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Tenebre (1982)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Tenebre (1982) One of my all-time favorites from director Dario Argento! An American author is visiting Rome to promote his latest horror novel, TENEBRE, only to discover that a deranged fan is killing people in his honor, jamming pages of his novel down their throats and even duplicating some of the murders in the book! With an ominous threat that he will be next, the writer, his entourage (starry eyed personal assistant, his agent, and another assistant), and the police rush to stop the mystery murderer. There's plenty of red herrings along the way, including the writer's rage-fueled ex-wife, who has apparently followed him to Rome. John Saxon plays the agent, and he's terrific as always. This is a Giallo film (an Italian murder mystery where the killer isn't revealed until the end) and wow, the murder set-pieces in this one still deliver shocks and awes! Using an ax and razor, and especially the ax, there's one scene where a victim has her arm unexpectedly chopped in half while sitting at a table. She stands up and the stump is jetting blood out like a fire hose all over the wall behind her before she falls to the floor and the killer continues hacking at her! Incredible staging here, so artistic and perfect, done with a wicked eye for detail. Argento is like the Leonardo Da Vinci of staged violence, when comparing him to say, H.G. Lewis. The way his camera moves, swoops, cranes, and captures the action cannot be duplicated. Even Argento himself (much like other directors from the era like John Carpenter) can't seem to recapture that mojo, that fire, he had back in the day. There are intense stalking scenes, POV attacks, the old Hitchcock/DePalma salute where a murder is witnessed through a glass atrium but cannot be stopped, and an incredibly engaging twist ending. Music by Goblin is stellar, again in the electronic style of John Carpenter, and there's plenty of naked breasts peppered throughout the proceedings to keep all you horndog, lady lustin' pervs (like me) happy. And it's got John Saxon in it! I wish he would've played the lead in this film, would've made it even better, but his performance as the somewhat shady agent is quite good. Also have to say Hollywood kind of really aped this movie over the years with movies like SEVEN and BASIC INSTINCT, which in particular, seemed to borrow a lot from the plot of this movie, right down to the writer of the book emulating murders they wrote and being the lead suspect throughout. Argento! TENEBRE! Pure excellence which should be seen and revisited by every card carrying horror fanatic on a regular basis.

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