Tenebrae, first released in 1982, was written and directed by iconic Italian horror maestro, Dario Argento (Suspiria, Phenomena), however this is not one of his better offerings.
Tenebrae tells the story of Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa – The Long Hot Summer), an American author who is visiting Rome in order to secure a book deal.
Soon after he arrives, he begins to receive letters (made using newspaper cut-outs), featuring quotes from his latest work, Tenebrae. Alongside the letters, the police begin to find bodies, killed using the methods mentioned in the book, the first victim having pages torn from the book stuffed into her mouth.
Then begins a race against time to decipher the meaning of the letters as they get more threatening and stop the killer before he strikes again, or even kills the author he seems to be stalking.
This might have worked in the early eighties, but it really doesn’t translate well to modern day viewing at all. The Blu-ray conversion is excellent, which I think may be part of the problem, they have taken away what little sense of mystery a slightly fuzzy picture may have provided. The eighties soundtrack also makes no sense to modern ears, not much good for creating atmosphere.
There was actually an entire scene devoted to a beauty pass of a concrete monstrosity of a house (including tiles) which served to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were indeed inside a building. Where all the action was allegedly taking place.
There are loads and loads of special features included with this release of Tenebrae, enough to bring sufficiently interested parties to orgasm no doubt.
- Audio Commentary with authors and critics Kim Newman and Alan Jones
- Audio Commentary with Argento expert Thomas Rostock
- Introduction by star Daria Nicolodi
- The Unsane World of Tenebrae: An interview with director Dario Argento
- Screaming Queen! Daria Nicolodi remembers Tenebrae
- A Composition for Carnage: Composer Claudio Simonetti on Tenebrae
- Goblin: ‘Tenebrae’ and ‘Phenomena’ Live from the Glasgow Arches
- Brand new interview with Maitland McDonagh, author of Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento
- Original Trailer
All in all, if you are a die-hard Dario Argento fan, then this latest release is all singing and all dancing and will offer everything you need. If not, you may be disappointed. See this face – you’ll be doing this by the end of the film.