Saturday, 14 December 2013

Tenebrae Pre-Release Blu-ray Review

Review By Patrick Scattergood

Italian with English subtitles

Written and Directed By
Dario Argento

A Sigma Cinematografica Roma Film



Anthony Franciosa as Peter Neal
Christian Borromeo as Gianni
Mirella D'Angelo as Tilde
John  Saxon as Bullmer
Ania Pieroni as Elsa Manni
Carola Stagnaro as Detective Altieri

Certificate 18


A notorious horror classic returns in all its depraved glory. 

This infamous video nasty updated the classic Giallo blueprint for the gorified 80s, courting controversy and drenching the viewer in crimson arterial spray.
A razor-wielding psycho is stalking the horror writer Peter Neal, in Rome to promote his latest work, Tenebre. But the author isn’t the obsessive killer’s only target, the beautiful women who surround him are doomed as one by one, they fall victim to the murderer’s slashing blade…
Will fiction and reality blur as fear and madness take hold? Watch in terror as by turns the cast fall victim to the sadistic imagination of Dario Argento, Italy’s master of horror.

Special Features
  • Limited Edition SteelBook™ packaging featuring original artwork
  • 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
  • Exclusive collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Alan Jones, author of Profondo Argento, an interview with cinematographer Luciano Tovoli and an appreciation of the film by director Peter Strickland, illustrated with original posters and lobby cards

'Tenebrae' is one of those movies that not only has a massive reputation for the movie itself but is also directed by a man known as a legend to horror movie fans.  That man is Dario Argento.

To be honest, and I know this will be sacrilege to many of you, I've never been that big a fan of Argento despite being a massive horror movie nut.  I've always found that his work, while looking fantastic and with some of the best shots I've seen in a movie, to be a bit 'style over substance' if I'm completely honest.  Like i said before, some of the ways he films the scenes and creates the look of the movie is utterly unique and looks fantastic.  It's the performances in his movies  that sometimes let his work down.

'Tenebrae' is one of those sorts of films that looks absolutely gorgeous yet is a little hampered by the performances of the cast.  That's a real shame because it's really interesting and in the shape of the long flowing crane shot, has some of the most eye popping scenes I've seen for a long time in a movie.

As horror fans, I know that you are all interested in the blood, guts and gore and with this movie, you won't be disappointed.  There are a hell of a lot of blood soaked deaths here yet some of them left a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth.  It wasn't because of the level of gore, I've seen much worse in the hundreds if not thousands of horror movies that I have seen, yet for some reason I just felt like some of it felt like it had been placed there just for the sake of it being there.

The performances here are quite hit and miss but if you are an Argento fan then that's not really what you have come to watch.  It would be a bit like wanting Oscar winning performances in a Bruce Lee movie, it's just not going to happen.  However, I do sometimes wish that Argento would pay more attention to getting better performances from his cast instead of trying to outdo each shot with a better more unique one.

For all it's flaws, I did find myself getting sucked in to the movie and wanting to find out who the murderer was.  There were a lot of red herrings and while the ending wasn't the most shocking or mind blowing that I have ever seen, at least it wasn't a massive cliche either.

If you watch the movie however, I would definitely watch the subtitled version as some of the dubbing is a little, I think suspect would be the nicest word.  I wouldn't say that it's 70's kung fu movie bad but some of the scenes had such bad dubbing that were unintentionally funny.

All in all, for a movie that is over thirty years old to still have the ability to get under your skin and hook you in despite some flaws, that's a big compliment.  It's not Argento's best by any stretch of the imagination and I, for one, think it is a little over rated but I still got sucked in to wanting to see who was committing the murders and why.  I also found some of the scenes and how they were directed managed to look absolutely gorgeous despite being full of blood and gore.

The special features here are superb.  Once again Arrow Films have done a truly brilliant job at bringing some fantastic bits and pieces for the fans and I would even go so far as to say that there are a couple of features here that make the movie worth buying for alone.

An essential purchase for Argento fans and a much better transfer than when this movie was released on to Blu-ray before as well with a lovely, clear transfer picture wise as well as sound wise.

Movie 7/10
Picture 8/10
Sound 8/10
Special Features 9/10
Overall 32/40

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