Two Evil Eyes (1990)

Sometime in the late 80s, George A. Romero was invited to Italy to eat pasta and sip red wine with Dario Argento. The result of that meeting became Two Evil Eyes, an anthology of two films, one hour each, based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe. The original idea was an anthology of four segments in which also John Carpenter and Stephen King was considered to make the other two. However, Carpenter was busy with other stuff while Stephen King, still and forever traumatized by the experience with Maximum Overdrive, had no desire to call himself a “moron” a second time, and thus Four Evil Eyes got reduced to Two Evil Eyes.



The millionaire Ernest Valdemar is on his deathbed in his big mansion suffering from terminal illness, and his younger and gold-digging wife Jessica and Dr. Robert Hoffman have a plan: to hypnotize Valdemar into signing the will papers so they can get away with all his money. During the last hypnosis session, things go horribly wrong and the old man dies … well, sort of. They hide him in the freezer in the basement while Valdemar seems to be trapped in hypnosis and moans with a ghoulish voice that a bunch of demons will take over his body.


George A. Romero were on hiatus during most of the 90s where he made only two films; The Dark Half and this one. Instead of tons of gore, we get a slow build-up and an eerie atmosphere where Creepshow meets Tales From the Crypt. Even though the story itself is intriguing, Romero’s direction feels as stale as if it was meant to be made for TV, and the runtime could have been cut down to thirty minutes. The scenes with Jessica and Dr. Robert is as dry and boring as a soap opera, and with even stiffer acting than Valdemar in the freezer. As already mentioned though the atmosphere is great, and Tom Savini, who worked on both segments, provides with some top-notch prosthetic makeup and a memorable death-scene.


THE BLACK CAT – Dario Argento

We follow the crime-photographer Rod Usher (Harvey Keitel) who documents the most brutal crime-scenes in Pittsburgh, George Romeo’s hometown of all places. Rod is a cold psychopath with a distant relationship with his empathic girlfriend Annabelle. As she feels ignored, she gets some comfort in a stray black cat. The cat hates Rod and he hates the cat back and as the classic story goes, he kills the cat who then starts to haunt him until he descends into complete madness.


The Black Cat is one of Poe’s most famous works, and this film adaptation is made in modern times where a crime-scene photographer has been replaced with the author himself, Poe. Harvey Keitel is the money shot here, alongside with FX maker Tom Savini, and the only reason alone to give Two Evil Eyes a watch, to be honest. Argento’s segment is also far more stylish, better paced, better acted and of course more graphic.


So, there you have it. Two short horror tales from two directors with their own style of filmmaking and approach to storytelling. And some with more meat on the bone than the other.  For HD buffs, the film is available on 4K Ultra HD from Vingar Syndrome.


Two Evil Eyes


Directors: George A. Romero, Dario Argento
Writers: George A. Romero, Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini, Peter Koper
Original title: Due occhi diabolici
Country & year: Italy, USA, 1990
Actors: Adrienne Barbeau, Ramy Zada, Bingo O’Malley, Jeff Howell, E.G. Marshall, Harvey Keitel, Madeleine Potter, John Amos, Sally Kirkland, Kim Hunter, Holter Graham, Martin Balsam, Chuck Aber


Tom Ghoul













The Mortuary Collection (2019)

The Mortuary CollectionIn Raven’s End, Mortician Montgomery Dark manages an isolated and creepy mortuary all alone. After a recent funeral, that of a young boy, Montgomery gets an unexpected visitor. A young woman named Sam has noticed his “Help Wanted” sign outside of the mortuary, and practically demands an interview right away. He decides to give her a tour of the old, creepy place, and Sam shows an interest in the small coffin that belongs to the boy which Montgomery has just performed the funeral for. He starts telling Sam stories about some of the residents of the town, and the weird and unexpected ways they died.


Mortuary Collection is like a “Goosebumps” styled movie, just for a more adult audience. While we have horror movies aimed at a younger audience like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, this one increases the blood ‘n gore with a few notches. At first glance, it feels a bit more on the “spooky” side rather than something that will provide any actual scares…which for the most part is pretty accurate. It does deliver some rather nasty scenes and imaginative twists and turns throughout its tales, however, which makes it a darn nice Halloween movie with gorgeous visuals, some decent bloody/gory scenes and a lot of fun!


The movie contains four stories: one set in the 1950’s, where a woman is using the restroom while going through the wallets she’s been pickpocketing during the ongoing party outside. But while inside the restroom, the medicine cabinet starts acting weird. The second story, Unprotected, is set in the 1960s and it’s considerably longer than the first story, and brings us a pretty twisted take on the horrors of not using a condom. This one was pretty fun and inventive, although it felt a little bit dragged out during its first moments. The third story, Till Death, is about a man who takes care of his catatonic wife, and when the doctor gives him a well-meant advice to let her “accidentally” overdose on painkillers, he must make a very difficult choice. This is by far my favorite episode, which is both sad and actually a bit horrifying in its thematics. Then there is the fourth story, The Babysitter Murders, which is actually Sam’s story (fun facts: the director actually made a horror short by this name in 2015. Also, although not related to this movie: The Babysitter Murders was actually the original title of the horror movie Halloween, until Yablans suggested setting the movie on Halloween night and thus naming it Halloween instead, to which Carpenter agreed).


