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Exclusive comments, full details and art: Synapse’s Blu-ray/DVD of Dario Argento’s “TENEBRAE”

The wait is over, Dario Argento fans: Synapse Films has unveiled the full details and art for the three-disc Blu-ray release of the giallo masterpiece TENEBRAE, and we have it all, plus exclusive words from Synapse president Don May Jr.

Coming February 23, the Blu-ray/DVD/CD set will be a limited-edition (only 3,000 units) Steelbook edition. The centerpiece will be an all-new restoration of a 1080p scan from the original uncut negative, presented in 1.85:1 widescreen. “This film has been a long time coming for us, and we appreciate the patience everyone’s had in waiting for this release,” May tells Fango. “We wanted to make sure it looks the best it possibly can. Anyone who has previously bought TENEBRAE knows the various transfers were not the greatest, and the newest transfer, by Wild Side France, is what we were offered when we licensed the film. We had to do a lot of additional work on it, with both picture and color, to make it acceptable for Synapse. The end result? I feel we have created the best-looking TENEBRAE ever on the market.”

TENEBRAE stars Anthony Franciosa as Peter Neal, an American author who travels to Italy to promote his latest crime novel, and becomes embroiled in a series of murders modeled on his fiction. John Saxon, Daria Nicolodi, John Steiner and Lara Wendel co-star, and the film features a great score by Goblin bandmates Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli and Massimo Morante. The movie will be presented on the discs in both Italian and English, with newly translated English subtitles—and, on the Blu-ray, an extra bonus. “We were able to acquire rare English-text insert shots that have never been seen on optical disc, or really on home video at all, outside of an Israeli VHS in the ’80s,” May reveals. “Many scenes in TENEBRAE have Italian-language words in them, and there were alternate shots created with those words in English, most notably when Lara Wendel’s character goes down into the lair and looks through the files and pictures. We were able to acquire the various shots and transferred them in high definition, and for the first time, people will be able to watch TENEBRAE with the original Italian text visible or, through seamless branching, with those English-language inserts in it.”

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Both the Blu-ray and DVD will include audio commentary by Argento scholar and BROKEN MIRRORS/BROKEN MINDS author Maitland McDonagh and the original theatrical trailer. Special features exclusive to the Blu-ray are:

• Feature-length in-depth documentary YELLOW FEVER: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE GIALLO by High Rising Productions, chronicling the giallo film genre from its beginnings as early-20th-century crime fiction to its later influences on the modern slasher genre. Featuring interviews with Argento, Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato, Dardano Sacchetti, Luigi Cozzi, Richard Stanley and more!
• Original UNSANE (U.S. version of TENEBRAE) end-credits sequence
• Alternate opening-credits sequence
• Japanese SHADOW theatrical trailer

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The third disc will be an audio CD of Simonetti-Pignatelli-Morante’s score: “Through an exclusive arrangement with the fine folks at Cinevox and IDM Music,” May says, “we were able to get the remastered soundtrack, and we’re presenting it here on the CD for the first time in America. There have been import CDs available in the past, but we’ve finally been given permission to offer an authorized release in the U.S. and include it in our set. We’ve been able to remaster the tracks as well.” Also part of the package is an illustrated booklet featuring liner notes by THE ARGENTO SYNDROME author Derek Botelho and additional technical notes by May and Vincent Pereira. This edition will be available exclusively from Synapse’s website, where it’s currently available for pre-order for $39.95 plus $6 shipping; customers outside the U.S. and Canada can contact Diabolik DVD for ordering information.

“I’m very proud of the way TENEBRAE looks and sounds,” May says. “After all the hi-def versions of the film I’ve seen, ours is a big step up in quality over the previous ones. When Vincent, a co-producer on the project, saw the work for the first time, he said, ‘Don, this isn’t just a new mastering, this is a substantial presentation upgrade.’” Meanwhile, Synapse is still busy preparing Argento’s PHENOMENA for its own special-edition release later this year. “Our goal for PHENOMENA is to present all three versions—the 116-minute extended cut, the 110-minute edition and the CREEPERS U.S. release—and we’re very close. We had to deal with Warner Brothers and New Line to secure some materials for CREEPERS; it took over a year of jumping through legal hoops, but now that’s pretty much done. We’re getting there. Also, we’re planning another compact disc release for PHENOMENA, too!”

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About the author
Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold has been a member of the FANGORIA team for the past three decades. After starting as a writer for the magazine in 1988, he came aboard as associate editor in 1990 and two years later moved up to managing editor. He now serves as editor-in-chief of the magazine while continuing to contribute numerous articles and reviews, as well as a contributing editor/writer for this website.
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