Archive for November, 2010

Some more cool shit I’ve watched recently

Posted in Film on November 3, 2010 by thebigsmoke

Tenebrae (1982)

First things first, Tenebrae is usually described as a giallo film. The term giallo is described on Wikipedia as follows:

Giallo is an Italian 20th century genre of literature and film, which in Italian indicates crime fiction and mystery. In the English language it refers to a genre similar to the French fantastique genre and includes elements of horror fiction and eroticism. The word giallo is Italian for “yellow” and stems from the origin of the genre as a series of cheap paperback novels with trademark yellow covers.

The film genre which emerged in Italy during the sixties started as direct adaptations of the books, but soon evolved into something more. Later films, of which Tenebrae is one of the finest examples, retained the mystery element of the early adaptations, but the films became more sensational. Italian filmmakers were influenced by modern slasher horror and began employing more explicit violence and nudity.

One of the directors most frequently credited with the rise of the giallo genre is Dario Argento, and his film Tenebrae is a distillation of his ideas from his earlier films. There is an elegance to Argento’s directorial style which, when coupled with unusual musical arrangements, gives his films an operatic quality; this quality lends itself well to building tension and creating scenes of terror.

Tenebrae found success as a “video nasty”, but don’t allow yourself to be misled by the notoriety of other films from the same category. This is an extremely well-crafted film, highly influential, trumpeting the honed talents of one of Italy’s finest directors.

The trailer below provides a pretty good taster of what the film has in store. It also features a significant portion of my favourite scene, in which you are treated to a murderer’s-eye view of a prospective victim as she is chased across a garden.

Watch out for John Saxon, who is probably best known for his role as the one who can’t really fight from Enter The Dragon. Personally, I got the biggest kick from Giuliano Gemma’s appearance, as he has featured in some great spaghetti westerns and is an extremely likeable actor. I’ll write some more about him in some future spaghetti western posts.

I’ve watched a few more gialli since Tenebrae, but so far this one is still my favourite.

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