The stories themselves are overall pretty entertaining and spookily fanciful, but the haunting visuals are what really puts the cherry on top. The Victorian-era styled mortuary (where its exterior is actually the Flavel House Museum in Astoria, Oregon) with its Victorian-styled interior and decorations, and Mr. Montgomery Dark himself which looks like a typical horror show host, just gives everything the perfect Halloween vibe. It’s a little bit cheesy here and there, but it fits with the subject matters portrayed in the stories and the tone set throughout.


Mortuary Collection is a pretty good Halloween movie: whimsical, bloody, and with enough gorgeous visuals to feed your eyes with tasty treats.


The Mortuary Collection


Director: Ryan Spindell
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Tristan Byon, Eden Campbell, Hannah R. Loyd, Clancy Brown, Caitlin Custer, Christine Kilmer, Mike C. Nelson, Jacob Elordi, Brennan Murray, Michael Bow, Ema Horvath, Ethan Clossin, Anthony Farrington Jr., Darryl Love, Clavacia Love, James Bachman, Jennifer Irwin, Sarah Hay, Barak Hardley, Darrell Salk, Phyllis Applegate, David Fierro, Fernanda Romero


Vanja Ghoul
















Verotika (2019)

Verotika (2019)

Glenn Danzig is a creative guy, to say the least. Founder and frontman of the horror-themed punk band The Misfits, Samhain, and his life long band Danzig with eleven studio albums, 18 singles, and two solo albums. He’s also a huge fan of underground horror comics and started his own label in 1994, called Verotik (yes, without the A) with adult themed comics filled with blood, gore, nudity, Satan, porn and other insanities. Anything but mainstream, it seems. I’m not familiar with the comics, so I have no idea. And after pushing 60, Glenn Danzig finally managed to pursue his new career as a film director and screenwriter, and as we speak he’s already made not one, but two films. How ’bout that. The second film is in post-production with the colorful title Death Rider in the House of Vampires. A horror/western with Danny Trejo, Julian Sands and Eli Roth among the cast list. Sounds fun. His first directorial debut is called Verotika (this time with the A), an anthology of three segments based on the comics with inspiration from Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath, among others.


And it’s just pure amateur trash from start to finish.


We start off in an underground dungeon where a chained woman gets her eyes plucked out, Lucio Fulci-style, by the nails of the sexy horror hostess Mirella before she welcomes us darklings to … Verotika. A somewhat reduced Elvira with low energy is the best way to describe Mirella, played by the porn actress Kayden Kross, with acting skills like a nipple with zero motivation. Just like all the rest of the actors we get to meet during the film’s three segments of this anthology.


The first story is titled  The Albino Spider of Dajaette, but let’s just call it The Tits Have Eyes. It’s already awkwardly difficult to convey what’s going on, but here we go: A young lady with pink hair gives a guy a blowjob. The guy wants to take off her top and get to proceed right to the climax. But she won’t. At the same time we see a CGI spider crawling on a rose. And it turns out that her boobs have eyes for nipples. “Your chest! They are looking it mi,” he says startled with a bad and exaggerated French accent, before leaving in shock and disgust. This is obviously not the first time a date / customer has been intimidated by her staring boobies. Because, who wouldn’t. Then a tear falls from one of the crying tits, that hits the spider we saw earlier. The scene with the spider looks like something from the archive of an unused cut scene from a PS 1 game. The spider then becomes a humanoid creature, played by a guy in a ridiculous spider costume that supposedly required 8 hours to get him inside. “Only I truly love you” he says to Dajette, with lots of other crap we forgot right afterwards. The creature then kills people in the apartment complex. The highlight is when we see the crotch area on the spider costume ripped off as if the actor really had to take a piss, and no one bothered to fix it. Because it’s just like Ed Wood once said: “Filmmaking is not about the tiny details. It’s about the big picture“. This segment is also the “best” in the anthology, and the only one with a glimpse of a story with a real start, middle and an end. And to be honest, the only one that’s merely watchable.


The second story is called Change of Face, but could just as well be called Change of Flares. And this one just … sucks. And it’s just downhill from here on. We’re in a strip club. And flares are everywhere. Four in a whole shot at one point. I seriously thought that this was just a part of the technical incompetence, but no. This is an effect Glen Danzig chose to add for some reason. It doesn’t add anything but distraction. As for this entire segment, nothing much happens here. It’s like a random scene from a porn film just without the porn, with badly filmed stripping scenes that seems to go nowhere. At some point, when we have already lost interest, we are introduced to “The Mystery Girl”.  Another stripper who swings around the pole with a black silk robe and skeleton stickers on the chest, while Glen Danzig’s singing voice are heard from the clubs speakers. The Mystery Girl also likes to rip people’s faces off while the police have no clue and are dumber than a bucket full of sardines.


