May 112012

Death Of The Week is a fairly new HCF Feature, but in a way it’s surprising that it has taken this long to present a scene from the Master of kill scenes, the one and only Dario Argento.  His countryman Lucio Fulci, who provided us with our Death a few weeks ago with the drill scene from his City Of The Living Dead, once said that “violence is Italian art”, and Argento demonstrated that over and over again throughout his career, which took such great thrillers and horror movies such as Suspiria, The  Stendahl Syndrome and Deep Red. 

Tenebrae is considered by many to be one of his best works, with glorious in-your-face style to burn, several great set pieces and a devilishly clever storyline.  It is also a virtual catalogue of memorable murder scenes.  Some will probably say that I should have had the sculpture impaling, or the wonderfully extended set piece where two women are stalked and stabbed to death in their flat, and maybe they can be saved for another day.  I, though, am going for this sequence, which absolutely stunned me when I first saw the movie on a bootleg video with crappy picture quality many many years ago when it was on the Video Nasty list.

It’s towards the end of the film, and the plot is starting to come together.  Jane, the embittered ex-wife of our hero, Peter, is sitting at a table by a window in a house with a gun, waiting for a certain visitor.  Suddenly, the glass smashes and an axe first hacks at her arm, then chops it off.  Jane’s bleeding stump proceeds to spray blood all over the walls, which are, of course, along with most other things in the house, white, all the better for all the blood to stand out.  She finally succumbs to another axe in the back, and her torture is thankfully ended.  Pure Argento, and after being shocked by the sequence the first time you can go back, view it again and chuckle at the unconvincing rubber arm!

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