Schlocktoberfest IV – Day 19: Tenebre

Schlocktoberfest IV

Tenebre (1982)

By guest writer Jim DiNolfo (You can see other fine examples of Jim’s commentary and reviews in our past Shlocktoberfests like: KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, Fade to Black, Halloween, You’re Next, and Bay of Blood.


Giallo: Cappicola and Carnage Book III

*Spoilers Throughout*

tenebreposterWhat’s It About: Peter Neal’s new novel “Tenebre” (Italian for darkness) is met with a new marketing ploy involving murdering a bunch of people. 

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • We start off with an opening shot of Neal’s novel burning in a fireplace while the opening theme plays. A song performed by members of Goblin, but can easily be confused with Daft Punk.
  • The opening shot is immediately followed by one that looks exactly like the opening credits to “Taxi.”
  • Speaking of taxis – every one of them as well as the buses are plastered in cigarette ads. Somebody tell Don Draper that there is such a thing as over-doing it.
  • Ah, the glorious 1980’s: when you could arrive at the terminal ten minutes before your plane takes off and get on it without a hitch.
  • The music playing in the department store is Goblin’s “Torte in Faccia,” one of their best tracks off of the “Zombi” soundtrack.
  • Not only does Michael Myers apparently shop in the same department store, but he also seems to hang out way too long in the Revlon aisle.
  • A homeless man almost gets his nuts kicked through his balloon knot by a sexy shoplifter.
  • My entry for the “You Know You’re Having A Bad Day When…” joke: When the bum you have just genitally assaulted ends up being the prime witness to your murder seven minutes after you try to kick a field goal with his juevos.
  • The killer mistakes the sexy shoplifter for a Thanksgiving turkey judging by the number of book pages he shoves in her mouth before cutting her throat.
  • Hey! John Saxon is in this! Right on.
  • So help me fuck, another Giallo where the killer has a stupid voice.
  • A severely drunk and naked lesbian should not make advances on her lover by announcing that she is about to throw-up. I mean, I would guess not. I don’t watch “Ellen.”
  • This needs to be the theme to the next Olympics:
  • The killing of the book critic has to be one of the most beautiful kills ever filmed, and of course Dario Argento would be the one to film it. I know how that sounds and I don’t care.
  • Cute Italian girls who say, “Is ok if I use bathroom?” are a private fetish of mine. Well, maybe not so private anymore.
  • The two hotel maintenance men are a definite pre-cursor to the Super Mario Brothers.
  • Christiano Berti’s living room looks a lot like the lobby to Nakatomi Plaza from Die Hard.
  • Nothing gets you into your secretary’s panties quicker than minor head trauma.
  • The couple having a lover’s spat while John Saxon watches them looks like the lead singer of REO Speedwagon yelling at Princess Diana.
  • The denouement of this film should confuse you for at least 45 seconds – after that if you didn’t figure it out, you’re not as drunk as I was.

Is It Actually Scary: In a sort of stalker-ish kind of way it is. All the gore aside I consider this a murder mystery more than a horror movie.

The best thing you could do with a copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey to one its fans.

The best thing you could do with a copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey to one its fans.

Scariest Moment: I would say that Jane’s murder set piece would be the one that has the most tension to it.

Most Disturbing Moment: When Christiano sits Peter down and instead of interviewing him informs him of his somewhat loosely interpreted Catholic faith.

Dumbest Moment: Detective Giermani’s coda. He figures most of the plot out, then runs back into the crime scene to get an axe in his back. Jesus dude, leave the fuel and just walk away!

How Much Gore: Several throat slittings and stabbings keep it around average. That is until Jane gets her arm cut off with an axe, which brings it way over the top as she shoots about fifteen gallons of blood over a fortuitously white painted wall.

A deleted scene where Dorothy lets the leader of the Lollipop Guild know what she really thinks of his welcome to Munchkin land.

A deleted scene where Dorothy lets the leader of the Lollipop Guild know what she really thinks of his welcome to Munchkin land.

Best Line: “Sic Transit Gloria lesbie, so passes the glory of Lesbos.” Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the new motto for the LPGA.

Best Scene: When Neal and Detective Giermani utilize Sherlock Holmes’ quote from “The Hound of the Baskervilles” when trying to figure out what in the flying fuck is going on. “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” One of the greatest literary quotes ever written and almost completely inapplicable to this film.

Worst Scene: Whenever Neal’s visions of the woman in red shoes appear. Even when the significance of these memories are explained, you’re left emptier than a theater showing an Adam Sandler festival.

Any Nudity: A fair amount of boobs.

Tenebre gets your whites whiter without the reliance of bleach!

Tenebre gets your whites whiter without the reliance of bleach!

Overall: As the story goes, Argento was inspired to write this film after a stalker annoyed him himself. Don’cha hate these people? Just enjoy someone’s work and leave it at that for fuck’s sake. Anywhose, this is one of my favorite Giallos by the master who helped define the genre. I wouldn’t go as far to say this was his most personal work, or something trite like that – but I will say after watching this film you will see where the writer of “Basic Instinct” got his ideas.

Score: 8.5 two-minute amazing tracking shots (out of 10)

6 thoughts on “Schlocktoberfest IV – Day 19: Tenebre

  1. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest IV – Day 24: Stage Fright | Hard Ticket to Home Video

  2. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest IV – Day 25: The New York Ripper | Hard Ticket to Home Video

  3. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest IV – Day 30: The Weekend Murders | Hard Ticket to Home Video

  4. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest IV: Recap of Blood! | Hard Ticket to Home Video

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