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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. As I said before, it's a return to giallo, so the plot isn't 100% original, but it has some original ideas put into it. Plus, with the way Argento films his movies, does it really matter what it's all about? Tenebre is an awesome...
Published on May 27 2004 by Stanley Runk

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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but far from perfect
There is some truly spectacular cinematography in this film, however as in many Argento films we are ultimately left with a lot of style and very little substance. The body count become laughably excessive by the end of the film and most plot logic is muddied by the carnage. The strength of this film however, lies in Argento's ability to force the viewer to be an...
Published on Sept. 13 2001 by Mark Renton


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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. "A New Yorker" (That Lives in Carolinas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tenebre (Widescreen) (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. Don't mistake, color is still important. You will notice there is a lot of white so that when someone gets killed.... The other Argento trademarks are here, and effectively so. Camera movement, cutting, and soundtrack are still extremely important. The soundtrack is by three of the members of Goblin and, while of course sounding dated, fits very well, especially in one scene where you hear probably the whole main theme played over the duration of a long elaborate crane shot. I'm still amazed that in a movie where sound is so important I am able to forgive mediocre dubbing.

If you ever find yourself trying to argue that Argento isn't a misogynistic film director, make sure you try and sway the conversation away from this film. The vast majority of sick violence is directed at the fairer sex, but never mind! The murders are typically well orchestrated, and it is obvious which part of his film that Argento values the most. I see that's part of reason why many respect this guy so much - he gives horror fans exactly what they want.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Argento's On A Roll, May 27 2004
This review is from: Tenebre (Widescreen) (DVD)
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. As I said before, it's a return to giallo, so the plot isn't 100% original, but it has some original ideas put into it. Plus, with the way Argento films his movies, does it really matter what it's all about? Tenebre is an awesome whodunit slasher flick that actually manages to keep you in the dark about the killer's identity. It's also got some of his most stylishly orchestrated murder scenes(you know which one I mean in particular). I've noticed upon repeated viewing that alot of modern so called "horror" films have freely borrowed from this film. That's an old story coz most Italian horror films have had their ideas stolen for modern horror. But, no matter how young and pretty you make the cast or how much you MTV it up for today's AD&D audience, no one can get close to Italy's style. And it's probably impossible to get anywhere near Argento's in particular. This leaves me totally flabbergasted by the rumors of a Suspiria remake! Think about that for a second, will ya-THERE ARE RUMORS THAT SUSPIRIA IS GONNA BE REMADE BY AN AMERICAN STUDIO!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars All I can say is "Whoa!", May 27 2003
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This review is from: Tenebre (Widescreen) (DVD)
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. He sets himself apart from other filmmakers by setting himself free upon the world he creates and showing it to us in the greatest possible detail. His camera movements are always purposeful and stunning, and he always adds the right amount of lighting and atmospheric music to make up for the poor post-sync dubbing. (Sometimes watching an Argento movie is to relive the best follies of the Godzilla films as you watch people's mouths move totally out of place from the dialogue.)
"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. "Tenebre" came out before "Basic Instinct", and has almost exactly the same plot, minus the gratuitous sex scenes and lesbianism. I wonder if Ezterhas was an Argento fan. Doesn't matter. Argento's film buries "Basic Instinct" with a style Paul Verhoeven can't hope to match. It rises above most of Argento's other films as a classic of the pulp horror genre. A word of warning, though: Do not eat anything before you watch it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perversions of a dangerous mind..., May 13 2003
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This review is from: Tenebre (Widescreen) (DVD)
Two thumbs up for one of the most underestimated movies of Dario Argento! Excellent suspence, brilliant plot, effective introspection of the main and secondary actors, nailbiting soundtrack and horrible mutilations mix up together in a "twist of the death nerve" up to the very last sequence, a neverending scream which will rock your cradle, preventing you from falling asleep...
Another great product from Anchor Bay Entertainment, with a widescreen presentation (1.85.1) and two audio tracks: Italian in mono and English in DS 5.1. Don't miss the interesting audio commentary by Dario Argento, music composer Claudio Simonetti and journalist Loris Curci. The extra features comprise the theatrical trailer, two behind-the-scenes segments, one of which deals with interesting audio effects, and the alternate end credits music, strongly disapproved by the Maestro.
