Tenebrae (1982) | Dario Argento’s visceral visual feast gets a shiny new remastered release from Arrow

Tenebrae SteelBook cover

After his shockfest masterpieces Suspiria and Inferno in 1977 and 1980, Dario Argento returned to his beloved giallo genre for 1982’s Tenebrae, a disturbing psychosexual murder mystery about the horrors of unexplained violence.

On a book signing tour in Rome, famed crime novelist Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) learns a razor-wielding psychopath is turning the fictional homicides in his latest chiller into sadistic, blood-drenched reality. But while helping the police, Neal and his closest associates soon find themselves next for the maniac’s slashing blade…


Argento is in top form here, giving fans all those trademark stylistic touches that he is famous for: the black-gloved assassin (using his own arm à la Hitchcock); the outsider trapped in a foreign city; flashback clues; inspired set-pieces – all combined with Luciano Tovoli’s dazzling, purposely clinical, cinematography, and an electrifying score from three members of Goblin.


But it’s Argento’s fast and furious murder sequences that fans crave and Tenebrae has one of the best; a four-minute sequence in which the killer scales the walls of a gorgeous modernist house to hunt down his prey to the pounding strains of Simonetti’s rock music (which the victims are actually listening too). It is the film’s most memorable sequence and one which forces the viewer to become the ultimate voyeur – just as Hitchcock did in the opening scene of Psycho. Argento also adds a touch of surrealism to the mix with some Suddenly Last Summer inspired flashbacks involving transgender actress Eva Robins, who plays the murderer’s first victim.

On a trivia note: Silvio Berlusconi’s wife Veronica Lario plays Neal’s fiancé Jane. Her bloody death scene was heavily censored in 1990s prints of the film, but is restored in the Arrow release.

For their UK SteelBook edition, Arrow Video presents a brand new edition of Tenebrae, remastered from original print materials by Wild Side Films in France, which improves on the 2011 slipox Blu-ray release (which was a tad grainy in parts). The extras are the same that appeared on that earlier release, although Daria Nicolodi’s introduction and ending has been omitted, with the highlight being Goblin (who return to the UK early in 2014) performing two tracks at a 2011 gig in Glasgow. New, however, is an informative analysis of the film from Maitland McDonagh (which contains spoilers, so be warned).


  • Limited Edition SteelBook packaging featuring original artwork
  • Remastered High Definition digital transfer of the film NEW
  • Presented in High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD
  • Optional original English & Italian Mono Audio tracks (uncompressed PCM Mono 2.0 Audio on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles for Italian audio and separate English subtitles for English audio
  • Audio commentary with Kim Newman and Alan Jones
  • Audio commentary with Argento expert Thomas Rostock
  • Introduction by 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
  • Interview with Maitland McDonagh, author of Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento NEW
  • Original Trailer
  • Collector’s booklet featuring writings by Alan Jones (Profondo Argento), cinematographer Luciano Tovoli and director Peter Strickland.

About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on December 16, 2013, in Horror, Must See, Must-See and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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