Blu-Ray Review: Tenebrae

Sometimes life is stranger than fiction, but usually it’s the other way round. Occasionally, true events correspond closely to the story of a book, film or TV programme. These copycats usually become obsessed with the source material and feel driven to act on some perverse compulsion. Thankfully, these cases are rare, but are also fascinating in many ways. The enduring popularity of Murder She Wrote, which had twelve seasons, attests to this appeal. Tenebrae takes this infatuation to another level.

Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) is an award-winning crime writer who arrives in Rome to promote his latest novel, Tenebrae. He is accompanied by his agent Bullmer (John Saxon) and his long-serving personal assistant Anne (Daria Nicolodi). However, when he’s contacted by Detective Germani (Giuliano Gemma) about a murder which references his book, it soon becomes clear that he might be the ultimate target.

Dario Argento returned to giallo with Tenebrae and it contains many of the concepts and ideas which distinguished his work from his peers. Along with a number of similar thematic elements and shooting choices. This does make for a slightly derivative, if wholly entertaining, affair. The kills are brutal and the blood runs freely. It’s also as gloriously stylish and somewhat bizarre, as we’ve come to expect from the Italian maestro.

Limited Dual Format Edition Contents:

  • New 4K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
  • Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Obviously Creative
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by filmmaker Peter Strickland and Argento biographer Alan Jones, an interview with cinematographer Luciano Tovoli and a new, in-depth analysis of the film by critic Ashley Lane
  • Fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Obviously Creative
  • Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards

Disc 1 (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray) – Original Version:

  • 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

Disc 2 (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray) – Unsane Version:

  • 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

Disc 3 (Blu-Ray) – Original Version:

  • High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
  • All the same content as Disc 1

Tenebrae is released on Dual Format Limited Edition 4K UHD Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 18 July.

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