By 1982 writer director Dario Argento had secured a reputation as a master of the giallo thriller that had started in 1970 with his debut film, ‘Cat o Nine Tails’ and the 1970’s had seen Suspiria and Inferno. and whilst in LA writing he had been stalked with a series of phone calls that were murderous in intent Even when he moved home the mystery stalker still found his phone number and he understandably went back to Rome to work on his next film Tenebrae in what would be his return to giallo thriller that he had made his name

The malicious phone calls in LA had inspired his script where  a razor-wielding psychopath is stalking the thriller writer Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa, -Death Wish II), in Rome to promote his latest work, Tenebrae. 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.

Argento would use the film as his riposte to accusations of sexism and misogyny that had, not unfairly, been levelled at his films. So unsurprisingly the film features a scene where a journalist aggressively accuses the films central character of such but the film never really offers a decent riposte. Beautiful women are often brutally slaughtered with a cut throat razor before the killer resorts to an axe as the story progresses and throughout several of the women are topless for seemingly little other reason than titilation – a topless woman on a beach is surrounded at waist level by four men, another topless woman leaves her shower to investigate a neighbour’s scream. Tenebrae culminates in a blood soaked finale where the bodies pile up and Argento adds several some decent stylistic touches from with a technically impressive a crane shot over and around a house (although it could equally have been achieved by several single shots clever edited into one ) and some creatively brutal – a victim gets an arm chopped off and sprays a white wall with a fountain of blood.

Tenebrae is the latest Argento work to be released by Arrow Films and has been given their customary excellent range of bonus features and for the first time includes the alternate US cut. There’s a very good commentary track from critic Kim Newman with Argento biographer Alan Jones as might be expected and is the best of the commentary tracks on the discs. One of the better bonus features is an archival interview with actor John Steiner who recounts how his career had been on the up and he had ended up in Rome with a girlfriend where he appeared in a load of decent Italian films before he began to fall out of favour as practices in the Italian film industry began to change for the worse. Added to this is a highly informative documentary about the giallo genre and its ongoing influence.

In all the features include:

  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray™ presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
    • Original Italian and English front and end titles and insert shots
    • Restored original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
    • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
    • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
    • Audio commentary by authors and critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
    • Audio commentary by Argento expert Thomas Rostock
    • Audio commentary by Maitland McDonagh, author of Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento
    • Yellow Fever: The Rise and Fall of the Giallo, a feature-length documentary charting the genre from its beginnings to its influence on the modern slasher film, featuring interviews with Dario Argento, Umberto Lenzi, Luigi Cozzi and more
    • Being the Villain, a newly edited archival interview with actor John Steiner
    • Out of the Shadows, an archival interview with Maitland McDonagh
    • Voices of the Unsane, an archival featurette containing interviews with writer/director Dario Argento, actresses Daria Nicolodi and Eva Robins, cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, composer Claudio Simonetti and assistant director Lamberto Bava
    • Screaming Queen, an archival interview with Daria Nicolodi
    • The Unsane World of Tenebrae, an archival interview with Dario Argento
    • A Composition for Carnage, an archival interview with Claudio Simonetti
    • Archival introduction by Daria Nicolodi
    • International theatrical trailer
    • Japanese “Shadow” theatrical trailer
    • Alternate opening credits sequence
    • “Unsane” end credits sequence
    • Image galleries


  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray™ presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
    • The re-edited 90-minute US version, specially recreated for this release from the new 4K restoration of the full-length 101-minute version, exclusive to UHD
    • Two audio options: a recreation of the original theatrical experience, complete with jump cuts and sudden audio shifts, and a new, more seamless edit created for this release, both in restored lossless English mono
    • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
    • Original “Take Me Tonight” stereo EP recording, performed by Kim Wilde

Here’s the Tenebrae trailer…….


Read our review of Vortex HERE that has Argento playing a lead role rather than directing

Read our 4K UHD disc review of Argento’s 1985 film Phenomena starring Jennifer Connolly


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here