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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
"Tenebre" is one of those movies that stays under your skin for long after you've watched it. It has a tense plot, decent acting, and a climax of such shocking violence that we're left with the image of blood spraying a grotesque mural on a wall burned into our brains. Argento's darkest side gets unleashed in this film. His creativity was obviously at the top if its form when he thought of the camera move that scales the entire exterior of a house up to the top floor, moving into a close up on the roofing tiles, and then back out to a medium shot on an intended victim standing in a window. This shot creates a great deal of tension, even with the bad music playing in the background. (The DVD shows a behind the scenes featurette about the creation of this one memorable shot.)
The plot of the film is too ridiculously simple to take a long time to explain. In fact, other films have used it since then. "Basic Instinct," for example, is about a serial killer who murders her victims in the same fashion as is written in novels by her favorite author.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Many reviews have stated that the Anchor Bay version is not uncut, implying that it has been subject to censorship. This is NOT true. Read morePublished on May 21 2009 by J. Hopkins
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 morePublished on Nov. 1 2004 by J. Clark
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. Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2004 by Jeremy Matthew Brown
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. Read morePublished on July 10 2004 by Guido
I've seen 7 of his movies total after being very impressed with
the first movie I watched by him suspiria. Read more
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
long time argento fan, has to be one of my favs, violent , bloody, and artistic. deffinetly a classic in my eyesPublished on Jan. 29 2004 by jeff coco
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 morePublished on Sept. 24 2003
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