Tenebre (1982)
Directed by Dario Argento

Starring Ania Pieroni Anthony Franciosa Christian Borromeo Mirella D'Angelo Veronica Lario

Solid Argento giallo film is hampered by a weak performance by Franciosa as the American mystery writer who, during a visit to Rome, gets embroiled in a series of murders based on his latest book, "Tenebre."

Like all the killers in Argento films, this one wears black leather gloves and is played by Argento himself (until the character's true face is revealed). Argento claimed that his story was influenced by a disturbing incident he had in 1980 with an obsessed fan. According to Argento, the fan telephoned him repeatedly, day after day, until finally confessing that he wanted to kill the director.

The ending of "Tenebre" is a bit silly and confusing, but Argento, as usual, delivers the proceedings with plenty of style—and gore. This film features what is easily the bloodiest axe murder ever filmed. There are also some wild dream sequences featuring the murder of a mysterious woman wearing bright red shoes. The woman is played by real-life transsexual Eva Robbins, who was a Bond girl in "For Your Eyes Only." Amazingly, you can't tell that she used to be a man from her scenes here, despite ample nudity.

The real highlight of this film is the rock soundtrack by three former members of the band Goblin (who scored Argento's "Supsiria" and "Deep Red"). Fans of their work should be thrilled by it.

The film was originally released on tape in the U.S. in a heavily edited and almost incomprehensible version called "Unsane." Anchor Bay released an uncensored version of the film, under its original title, in 1999.

Highly recommended for any of Argento's fans, but mainstream audiences may not grasp the appeal.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

Posted by Stephen Pearce on October 23, 2010
One of my personal favourite Dario Argento films

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