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Askew Review 15

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(Blue Underground) 1990. Horror. 120 minutes. Not rated, gore. George Romero and Dario Argento each direct an approx one-hour episode inspired by the writings of Edgar Allen Poe. The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar; directed by George Romero. With the help of her boyfriend, a bitchy woman (Adrienne Barbeau) milks her dieing husband of his fortune. However, dear ol’ hubby has other plans...and….and…my God, are those voices coming out of the freezer? The Black Cat; directed by Dario Argento. Driven insane by his woman’s kitty, a crime scene photographer (Harvey Keitel) must become one super duper handyman to hide something I shall not divulge.
First and foremost, the special effects/make-up by Tom Savini for these two features is unbelievable. Although not over the top gore-wise, the fx will certainly either creep you out or have you wincing in near pain. Due to The Black Cat’s sluggishness (like all Argento movies), I found Mr. Valdemar to be the better of the two shorts. Oddly enough, I didn’t even totally get the “twist” to Valdemar’s story till almost an hour after I finished watching it and when it finally dawned on me, I was all “Ahhh, cool!” On the other hand, The Black Cat is fairly predictable and very slow moving. If you like other Argento movies, you’ll dig this feature as well. Along with the two features is a bonus DVD loaded with extras; an interview with Romero, Argento, and Savini, an fx documentary with Savini, a tour of Savini’s house, and a stupid interview with Barbeau. This bonus disc offers a very in-depth look at Valdemar and The Black Cat. Pretty cool package from our dear friends, Blue Underground. – Denis Sheehan



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