Next and last is Draukija: Contessa of Blood. Or just simply Bathory. Or Nothing Happens In This Segment Either So Just Skip To The End Credits. We are in the Middle Ages, filmed in the woods with a cheap green screen which should make us believe that it is a castle in the background, when most of the film was filmed in the Skid Row area of ​​Los Angeles. However, this  woman, Drauijha,  sacrifices some young virgins to bathe in their blood to gain eternal youth. There isn’t much to say, other than the countess rips out someone’s heart, a scene that should be at least memorable. But as ultra cheap, lazy and just lackluster the gore aspects are in this film, as with the rest of the production value, there isn’t much to be impressed by.


And that was Verotika, Glenn Danzig’s first glorious piece of cinema magic (sarcasm). I’ve also noticed that many compares Verotika to Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. And yeah, the trailer sure gives some Tommy Wisau-vibes. But when his name gets thrown all over the place to describe this movie, the hype gets blown to the heavens, which can give some really false expectations. And I think that’s where the feeling of underwhelming and disappointment lies for the highly anticipated viewers. Because as whole I would say with great confidence that Verotika isn’t even near the same level of entertainment value as The Room, a film worth rewatching countless times. Verotika, on the other hand, just leaves an aftertaste that feels more like a bad hangover.




Director: Glenn Danzig
Country & year: USA, 2019
Actors: Ashley Wisdom, Rachel Alig, Alice Tate, Kayden Kross, Scotch Hopkins, Sean Kanan, Nika Balina, Jody Barton, Brennah Black, Kris Black, Kansas Bowling, James Cullen Bressack, Katarina Bucevac, Cody Renee Cameron



Tom Ghoul















The Burning Moon (1992)

West Germany, early 90’s. Peter (Olaf Ittenbach) is a disturbed, hateful young junkie who has dropped out of school, and is spending his days drinking beer, showing authority the finger and participating in gang fights. At home, he argues with mom and dad and clearly shows his disdain for house rules, by telling them to go to hell before entering his boy’s room to shoot up on some heroin. A typical German teenager, it seems. He also has a little sister that he likes to sneak in to after she has gone to bed, to tell her two “goodnight stories” while in full heroin intoxication. Well, this should be interesting..


The first “goodnight story” is called “Julia’s Love” which is about Cliff Parker, a schizophrenic mental patient with 21 murder victims behind him, who manages to escape. He goes straight on a blind date with the young Julia, who obviously has no idea what she’s gotten into. While they’re both in Cliff’s car, he goes out to buy smoke while leaving Julia inside. Then she hears on the radio that a certain lunatic who is on the run has stolen a car that is described similar to the one she’s inside. Julia is in deep shit and from here on there’s anything but love that’s awaiting her.


After this unconventional love story, Peter’s little sister is in shock and tears, and says Stop, I don’t want to hear your stupid stories. Well, we have an additional 47 minutes to fill while the heroin rush is still in full action, so grab your teddy and hang in there.


The second story is called “Purity”, and is about a middle aged priest who lives a double life. Preaching in the daytime while raping and killing ladies at night in a small town community. We also learn that this priest is a full-blown satanist who kidnaps people and sacrifices them under some juicy rituals, while he drinks their blood from a goblet. And just to top that, he looks like a mishmash of Edmund Kemper and Dennis Rader, which by itself is fucking hilarious. He’s the high point of this movie, for sure.


The film’s juicy climax ends straight into Hell, literally. With a tirade of torture-porn scenes where we see Olaf Ittenbach’s true ambition and talents come to light, and where the micro-budget probably went: effects. While most of the effects we’ve seen until this point has been pretty sloppy, he made sure to save some of the best till the end.


However, The Burning Moon is a stumbling underground amateur-reel starring Olaf Ittenbach’s friends, who never tried to act before or after this movie. And of course, with a budget that couldn’t even afford a microphone, some horrible dubbing was added in post production. It’s also obvious that the film tries to go for a more serious and gritty tone, with ultra-taboo subjects, but nosedives by its own incompetence already in the opening credit sequence. It reeks of cheapness and amateur hour all the way, which provides us with some funny scenes and gut-busting moments.


This is Ittenbach’s second film, with a filmography spanning of 18 titles as we speak, and the guy is still active today. This is my first viewing of his works, so I have no idea how (or if) the guy has evolved through the years. We’ll see..


The Burning Moon



Director: Olaf Ittenbach
Country & year: Germany, 1992
Actors: Olaf Ittenbach, Beate Neumeyer, Bernd Muggenthaler, Ellen Fischer, Alfons Sigllechner, Barbara Woderschek, Helmut Neumeyer, Andrea Arbter, Christian Fuhrmann, Herbert Holzapfel, Thomas Deby, Karl-Heinz Nebbe, Karin Dellinger


Tom Ghoul