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Tenebre

Anthony Franciosa , Giuliano Gemma , Dario Argento    Unrated   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 89.69
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After several excursions into supernatural horror, Dario Argento returned to the homicidal frenzy that made his reputation with this mystery that plays more like a grown-up slasher movie than a detective thriller. Anthony Franciosa stars as Peter Neal, a bestselling horror novelist whose promotional tour in Italy takes a terrible turn when a mysterious killer re-creates the brutal murders from his book with real-life victims. The first to die are so-called "deviants," Neal's own friends, and finally there comes a promise that the author himself is next on the list. Columbo it ain't, but Argento has always been more concerned with style than story and his execution of the crimes is pure cinematic bravura. From the simple beauty of a straight razor shattering a light bulb (the camera catches the red-hot filament slowly blacking out) to an ambitious crane shot that creeps up and over the sides of a house under siege in a voyeuristic survey that would make Hitchcock proud, Argento turns the art of murder into a stylish spectacle. He even lets his kinkier side show with flashbacks of an adolescent boy and a teasing dominatrix in red stiletto heels that become a key motif of the film. The objects of Argento's homicidal tendencies are traditionally lovely, scantily clad Italian beauties, and with self-deprecating humor he even inserts a scene in which Neal is taken to task for the misogynist violence of his stories--an accusation Argento himself has weathered for years. --Sean Axmaker

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
When Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa), a popular horror novelist visits Rome to promote his latest best-seller "Tenebrae", he is suddenly thrust into a world of murder and mayhem when a psychopath goes on a killing spree and uses techniques described in his book. The killer seems to be on a mission, killing off people (mostly women) who are morally corrupt and are referred to by the killer as "deviants".

This blood-soaked, fast-moving Argento flick is not in the same classic level as his masterpiece "Suspiria" or even "Deep Red" but his fans seem to love it regardless. The film is not really a horror film but a sexually charged thriller with an attractive cast, solid acting (although some of the dubbing is pretty annoying), creative camera angles (typical in an Argento film) and lot's of blood (again, typical of an Argento film). Like Argento's other work, this film is visually stunning. The entire cast is made up of photogenic, elegant actors; Daria Nicolodi, Mirella D'Angelo, Anthony Franciosa, John Saxon, Ania Pieroni and a whole array of European beauties. Argento also uses the color red effectively throughout this film; bright red lipstick, red stilettos, red cars, countless scenes of gleaming red blood. It takes someone like Dario Argento to make blood look so beautiful on screen.

This film was released in North America in a heavily edited form and under the insane title of "Unsane". I've never seen the edited version but apparently many scenes were cut in order for the film to get an "R" rating. "Tenebrae" may be violent but the violence itself is no more shocking then the numerous slasher films released from Hollywood throughout the decade so it's a mystery to me as to why this film was given this kind of treatment.
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4.0 out of 5 stars CUT? or UNCUT? May 21 2009
Format:DVD
Many reviews have stated that the Anchor Bay version is not uncut, implying that it has been subject to censorship. This is NOT true. The Anchor Bay release contains tiny cuts because the actual print of the film they were using was damaged in some spots. These cuts do not alter the story in any way, nor do they attempt to edit out any gore. See [...] for the specs and information on the various releases.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dude really goes thick with the Blood Canister Oct. 26 2007
By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I notice that Argento is most often praised for his "set pieces," which are usually the suspense/murder sequences. I have to agree I enjoy these very much. He can be very slick. His movie "Tenebre" is actually fairly well constructed. It is about an American novelist Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) who came to Rome to promote his book only to be mired in the tragic deaths of many beautiful women. Seemingly based on his recent novel the girls (and others) all die horrific deaths with Argento's arsenal of ways to kill pretty Italian girls. Three very memorable scenes in this movie to my mind, and a recurring theme of deep human despair which I have found in his movies so far. Two scenes here which specifically communicate this sense of futility. The first of which involves eight or maybe nine if you go back all the way to the introduction of the minor character involved turns of fate in a lengthy and relentless sequence characteristic of Argento's films and for which I can see why he is sometimes compared to Hitchcock (though is it appropriate to do so???). It is a turning point in the film. I am reminded of the scene with the pile of razor wire in "Suspiria". The other scene in "Tenebre" more graphically identifies that theme in the image of a character impaled on a polished piece of metal, trying to pull it out but his hands are too slippery with blood to grip the object.

Stylistically speaking the movie departs from garish and moody lighting of "Suspiria" for a more frontal, "realistic" look. If that hallucinogenic quality is the only thing a person liked about those movies. Interestingly enough, people complain that it looks like a TV show and the commentary notes that Argento was looking into the lighting of American television police drama to incorporate into this film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The second film of Dario Argento's..I watched.. Oct. 22 2004
Format:DVD
Where do I start? Before I watched this film I was full of hype. I had heard many great things about it. I sat down full of excitement and pressed play. The opening was really good, just like almost everything else in this movie. The only major problem I had with this movie was the ending. I hated it. I never would have guessed who the killer was. Well actually I guessed it at the begining but thought that would just be stupid if that person would murder people.
The music is so incredible! I listen to it all the time. It goes well with murder scenes. The gore in this movie is amazing! It looks so real and gross. I love how the blood comes spraying out of an arm that was chopped off! This movie was a good one but did not live up to the expectations I had for it. I enjoyed it none the less.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME SUSPENSFUL THRILLER!! July 10 2004
By Guido
Format:VHS Tape
This was the first film of Dario Argento I had the privledge of watching and I must say I loved it. The film kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering who the killer was. Interesting, nicely paced plot, decent acting, eerie soundtrack and great killing scenes make for an amazing flick.
I was so impressed with Tenebre that I wanted to check out other Argento works as well but "Suspiria" was the only one I could find around here. So if you have the privledge of seeing any Argento films I would check them out starting with Tenebre. That's how good this movie is!!
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Anchor Bay Lies Again
When I bought this piece of garbage, the back of the box said uncut, uncensored version. BULL!!!! The Dutch import version entitled SHADOWS has an additional 25 seconds of footage. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2004 by J. Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Argento's On A Roll
Argento takes a break from the supernatural to return to his giallo roots. Many fans consider this one of his best and I'd agree with that. Read more
Published on May 27 2004 by Stanley Runk
5.0 out of 5 stars one of argento's best
I've seen 7 of his movies total after being very impressed with
the first movie I watched by him suspiria. Read more
Published on May 25 2004 by love777
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Argento's best
This easily ranks among my top 5 from Dario Argento.
This gem tells the tale of a horror author Peter Neal and his newest book, Tenebre. Read more
Published on May 2 2004 by Wrathchild862000
5.0 out of 5 stars axe me
long time argento fan, has to be one of my favs, violent , bloody, and artistic. deffinetly a classic in my eyes
Published on Jan. 30 2004 by jeff coco
1.0 out of 5 stars Overrated, like all of Argento's junk.
Like much of Argento's oeuvre, this rubbish is a mess: it's trite, badly acted, scripted, produced. The age old excuse that he 'prefers style over substance' is more than just a... Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2003 by "noilie"
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspense and Style.
After having seen this, I'll definitely watch more movies made by Dario Argento. It's not your average cup of blood and gore; if anything, this whole movie is done with... Read more
Published on July 8 2003 by Haplo Wolf
4.0 out of 5 stars All I can say is "Whoa!"
Dubbed the Italian Hitchcock by his American fans, Dario Argento is one of those filmmakers who is completely uninhibited with his use of the camera and gore effects. Read more
Published on May 27 2003 by Blake Kleiner
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