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Feature
Dario Argento brings us the story of a razor-wielding psycho who is stalking the horror writer Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa), in Rome while promoting his latest novel, Tenebre. The obsessive killer is targeting the beautiful women who surround him and they all fall victim to the murderers slashing blade.

*I got this review disc a bit late, so in order to get the review up, I'll skip the film review and move straight on to the specs*

Video


The video presentation here, which I’I'm informed by the Wilson Bros. comes from the French Wild Side transfer that has been tweaked a little by Arrow, arrives with a noticeable layer of grain at times but generally colour and detail looks pretty fantastic given the films age. Skin tones are warm, the natural lighting really gives everything a real world glow and small things like the reflection of light in characters' eyes and small details in clothing such as patterns and texture really do take advantage of the HD home.

Throughout the film, skin textures and detail in close ups can really impress. If elements are under strong lighting everything fares a little better than when overcast skies get in the way but no matter the lighting, edges are nice and sharp and some exterior scenes come with a real sense of depth. The early 80s look of the film has a much cleaned up appearance and when comparing to some of the lesser presentation examples within some of the extra features, there’s a noticeable improvement here.

I didn't get a chance to see if previous Blu-ray releases, but by all accounts there was a distinct overbearing grain issue. That is not the case here at all. Grain is apparent in wider areas of clear sky but its certainly not anything that takes away from the otherwise deliciously bright and clean overhaul of a 30+ year old cult classic.

Audio


The opening electronic disco number sounds rich and full only to reduce to a rather muffled, washy sound of traffic as the film begins. Thankfully when the dialogue arrives everything returns to a crisp clean place again, sitting strong and centrally in its overdubbed recording. General ambience sits well in the track, filling out scenes and it really brings locations to life.

Then there is the score that creeps around the speakers to generate the required sense of unease. When best used it initially starts as an element that sits quietly behind other elements and then it soon builds up to become the main driver to what’s going on. Yes, the chirpier electronic elements do often undermine the creepier visuals but it’s a strong audio presentation none the less that feels fresh, layered and well structured and not at all held back by its age (other than stylistically).

Extras


The optional 11 second introduction with by Daria Nicolodi is largely pointless, then we’re on to the commentary with Alan Jones and Kim Newman which focuses very much on how the story is unfolding and the questions the audience may be asking themselves. There’s a lot of easter egg shout outs and backgrounds for some of the actors and it generally becomes a great track for fans of the film.

The second commentary with Thomas Rostock feels like more of a study of the film, talking of the filmmaking techniques, the structure of the film and the things the film does so well. Rostock's voice sounds almost computer generated in its pacing and lack of emotion and makes the track run very much like a series of mini factoids.

'Screaming Queen: Daria Nicolodi Remembers Tenebrae' (16:04 HD) talks of her work with Argento and her experience working on Tenebrae.
'The Unsane World of Tenebrae: An Interview With Dario Argento' (15:13 HD) talks of the directors approach to his story here and the game he was playing with the critics who were claiming he made films like this because he himself was a little unhinged. Certain scenes are highlighted as examples of this and its actually quite a fun look back at the films creation and history.

'A Composition For Carnage: Claudio Sionetti on Tenebrae' (10:04 HD) cover the upbeat score and 'Goblin:Tenebrae and Phenomena Live From Glasgow Arches' (16:37 HD) is a live performance to go alongside it, which is a great watch.

Maitland McDonagh on Tenebrae (12:20 HD) is an Argento expert giving a well focused, to the point look at the film and generally gives a great overview of where the film came from and how it was received.

Last up is the Trailer, a DVD copy and of course the pretty steelbook option.

Overall


Tenebrae comes with a lot of VHS history and a much loved director so it’s good to see the film looking and sounding so fresh on Blu-ray. Arrow provide a ton of great extras here and anything left out of the featurettes are more than covered in the two commentary tracks so fans of Tenebrae or all things Argento should enjoy all thats included here as well as a nice steelbook case to keep it in.

 Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.

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