One of Argento's best movies and one of the best ABE product, uncut and uncensored (check Veronica Lario's arm amputation, a blood bath missing even in the European versions of the film!)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great giallo flick from Dario Argento, Jan. 1 2003
This review is from: Tenebre (Widescreen) (DVD)
Great giallo flick and one of the best moments of Dario Argento with the thriller gender. Here Argento demonstrates visible mastery in delivering a good suspense following the best "Hitchcock" style,adding to this his own personal visions and ideas, like his great and daring camera movements and the blood baths so common in his horror pictures.Good acting by the cast,especially from the always reliable John Saxon and Anthony Franciosa.The story,a kind of mix between "Psycho" and the stalking-serial-killer theme,is developed to perfection by the director,who finally is able to create a picture with heart.I say that because Tenebre has a believable story (about a novelist writer who is stalked by a serial killer while promoting his last book, called 'Tenebre') and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats guessing, and differently from other Argento's films(namelly his horror movies) Tenebre is well-written and doesn't rely only in style or camera tricks. I'm an admirer of Mr. Argento, but unfortunatelly I believe that his most famous pictures could have been a lot better than they actually are if their scripts were revised at least once by a good writer. That being said,it's nice to see that Argento is returning to the "giallo" recently,scoring another great gem, the Max Von Sidow vehicle "Sleepless".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Glamorous riot of death, Sept. 7 2002
This review is from: Tenebrae (VHS Tape)
Dreamlike, moody Argento thriller doesn't try to be the non-stop set-piece that is "Suspiria", but is startlingly seductive nonetheless. The many bits of almost inexplicable panic that shoot through the film: objects and comments whose portentousness is sometimes more evident to the viewer than the characters, sometimes not; quick bangs of unexpected intercutting; and a surreal sequence (dream? flashback?)that is introduced and finished without explanation-- contribute to a mood of nightmarish excitement, like one of those horrific dreams in which you've been thrown in with people of whom you know little, threatened on every side by an unseen menace. That menace takes the form of a serial killer making fiction-into-fact of Peter Neal's latest novel. Argento seems to be in a let-it-all-hang-out mood here (but when isn't he?); the thickly decadent Eurodisco soundtrack that accompanies these lovingly-staged slaughters seems designed to inhance any charges of turning murder into voyeuristic spectacle. The killings that immediately follow on the heels of that bizarre dream-sequence bear this out: they're a sex-and-death orgy that takes the horror genre into Baudelaire. But the richest and most elaborate sequence of all concerns the hotel owner's nubile daughter, who gets stranded in some very sticky circumstances in the middle of the night in Rome. Pitch-perfect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Glamorous riot of death, Sept. 7 2002
This review is from: Tenebrae (VHS Tape)
Dreamlike, moody Argento thriller doesn't try to be the non-stop set-piece that is "Suspiria", but is startlingly seductive nonetheless. The many bits of almost inexplicable panic that shoot through the film: objects and comments whose portentousness is sometimes more evident to the viewer than the characters, sometimes not; quick bangs of unexpected intercutting; and a surreal sequence (dream? flashback?)that is introduced and finished without explanation-- contribute to a mood of nightmarish excitement, like one of those horrific dreams in which you've been thrown in with people of whom you know little, threatened on every side by an unseen menace. That menace takes the form of a serial killer making fiction-into-fact of Peter Neal's latest novel. Argento seems to be in a let-it-all-hang-out mood here (but when isn't he?); the thickly decadent Eurodisco soundtrack that accompanies these lovingly-staged slaughters seems designed to inhance any charges of turning murder into voyeuristic spectacle. The killings that immediately follow on the heels of that bizarre dream-sequence bear this out: they're a sex-and-death orgy that takes the horror genre into Baudelaire. But the richest and most elaborate sequence of all concerns the hotel owner's nubile daughter, who gets stranded in some very sticky circumstances in the middle of the night in Rome. Pitch-perfect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably Argento's best, April 16 2002
By 
C. Clark (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tenebre (Widescreen) (DVD)
In his long and illustrious career, Dario Argento has focused on two subgenres of the horror film: the supernatural thriller and the giallo. For his best supernatural thriller, see "Suspiria." For his best giallo, see "Tenebrae."
