Anthony Franciosa is American novelist Peter Neal, who is in Rome on a book tour to promote his latest thriller, which deals with a series of razor murders by a killer intent on stamping out perversity. When a real-life psychopath obsessed with Neal’s work begins using the book as a template for his murders, Neal joins the police investigation and ultimately places himself and those close to him in jeopardy.
Marking Argento’s return to the giallo after his short sojourn into supernatural territory with Suspiria and Inferno, Tenebrae was written in part due to the director’s own experiences with a stalker. The violent content of the film proved too much for British censors, who branded it a video nasty.
Visually slick and stylish, Tenebrae features clever plot twists, a funky and highly memorable score by Goblin members, and realistically gory special effects by Giovanni Corridori. This is essential viewing for giallo fans and those who enjoy Argento’s earlier works, of which various references and similarities may be found. The ending is a pleasantly unexpected treat that should please arm-chair sleuths as well as the gore crowd.