posted 00/00/2008

Directed by:
Dario Argento,
George A. Romero

"The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar"
Adrienne Barbeau ... Jessica Valdemar
Ramy Zada ... Dr. Robert Hoffman
"The Black Cat" Harvey Keitel ... Roderick Usher
Madeleine Potter ... Annabel

Country: Italy, USA
Runtime: 120 min
Original title: Due occhi diabolici

I was excited when I became aware that two leaders in the horror fiction genre had come together to make an anthology. The original idea was to have four stories, with the Edgar Allen Poe theme, directed by four people. Both Stephen King and John Carpenter were asked but conflicting schedules would not allow them to participate. That left us with just two tales that would be directed by Dario Argento and George Romero, one a piece.

The first story is titled: "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar", directed by Romero. Ernest Valdemar lays in bed, terminally ill, waiting for death to take him. Meanwhile the old man’s wife, Jessica, is talking with the lawyer to start the process of money flowing into her pocket. Valdemar was a very wealthy man and his young widow to be wants to take all his money.

Jessica has been having an affair with a doctor named Robert. They are both scheming this plot. Robert uses hypnosis to obtain the signatures needed from Valdemar. Then the old man dies while under hypnosis and he’s caught between this world and the next. He says that the others are going to use him as a vessel to cross to our world. Jessica freaks out and shoots her husband to make sure he’s dead. He apparently now becomes a zombie and comes after her. She gets shot during a struggle and Robert leaves with the money. In his hotel room the others come to get him. They are not much more than people covered in nylon stockings from head to toe.

The second story is titled: "The Black Cat", directed by Argento. Harvey Keitel plays Roderick Usher, an unstable crime photographer. His girlfriend that lives with him has taken in a cat from the street as a pet. This cat causes many altercations between them even to the point of her accusing Roderick of haven killed her cat. It all spirals down after a discussion in which Roderick slaps his girlfriend.

After waking up from a drunken nightmare Roderick gets clonked over the head later that night by his girlfriend who caught him in the act of strangling the cat. He wakes up, chases her and the cat around the house and kills her. He hides her body inside a wall in the house. Two fellow police detectives become suspicious and in the end discover the woman’s hidden corpse. Roderick kills one of the cops, who he has become handcuffed to, and in an attempt to maneuvere his way out a window hangs himself by mistake. You have to see it to understand folks. But even so I don’t know how such thing could have happened.

When these type of short horror stories are put to film you expect them to be better than your average TV spook shows like Tales from the Crypt and Twilight Zone. Truth be told that I have always had more fun with the television versions. Wait, the Creepshow movies are an exception. What I am trying to say is that these stories were not too original, or better yet, weren’t done in a new, fresh way. I like Romero’s story better, it had some spooky feelings creeping around. I love the stories where some evildoer is trying to get away with something but it’s these evil forces, ironically enough that prevent this. As to Argento’s story... casting Harvey Keitel in this role was really weird. His character was awful and his girlfriend was not that likeable either. If these were the undesirable people Argento had in mind then he did a good job. The story could have used a bit more cohesion. Harvey Keitel??!?

  - Jorge Antonio Lopez


comments powered by Disqus
NO IMAGES AVAILABLE AT TIME OF POST is owned and operated by Jorge Antonio Lopez. All original content is Copyrighted © 2008 by its respective author(s). All Image files
are used in accordance with Fair Use, and are property of the film copyright holders.