Sadistically beautiful and viciously exciting, welcome to true terror with Dario Argento's shockingly relentless "Tenebrae".
While stylish, the violent content caused it to be banned in the UK. A technically disappointing DVD was released a few years back. Now the US Anchor Bay uncut release has made it over here, with some improvements that make it the best disc around for this legendary slice of Italian mayhem.
Picture The picture transfer is a little on the soft side and detail sometimes lower than is preferable. It's an improvement over the old Nouveaux DVD, but not much better than the early 80s Videomedia Betamax release (OK, a sad comparison, but hey, that was one good-looking tape!).
Sound The US Anchor Bay disc suffered a little too much from poor separation, with over-dominant rear tracks. This seems to have been cured somewhat for the bass-heavy 5.1 mix on this UK release.
Audio Commentary Argento is notoriously reluctant to watch any of his old films again. So Anchor Bay did well to persuade him into doing an audio commentary with composer Claudio Simonetti and journalist Loris Curci.
The problem with this track is that Argento's English is limited. For someone who is so passionate about discussing movies, he's clearly limited in what he can say here. An Italian recording with subtitles would have been preferable. But Argento's enthusiasm shines through nevertheless as he talks about this being his return to the giallo genre after his horror hits "Suspiria" and "Inferno". Handily he also explains what some of the scenes are about, which will come as a relief to even hardcore Argentophiles.
Interview Anchor Bay has somehow unearthed an ancient interview with Dario Argento and then wife, and co-star of the film, Daria Nicolodi. At over half an hour there's some interesting material here, even if the fashion tastes may cause a few giggles.
Film Analysis "Tenebrae" is a film that's been worried over by many a film analyst and critic. Xavier Mendik here offers his own interpretation of what it all means. His analysis is clear and, while hailing the technical excellence of the movie, he criticises the woolly plotting, which is never properly resolved; at least not if you want an account of all the murders that take place.
Featurettes Two featurettes have been made out of segments taken from an 80s documentary on Argento. These cover the extraordinary two-minute Loumo crane shot over a whole house, and the creation of the gruesome Foley effects.
Additional Extra Features Also on the DVD is a trailer, and cast and crew biographies.
Ratio: 2.35:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Audio Tracks: English
Menus: Animated with freakish visions and nasty heavy breathing that encircles you as you tremble to make your selection
Special Features Subtitles: None of the special features come with subtitles.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.