I found "Tenebrae" to be much more enjoyable than "Deep Red," the 1975 pic most people consider to be Argento's best. "Tenebrae" has few of the gaps in pacing evidenced by "Deep Red"'s unedited bilingual version, and it also has an arguably more likeable lead--Anthony Franciosa playing Peter Neal, a successful American author on a book tour in Rome, a man who suddenly finds himself at the epicenter of a series of kinky murders committed by a fan apparently obsessed with Neal's most recent bestseller ("Tenebrae," which means "darkness" in Italian.)
So many faces familiar to Eurohorror pop up here: Daria Nicolodi as Neal's assistant who may or may not survive the bloodbath; John Steiner (also in Bava's "Shock" and the infamous "Caligula") making a bow as a nosy book reviewer; John Saxon as the cynical literary agent; Ania Pieroni, she of the gorgeous eyes and killer body, getting killed for being a promiscuous shoplifter. These engaging actors are thrown into a film filled with sexual tension, mystery...and murder. Lots of murder. The body count here is lower than, say, a "Halloween" or Jason movie, but the killings themselves are so memorable and done in such an artistic way--such an Argento way--that they instantly make one's top ten list.
It goes without saying that Argento's camera gymnastics are amazing here, including a two-minute louma crane shot covering the entire exterior of a building. If there are any drawbacks, it's that the color is rather washed out; most interiors are white on white, and as one critic once said, "Even the nighttime scenes are bright." If one is looking for Bava-inspired Argento colorization, watch "Suspiria" or the underrated "Inferno" instead.
In summary, "Tenebrae" is a must-own for all serious giallo fans.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gore, blood, great sound and very good picture! Enjoy!, Feb. 7 2002
By 
Jim K. (Scottsdale, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tenebre (Widescreen) (DVD)
I watched "Tenebre" before and wanted to view it again before writing my review. Recently I observed a very disappointing Image Entertainment offering of a Mario Bava film ("Hatchet for the Honeymoon") so I wanted something that would stimulate my senses - right away!
My system roared back to life when I chose and played "Tenebre". The surround sound is excellent for the 1982/1983 film and the picture alone I would rate probably --> 3 stars. There is plenty of color in the murder scenes. As always, I do not review the movie, directing, or acting, as I prefer to give readers tips on the quality of the DVD. As such, I highly recommend that you add this DVD to your Dario Argento collection; it's quite thrilling. Please note that Anchor Bay DVD's do not play well or at all on older DVD players or drives. Since I upgraded to a 16x drive, all my Anchor Bay DVD's play smoothly including "Tenebre".
A behind-the-scenes feature of sound effects is quite interesting. I could also listen to Dario speak about his films, in Italian, all day long. Of course, I need the translation or subtitles to help. There is a brief interview with Dario on this DVD with an audio translation.
There is plenty of blood and gore in this film for those who love it. Sounds too! Also noteworthy is a scene featuring a mature, voluptuous and solid woman who kneels down in front of a group of young men that are only wearing white pants. It's quite sensual. For whatever reason, one of the boys hits this woman. Later he is restrained and this beautiful but rough lady stomps on his face and puts the high heel of her red shoe into his mouth. It's a very exciting and thrilling scene! You will enjoy this scene very much as you figure out what it means to "Tenebre".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well Done Anchor Bay, Jan. 24 2002
By 
"londonsteven" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tenebre (Widescreen) (DVD)
I have been an Agento fan for years since his films were first shown in London. But could you get decent videos of his work? Not in England you couldn't. But now with Anchor Bay and multi-region DVD players we can finally get to see Agento's movies restored to their orignial version here in the UK.
Tenebre is, unlike Suspiria, a whodunnit. It is not as scary or as gory as Suspiria. However, there are genuine and very clever twists, some jump out the seat moments, the body count is higher, and it does keep you guessing until the end - anyone could be the killer. There are some very Hitchcockian moments (the scene where the Agent waits in a square for his lover), and the first time Jane appears. In many ways Tenebre is creepier than Suspiria. And the 2 American actors give very good performances.
Tenebre still has that Italian/Agento feel. Which in my view is part of its charm. I'm surprised there hasn't been a Hollywood rewrite/remake as overall it is a very effective thriller with some stunning set pieces.
This DVD is excellent quality. Anchor Bay have done an excellent job. There are bios of the cast, commentary from the Director, original trailer. And of course it's the full restored uncut version.
Thank you Anchor Bay!
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Tenebre
Tenebre by Dario Argento (DVD - 2008)
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