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Tenebrae (1982)

Tenebre (original title)
Trailer
3:15 | Trailer

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An American writer in Rome is stalked by a serial killer bent on harassing him while killing all people associated with his work on his latest book.

Director:

Dario Argento

Writers:

Dario Argento (screenplay), Dario Argento (story)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Franciosa ... Peter Neal
Christian Borromeo ... Gianni
Mirella D'Angelo ... Tilde
Veronica Lario ... Jane McKerrow
Ania Pieroni ... Elsa Manni
Eva Robins ... Girl on Beach
Carola Stagnaro Carola Stagnaro ... Detective Altieri
John Steiner ... Christiano Berti
Lara Wendel ... Maria Alboretto
John Saxon ... Bullmer
Daria Nicolodi ... Anne
Giuliano Gemma ... Detective Germani
Isabella Amadeo Isabella Amadeo ... Bullmer's secretary
Mirella Banti Mirella Banti ... Marion
Ennio Girolami ... Department Store Manager (as Enio Girolami)
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Storyline

With Argento's trademark visual style, linked with one of his more coherent plots, Tenebrae follows a writer who arrives to Rome only to find somebody is using his novels as the inspiration (and, occasionally, the means) of committing murder. As the death toll mounts the police are ever baffled, and the writer becomes more closely linked to the case than is comfortable. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From The Undisputed Master Of The Macabre... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian | Spanish

Release Date:

17 February 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tenebre See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono | Stereo (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director trademark: [Dario Argento] Murder victim crashes through window. See more »

Goofs

Just before Elsa is killed, the attacker shoves several individual wads of paper into her mouth. But as she dies, she spits it out and the pages are now wadded together in one giant ball. See more »

Quotes

Peter Neal: I've been charged, I've tried building a plot the same way you have. I've tried to figure it out; but, I just have this hunch that something is missing, a tiny piece of the jigsaw. Somebody who should be dead is alive, or somebody who should be alive is already dead.
Detective Germani: Explain that.
Peter Neal: You know, there's a sentence in a Conan Doyle book, "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
See more »

Crazy Credits

Anne's screams continue even as the ending credits roll. See more »

Alternate Versions

The hand chopping was shortened by 4 seconds for a British cinema certificate, and this version was also released on video before 1984. In that year, videos were then required to be classified seperately from cinema releases in the UK. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dario Argento: An Eye for Horror (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Take Me Tonight
Performed by Kim Wilde
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Violent Argento with highs and lows
29 July 2004 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

I really like Argento-horror and Tenebrae sure ranks as my second favorite film of his. But, by no means I can refer to his films as being genre-masterpieces. They merely are top-notch entertainment for the more demanding horror fans. Yet, Dario's films always show a lot of directorial style and compelling suspense. Argento films somewhat float between classics and oblivion. With Tenebrae, Argento once again proves himself to be a master of suspense. A master of plotting, however, he is not. The film tells the story of a successful American horror author who comes to Rome to promote his latest work: A semi-perverted and anti-feminist horror novel called…duh…Tenebrae. Along with the writer's arrival in Rome, a sadistic killing spree terrorizes the city. In order to practice his filthy hobby, the killer closely follows the writer's new book line by line. Roman police forces lack complete professionalism as usual and our Yank starts his own little investigation.

I'll be the first to admit that Tenebrae contains genuinely creepy moments. Like, for example, when a young girl is accidentally trapped within the killer's mansion after being chased by an aggressive dog. That particular sequence is a pure piece of Argento-brilliance. Almost ten minutes of scares and a swirling camera style, guided by compelling music. But, as opposed to outstanding sequences like this, there are too many uninspired, rubbish sequences in which Argento desperately tries to keep the killer's identity hidden. Not highly efficient and exaggeratedly gross. The film is a bit long and a scene cut here or there would have been appropriate. I guess Argento saved up all the 'cutting' exclusively for the victims in his script. Another slight disappointment in Tenebrae (although this may be very personal) is that John Saxon is dreadfully underused. Saxon is one of the most charismatic B-actors ever, but he barely has any screen time. What the hell is that about, Dario? But, for the gorehounds among us, Tenebrae easily is one of Argento's sickest, most violent films. Slit throats…blood-colored walls…axe dismemberments and some other filthy tricks. By the end of the film, the entire cast is neatly exterminated. Very convenient, no?

At the beginning of this review, I mentioned that Tenebrae is my second favorite Argento film. This film is only outshined by (Terror at the) Opera! That particular sickie is less hyped than the rest of Argento's repertoire, but a lot more slick, clever and shocking.


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