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Tenebre (1987)

1 rating: 3.0
Cult Movies movie directed by Dario Argento

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, … see full wiki

Tags: Movie
Director: Dario Argento
1 review about Tenebre (1987)

Dude really goes thick with the Blood Canister

  • Oct 22, 2007
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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