Nothing in the movie criticism game feels better than watching a film made four decades ago that makes you realize how little you know about anything. I’m far from an expert on the work of Dario Argento; I’ve seen the hits and a few of his stinkers. But at least in the realm of my general knowledge, I’d always overlooked Tenebrae, his 1982 return to giallo after a career segue into horror with Suspiria and Inferno.

Argento helped define the look and feel of giallo films in the early 1970s with The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and The Cat o’ Nine Tails. If you’re not familiar with the genre, well, to sum it up for you: Think dime-store paperback stories with heightened visuals and an emphasis on erotic imagery and violence. These days, the genre’s back catalog is heavily mined by boutique Blu-ray distributors, resulting in many sets of subpar films that don’t necessarily live up to the reputation set by Argento’s films.

Some, however, are must-owns, and Synapse Films’ recent 4K UHD restorations of Tenebrae is the cream of the crop. Yeah, even over Argento’s own Suspiria. It finds Argento applying the lessons learned making his horror films to the visual dynamics and clean, compelling stories of his earlier giallo. Every single frame for Tenebrae is utterly gorgeous and every murder a moment of absolute bloodletting triumph.

It’s the sort of mystery that gives its solution away fairly quickly, but that doesn’t matter: The resolution to its plot strands are all satisfyingly gruesome and profoundly gorgeous.

Special Features

  • 4K UHD (2160p) & Blu-ray (1080p) Combo Pack
  • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio
  • Original Italian and English front and end titles and insert shots
  • Restored original DTS-HD MA lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • Audio commentary by authors and critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
  • Audio commentary by Dario Argento expert Thomas Rostock
  • Audio commentary by Maitland McDonagh, author of Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento
  • Yellow Fever: The Rise and Fall of the Giallo, a feature-length documentary charting the genre from its beginnings to its influence on the modern slasher film, featuring interviews with Argento, Umberto Lenzi, Luigi Cozzi and more
  • Being the Villain, a newly edited archival interview with actor John Steiner
  • Out of the Shadows, an archival interview with McDonagh
  • Voices of the Unsane, an archival featurette containing interviews with Argento, actresses Daria Nicolodi and Eva Robins, cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, composer Claudio Simonetti and assistant director Lamberto Bava
  • Screaming Queen, an archival interview with Nicolodi
  • The Unsane World of Tenebrae, an archival interview with Argento
  • A Composition for Carnage, an archival interview with Simonetti
  • Archival introduction by Nicolodi
  • International theatrical trailer
  • Japanese theatrical trailer
  • Alternate opening credits sequence
  • Unsane end credits sequence
  • Image galleries