Tenebrae is one of Dario Argento‘s many murder movies and he’s going to make sure he gets his money’s worth when it comes to spilling the blood juice he’s bought to spill.
Tenebrae is a book dubbed the ‘Thriller of the Year’ by the critics, full of grisly murders, with the killer acting out what he or she has read in the book, which is written by celebrated author Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa), so he’s more concerned than anyone that such behaviour is going on as it’s obviously not the greatest publicity.
If there’s not murders being committed, then there’s often big-breasted women walking around with little or nothing on.
In fact, a lot of the murders depicted happen to people who just stand there and wait for the killer to plunge the knife into them. They have plenty of time to run away, but they just sit there patiently and let it happen. As such, I’ve got no sympathy for them.
When it comes to the languages in the film, while Argento is Italian, the film was shot with most of the cast members speaking their dialogue in English so as to increase its chances for successful exportation to the U.S. Back home, it was dubbed into Italian where the killer’s voice heard reading aloud from Neal’s book in the opening sequence was supplied by Argento himself. In the English-language version, Franciosa, Giuliano Gemma, John Steiner and John Saxon all provided their own voices, while it’s rumoured Daria Nicolodi‘s voice was dubbed by actress Theresa Russell.
As such, the actor playing the coroner goes by the name of Gianpaolo Saccarola – clearly Italian, but here, he sounds more like Rodney Bewes 🙂
There’s also a small amount of Spanish spoken in the film.
Tenebrae has been released in a number of different versions. It was first put out at 110 minutes in length, then later edited down to 91 minutes, but the version presented here is Dario Argento’s 101-minute director’s cut. I hadn’t seen any version before, but the definitive cut of any film should be the director’s cut.
The acting, throughout, is pretty much appalling, but in the world of cult classics, that’s going to be a plus for a film like this. I found the film mostly a nonsense but enjoyed the murders.
Go to page 2 for the presentation and the extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.