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Tenebrae DVD


After several excursions into supernatural horror, Dario Argento returned to the homicidal frenzy that made his reputation with this mystery that plays more like a grown-up slasher movie than a detective thriller. Anthony Franciosa stars as Peter Neal, a best-selling horror novelist whose promotional tour in Italy takes a terrible turn when a mysterious killer recreates the brutal murders from his book with real-life victims. The first to die are so-called "deviants", Neal's own friends and finally there comes a promise that the author himself is next on the list. Columbo it ain't, but Argento has always been more concerned with style than story and his execution of the crimes is pure cinematic bravura. From the simple beauty of a straight razor shattering a light bulb (the camera catches the red-hot filament slowly blacking out) to an ambitious crane shot that creeps up and over the sides of a house under siege in a voyeuristic survey that would make Hitchcock proud, Argento turns the art of murder into a stylish spectacle. He even lets his kinkier side show with flashbacks of an adolescent boy and a teasing dominatrix in red stiletto heels that become a key motif of the film. The objects of Argento's homicidal tendencies are traditionally lovely, scantily clad Italian beauties, and with self-deprecating humour he even inserts a scene in which Neal is taken to task for the misogynist violence of his stories--an accusation Argento himself has weathered for years. --Sean Axmaker

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Italian horror written and directed by Dario Argento. Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) is a mystery writer in Rome to promote his new novel. His stay is disturbed by a crazed maniac who begins a terrifying murder spree, stuffing his victims' mouths with pages from Neal's books. With the death toll continuing to rise and the police struggling to find any leads, Neal and his assistant Anne (Daria Nicolodi) begin an investigation of their own. The cast also includes John Saxon, Guiliano Gemma and Christian Borromeo.

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