168 user 133 critic

Tenebrae (1982)

Tenebre (original title)
3:13 | Trailer
An American writer in Rome is stalked by a serial killer bent on harassing him while killing all people associated with his work on his latest book.


Dario Argento


Dario Argento (screenplay), Dario Argento (story)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Franciosa ... Peter Neal
John Saxon ... Bullmer
Daria Nicolodi ... Anne
Giuliano Gemma ... Detective Germani
Christian Borromeo ... Gianni
Mirella D'Angelo ... Tilde
Veronica Lario ... Jane McKerrow
Ania Pieroni ... Elsa Manni
Eva Robins ... Girl on Beach
Carola Stagnaro Carola Stagnaro ... Detective Altieri
John Steiner ... Christiano Berti
Lara Wendel ... Maria Alboretto
Isabella Amadeo Isabella Amadeo ... Bullmer's secretary
Mirella Banti Mirella Banti ... Marion
Ennio Girolami ... Department Store Manager (as Enio Girolami)
Learn more

More Like This 

Phenomena (1985)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A young girl, with an amazing ability to communicate with insects, is transferred to an exclusive Swiss boarding school, where her unusual capability might help solve a string of murders.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Donald Pleasence, Daria Nicolodi
Inferno (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An American college student in Rome and his sister in New York investigate a series of killings in both locations where their resident addresses are the domain of two covens of witches.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Leigh McCloskey, Irene Miracle, Eleonora Giorgi
Opera (1987)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young opperata is stalked by a deranged fan bent on killing the people associated with her to claim her for himself.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Cristina Marsillach, Ian Charleson, Urbano Barberini
Deep Red (1975)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A jazz pianist and a wisecracking journalist are pulled into a complex web of mystery after the former witnesses the brutal murder of a psychic.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia
Certificate: GP Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An American expatriate in Rome witnesses an attempted murder. He learns later that it's connected to an ongoing murder spree in the city, and decides to do his own investigation, despite being personally targeted by the killer.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salerno
Certificate: GP Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A newspaper reporter and a retired, blind journalist try to solve a series of killings connected to a pharmaceutical company's experimental, top-secret research projects and in so doing, both become targets of the killer.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: James Franciscus, Karl Malden, Catherine Spaak
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A musician is stalked and blackmailed by an unknown killer for the accidental killing of another stalker.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Michael Brandon, Mimsy Farmer, Jean-Pierre Marielle
Trauma (1993)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young man tries to help a teenage European girl who escaped from a clinic hospital after witnessing the murder of her parents by a serial killer and they try to find the killer before the killer finds them.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Christopher Rydell, Asia Argento, Piper Laurie
Suspiria (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An American newcomer to a prestigious German ballet academy comes to realize that the school is a front for something sinister amid a series of grisly murders.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A young policewoman slowly goes insane while tracking down an elusive serial rapist/killer through Italy when she herself becomes a victim of the brutal man's obsession.

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Asia Argento, Thomas Kretschmann, Marco Leonardi
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Part three of the "Three Mothers" trilogy which takes place in Rome and has to do with Mater Lachrymarum (The Third Mother).

Director: Dario Argento
Stars: Asia Argento, Cristian Solimeno, Adam James
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A masked, shadowy killer brutally murders the models of a scandalous fashion house in Rome.

Director: Mario Bava
Stars: Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner


With Argento's trademark visual style, linked with one of his more coherent plots, Tenebrae follows a writer who arrives to Rome only to find somebody is using his novels as the inspiration (and, occasionally, the means) of committing murder. As the death toll mounts the police are ever baffled, and the writer becomes more closely linked to the case than is comfortable. Written by David Carroll <davidc@atom.ansto.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


...Terror Beyond Belief See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Dario Argento: [Window] Murder victim crashes through a window. See more »


There are several differences between Peter Neal's apartment window's interior and exterior shots. From the interior there are concrete columns on the outside to the left and right. Also there is a painted strip along the bottom, and a low lying shelf. From the exterior there is no concrete, no paint, and Peter can be seen resting his elbow on a shelf at window height. See more »


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?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Anne's screams continue even as the ending credits roll. See more »

Alternate Versions

For its UK cinema release 4 secs were cut from the scene where Jane's arm is sliced off with an axe, removing shots of the blood spray from the bloody stump. The film was then listed as an official Video Nasty and remained unreleased on video until 1999 when the film received the same cuts (now totalling 5 secs). The cuts were fully waived for the 2003 DVD release. See more »


Referenced in Scream (1996) See more »


Take Me Tonight
Performed by Kim Wilde
See more »

User Reviews

Violent Argento with highs and lows
29 July 2004 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

I really like Argento-horror and Tenebrae sure ranks as my second favorite film of his. But, by no means I can refer to his films as being genre-masterpieces. They merely are top-notch entertainment for the more demanding horror fans. Yet, Dario's films always show a lot of directorial style and compelling suspense. Argento films somewhat float between classics and oblivion. With Tenebrae, Argento once again proves himself to be a master of suspense. A master of plotting, however, he is not. The film tells the story of a successful American horror author who comes to Rome to promote his latest work: A semi-perverted and anti-feminist horror novel called…duh…Tenebrae. Along with the writer's arrival in Rome, a sadistic killing spree terrorizes the city. In order to practice his filthy hobby, the killer closely follows the writer's new book line by line. Roman police forces lack complete professionalism as usual and our Yank starts his own little investigation.

I'll be the first to admit that Tenebrae contains genuinely creepy moments. Like, for example, when a young girl is accidentally trapped within the killer's mansion after being chased by an aggressive dog. That particular sequence is a pure piece of Argento-brilliance. Almost ten minutes of scares and a swirling camera style, guided by compelling music. But, as opposed to outstanding sequences like this, there are too many uninspired, rubbish sequences in which Argento desperately tries to keep the killer's identity hidden. Not highly efficient and exaggeratedly gross. The film is a bit long and a scene cut here or there would have been appropriate. I guess Argento saved up all the 'cutting' exclusively for the victims in his script. Another slight disappointment in Tenebrae (although this may be very personal) is that John Saxon is dreadfully underused. Saxon is one of the most charismatic B-actors ever, but he barely has any screen time. What the hell is that about, Dario? But, for the gorehounds among us, Tenebrae easily is one of Argento's sickest, most violent films. Slit throats…blood-colored walls…axe dismemberments and some other filthy tricks. By the end of the film, the entire cast is neatly exterminated. Very convenient, no?

At the beginning of this review, I mentioned that Tenebrae is my second favorite Argento film. This film is only outshined by (Terror at the) Opera! That particular sickie is less hyped than the rest of Argento's repertoire, but a lot more slick, clever and shocking.

15 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 168 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »





Italian | Spanish

Release Date:

17 February 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tenebre See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono | Stereo (Japan theatrical release)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed