Argento has been one of the big names in the Italian horror genre “giallo” for a couple of decades. I have seen a few of those. The films are mostly marked by beautiful women, over-acting and bright-red-blood-splattering. With “The Card Player” I saw a more recent film from the genre.
The acting is still awful. The Italian actors try to speak English and Argento still seems to try to shock with brutality and weeping women. I am afraid it all is unconvincing to me…
The police from Rome has to play online poker against a kidnapper who kills his victims when he wins the game. The story unfolds with no surprises and the film only gets interesting in a vague scene about halfway.
Am I correct when I assume that “Suspiria” is Argento’s most famous film? I was wondering if is it would be better than “Tenebrae”. It is. There is still the corny slasher with bright-light blood, silly-looking dying-scenes, an awfull English overdub and most of the time, but film is not very scary, but what makes this much more interesting than “Tenebrae” is the magnificent soundtrack of the Italian progrockband Goblin, the wonderfull stages (Jugendstill or Rudolf Steiner buildings) and the beautiful colors and camera-work. Goblin has managed to create music that sounds scary in itself and nothing much has to happen in the film to create a great atmosphere. Argento and Goblin cooperated on other titles too I believe, so I guess I am going to look up these films.
“Giallo”, in Italy the word seems to mean just “thriller” (either for books or films), but outside Italy the term is used for a typical kind of Italian films. This Italian style thriller/horror seems to always contain beautiful women, nudity and lots of blood. This certainly goes for “Tenebre”. It looks like there are three version of this film, one with Italian sound, a Spanish and an English one. I saw the English, but I would have prefered the original language and subtitles.
Peter Neal is a writer of horror books and he travels to Rome to promote his most recent book “Tenebrae”. In the city there appears to be a killer active that is inspired by Neal’s books and he is also interested in Neal’s entourage. Neal sets out his own investigations.
Like I said, “Tenebre” contains beautiful women, nudity and lots of blood. The slashing scenes look pretty corny and are more amusing than scary. Generally I did not enjoy the film a lot. It did not work too well for me as a thriller. The better elements are the very 80’ies music, the 80’ies apparel and the sensual females, but I doubt that this is enough for me to start enjoying the genre.