expected the film to do the box office that it did, but, in the year that LOVE STORY ruled the roost, a small indie film that began life as “The Loves of Count Iorga” earned about $8 million.

count_yorga_vampire_poster_02

COUNT YORGA, VAMPIRE was not the first vampire to be set in contemporary times (the original DRACULA (1931) seems to be set in then present day )but after all the Gothic horrors that Hammer had popularized , YORGA was seen as innovative.    Most compelling was the performance by  then 45 year old actor Robert Quarry . With his strong good looks and mesmerizing voice, his vampire could be either charming or deadly in a moment .

bobarticle

When I myself played Dracula, I asked the star how does one play a vampire ,and he gave me a superlative bit of advice.  “ You’ve lived a long time, so you have picked up a lot of knowledge .You are charming ,witty, and have only one bad habit.  Also , move slowly unless you are attacking. Let others come to you-a spider in the web.”

When you watch his performance, you know that he consciously made such choices in playing Yorga. In the film he appears mysteriously without explanation where he came from. Instead what we presume to be his coffin is brought from the docks to a California mansion. We then jump to a party wherein a Donna (Donna Anders) is holding a séance, presided over by the mysterious Count Yorga. When things get a bit out of hand, Yorga hypnotizes Donna to calm her.  Later, Erica (played by Judy Lang) and her boyfriend Paul (Michael Murphy) drive Yorga to his home. The couple decide to make love within their van but are soon attacked by a now ferocious Yorga .Paul was knocked out but did not see his attacker and Erica recalls nothing of the attack the next day.

count-yorga-newspaper-ad

Erica begins to act differently, listless and odd, and finally found drinking the blood from her dead kitten (a scene cut to near a near subliminal shot in its original release). Friend Dr. Hayes (Roger Perry) performs an emergency blood transfusion in hope of helping Erica.Vlcsnap-00283

Yorga meantime amuses himself in his mansion, watching his undead “brides” engage in sex for his amusement (a quick cut away to Quarry watching but the implication is there. In the original softcore version I am sure it was far more explicit). One of the brides, implied to be Donna’s mother whom she was trying to contact via the séance, is played by Marsha Jordan, a soft core star of the 1960s.marsha jordan

Dr. Hayes, Paul, and Michael michael maccready(Michael Macready, also the film’s producer .He is the son of George MacReady ,  Prof. Ernst from MONSTER & THE APE (Columbia,1945 ).George provides his beautiful voice as the film’s opening and closing narrator . ) begin to believe Erica’s behavior is caused by a vampire and suspect that Yorga is the leader.  Erica is drained of blood by Yorga, brought to his home as his new “bride’. Paul goes there and is quickly killed by Yorga and his servant Brudah (Edward Walsh).

Near the finale, Dr. Hayes is confronting Yorga. The Doctor repeatedly calls out for help from Michael. Yorga, in a magnificent display of power, mockingly echoing his cries of “Michael!”and laughing more and more maniacally. This scene is Quarry at his villainous best.Vlcsnap-00330MICHAEL

The film ends with a downbeat fashion, in that although Yorga is slain, evil apparently wins.

The Blu Ray release from TWILIGHT TIME is, in a word, amazing.  The image quality has been cleaned up and sharpened so much that film looks and sounds clearer than it did in its original theatrical release. The original Thorn EMI VHS release was very muddy and dark (by that time AIP had folded shop and Orion had obtained the AIP library). MGM later acquired the library, and cleaned up the prints quite a bit.  When they released the two films as a Midnight Movie co-bill DVD, the bloody kitten scene had been restored and the sharpness of the picture was much cleaner.  The new Blu Ray makes that previous copy look obsolete.countYorgaVampire_It4F_cr_2_3914

For that alone I would recommend people pick up the BLU RAY. However, they go the extra mile with extras. For visual comparison on what the film used to look like, go to the original trailer included here.  The film can be watched with just an isolated score track. Also, most fun and informative is listening to film historian David Del Valle and filmmaker Tim Sullivan’s informative commentary track .Also included is a still gallery both from MGM and Tim Sullivan’s private collection , several of the stills are private moments with an older Bob goofing about with Tim, as well as rare production stills ,including a few which show several of the sex scenes that were shot but abandoned 3gl7fu3mmn2kf733.Also a recreation by Del Valle  & Sullivan recreating a lost audio interview between Quarry & Sullivan. Finally, a radio interview with the horror actor and Sullivan is included.  The cover art is the same artwork from the MGM DVD release. Inside is a small booklet with a beautiful Yorga illustration that contains a  story summary by Julie Kirgo CountYorgaVampire_BookletCover_HighRes__62888.1442176321.290.400 Only 3000 copies of this BLU RAY are being made, so don’t miss out on getting this definitive version of the vampire classic.

HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!!! –  GET IT. -KEVIN G SHINNICK

COUNT-YORGA-VAMPIREyorgatitlecardmqdefaultyorga-tits

Standard