Neither Argento or Romero’s best by a long shot. Romero’s segment is frustratingly average, almost boderline terrible due to its weird concept that never really makes sense or appears plausible. I think the problem lies with this film’s origins as an Edgar Allen Poe tribute. Argento initiated Two Evil Eyes as an anthology film to be directed by the horror genre’s cream of the crop but eventually it was compromised down to a Romero/Argento two-parter. Argento’s sensibility is far closer to Poe’s than Romero’s and there’s a sense that Romero just did this for the shits and giggles. There’s nothing wrong with that but when you can sense actual passion and a filmmaker’s presence in Argento’s segment it makes you resent Romero’s plain chapter even more. His just feels like a cheapie, melodramatic horror yarn made for TV.
Argento adapts Poe’s The Black Cat, which has been filmed countless times in the past but seems like a natural fit for the famed horror maestro, who made a name for himself by directing an animal-themed giallo trilogy. His Black Cat never quite becomes great, it suffers like all post-Tenebre Argento suffers from visual ambition let down by half-baked execution. It’s great to see an actor like Harvey Keitel headline an Argento thriller though and he gives a whacked out, on-the-fringe performance that is both entertaining and a little overcooked. Still, the frights land far harder than they do in Romero’s section and the mid-way hatchet murder is especially vicious and painful. Of course, the real star here is the great Tom Savini.
I enjoyed Two Evil Eyes, Argento’s story especially. It’s a curious crossover for both filmmakers but is yet another mixed bag anthology film that never reaches the heights the names on the poster would have you hoping for.