Tenebre (1982)

tenebre poster 1982 movie dario argenta
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great looking with an interesting story

Argento isn't for everyone

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Tenebre

Studio:  Sigma Cinematografica Roma

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  October 28, 1982

MPAA Rating:  X


This is totally ruining my haircut!

Peter Neal (Antony Franciosa) is a successful American writer but finds himself the targets of critics for his novels violence toward women.  When murders start occurring as Peter makes a trip to Rome to promote his new book Tenebre, the murderer seems to target Peter.  Peter and his assistants seek out the murder before the murderer comes to him…but as Sherlock Holmes said “when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

Written and directed by Dario Argento, Tenebre (sometimes also spelled Tenebrae or called Unsane) was an Italian giallo horror mystery. The movie received an X-Rating and was banned in many countries due to the violence in the film.  The film was relatively well received by critics and has gained a cult following amongst fans of Argento’s work.


This shirt has an extra hole in it…oh crap.

Argento is a really interesting director.  His work incorporates a ton of other works and is often hard to nail down to one genre.  In addition, he really writes about themes and concepts which can be viewed through his multiple movies.  Tenebre continues Argento’s ideas and is a must see by fans of the director.

Despite highly recommending most of Argento’s films for their uniqueness, I can’t recommend the films to everyone.  Like his other films, Argento’s stories are usually quite violent.  It is interesting that this story dips into the idea that violence toward women is different from violence toward men since Argento often has women as his victims (though men don’t fare well either).  In addition to this, there is always a lot of sexual undertones and stories of duality within characters that on the surface seem “normal”.

The cast of the movie isn’t the strongest.  I can’t say I always love Argento’s casting choices since he usually seems to cast looks over substance.  As a result the acting is rather stiff and wooden.  Argento allegedly said that Franciosa was one of the more difficult actors to work with.  The movie also has John Saxon in a small role, and I wish his character had been used more.


Ouch…it really hurts me when you hit me with an axe…

Visually is where Argento generally excels.  In this sense, though there are a number of graphic deaths, Tenebre seems a bit more controlled than some of Argento’s other films.  The deaths are quite as insane (though the final couple deaths are quite crazy and memorable).  A warning (as with most of his films) that the imagery is quite gory at points for those with a squeamish stomach.

Tenebre is another strong entry by a great director.  You might not always love Dario Argento’s films, but you do remember them.  The only problem with Argento’s films is that with similar themes, you sometimes forget which film is which.  Tenebre is not my favorite Argento movie, but most will find it a worthwhile trip into the slasher genre.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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