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110 min | USA:91 min (edited version) | 101 min (director's cut)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
IMDB rate:
Dario Argento
Country: Italy
Release Date: 1984-02-17
Filming Locations: Viale Perù, 40 00060 Le Rughe RM, Formello, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Anthony Franciosa
Peter Neal
Christian Borromeo
Mirella D'Angelo
Veronica Lario
Jane McKerrow
Ania Pieroni
Elsa Manni
Eva Robins
Girl on Beach
Carola Stagnaro
Detective Altieri
John Steiner
Christiano Berti
Lara Wendel
Maria Alboretto
John Saxon
Daria Nicolodi
Isabella Amadeo
Bullmer's secretary
Mirella Banti
Ennio Girolami
Department Store Manager (as Enio Girolami)
Monica Maisani
Marino Masé
Fulvio Mingozzi
Alboretto, the porter
Gianpaolo Saccarola
Ippolita Santarelli
Francesca Viscardi
Dario Argento
Narrator (Italian version) / Murderer's Hands (voice) (uncredited)
Lamberto Bava
Elevator Repairman #1 (uncredited)
Michele Soavi
Maria's Boyfriend / Man Walking with Girl on Beach (uncredited)
Did you know?
Director Dario Argento called star Anthony Franciosa one of the most difficult actors he's ever worked with.
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Director's Trademark: (Dario Argento) closeup shots of the killer's hands, clad in black leather gloves.
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In the Italian language version of the film the opening narration is performed by director Dario Argento.
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Just before Elsa is killed, the attacker shoves several individual wads of paper into her mouth. But as she dies, she spits it out and the pages are now wadded together in one giant ball.
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On the telephone, the killer tells Peter Neal that "you wrote those words, page 46," but in fact the words quoted would have had to be on an odd-numbered page of the book TENEBRAE, given the placement of the text we see in the opening sequence.
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When the female victim has her hand cut off with the axe, the arm is much longer than before.
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Peter Neal: I've been charged, I've tried building a plot the same way you have. I've tried to figure it out; but, I just have this hunch that something is missing, a tiny piece of the jigsaw. Somebody who should be dead is alive, or somebody who should be alive is already dead.
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Peter Neal: Let me ask you something? If someone is killed with a Smith&Wesson revolver... Do you go and interview the president of Smith & Wesson?
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Narrator: "The impulse had become irresistible. There was only one answer to the fury that tortured him. And so he committed his first act of murder. He had broken the most deep-rooted taboo, and found not guilt, not anxiety or fear, but freedom. Any humiliation which stood in his way could be swept aside by the simple act of annihilation: Murder."
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Is this available on DVD?
Yes, it's available on Anchor Bay's 1999 DVD release Tenebre and their 2001 release Tenbre / Deep Red. Both contain the 101-minute uncut version.Note that this film (or at least the edited, English-dubbed version called Unsane) seems to be in the public domain, which means any distributor can legally sell copies without paying royalties. Beware. Some small distributors market copies of public domain films with poor picture and sound. Others are more reputable and deliver good transfers of the best available prints. Shop around.
What are the differences between the old British BBFC 18 Version and the Uncensored Version?
Dario Argento's "Tenebre" was released by several labels in a slightly shortened version on VHS and DVD as well. Two violent scenes needed to be removed while three more shots/scenes were also removed but these scenes are missing in other countries as well. The reason is the bad quality of the available master. The old tape by Videomedia only lacks one violent scene (arm amputation). Subsequently the tape was listed as a video nasty. The uncut version has been released by Anchor Bay and Arrow in the UK, on both DVD and Blu-ray. A detailed comparison between the old VHS by Noveaux Pictures and the uncensored version with pictures can be found here. A comparison between the pre-cert VHS by Videomedia and the Uncensored Version can be found here.
Does an alternate cut exist?
The very rare Israeli tape contains several scenes with, compared to many other releases, different footage. Whether this version has also been released in other countries couldn't be determined. No clues that point into that direction could be found. Book texts and letters, written in Italian in the familiar versions, have been replaced by English texts on the Israeli VHS. Among other scenes, the scene with Maria discovering the killer's archive in the basement contains alternate footage. Furthermore, the VHS lacks scene parts, probable due to jumpcuts and wear and tear. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.
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Photos from cast
Giuliano Gemma
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