Tenebrae

  • 1982
  • Movie
  • R
  • Horror

Peter Neal (Tony Franciosa) a popular American writer of mystery novels, arrives in Rome to go on a tour promoting his latest novel, Tenebrae. Shortly after his arrival, a series of horrible murders occurs, patterned after the killings in his book. One victim is found with several pages of Tenebrae stuffed in her mouth. Although the police are baffled,...read more

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Peter Neal (Tony Franciosa) a popular American writer of mystery novels, arrives in Rome to go on a tour promoting his latest novel, Tenebrae. Shortly after his arrival, a series of horrible murders occurs, patterned after the killings in his book. One victim is found with several pages of

Tenebrae stuffed in her mouth. Although the police are baffled, Neal decides to launch his own investigation, with the aid of his agent (John Saxon) and his staff. After several virtually plotless, surrealistic splatter movies (SUSPIRIA; INFERNO), director Dario Argento made a return with UNSANE

to the sort of suspense thriller--such as his seminal BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE--that made him famous. Although the mystery itself is nothing special, Argento uses the narrative structure as a jumping-off point for his virtuoso murder sequences, which are incredibly well orchestrated and

inventive. In one scene a girl is attacked as she is putting a t-shirt on. The killer slashes at her with a razor blade just as the shirt is going over her head, and makes a hole in the shirt large enough for her to look at him in terror before being murdered. In the same scene, the camera moves

from outside one victim's window, up the side of the building, into the window upstairs, and then prowls through the room searching for a new victim. Another great shot shows a detective standing in a room and looking for the killer. As the detective bends down, the killer--who was blocked from

the camera's view by the detective--is shown to be standing directly behind him. Argento also introduces a mocking tone of black humor into the proceedings by having a female book critic verbally assault novelist Neal for his misogyny--a charge often leveled against Argento, since the vast

majority of his victims are female. Once again, sources conflict as to the running time of this film and lengths of 110 minutes, 101 minutes, 100 minutes, and 91 minutes have been reported. This review was based on the videocassette release clocking in at 91 minutes, and it seemed to have suffered

from some trimming by the censors.

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  • Released: 1982
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Peter Neal (Tony Franciosa) a popular American writer of mystery novels, arrives in Rome to go on a tour promoting his latest novel, Tenebrae. Shortly after his arrival, a series of horrible murders occurs, patterned after the killings in his book. One vic… (more)

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