PHENOMENA (1985)
posted 00/00/2009

Directed by:
Dario Argento

Starring:
Jennifer Connelly ... Jennifer Corvino
Daria Nicolodi ... Frau Brückner
Dalila Di Lazzaro ... Headmistress
Donald Pleasence ... Professor John McGregor

Country: Italy
Runtime: 110 min
AKA: Creepers
         

There is no arguing that Dario Argento is certifiably insane. The proof is in the pudding, my friends. Everything from the crazy violence to his constant insistence on showing his daughter (the sometimes hot Asia Argento) naked thousands of times. His insanity is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is never better on display than in this film.

A young (and very cute) Jennifer Connelly arrives at a creepy boarding school in Europe somewhere (my guess is Italy, but don't quote me) only to find out that a psycho killer (is there any other kind?) is on the loose. Right before she arrived, a young tourist was beheaded brilliantly by the madman and crippled entomologist (bug expert) Donald Pleasance is put on the case. It just so happens that Jennifer has some kind of connection with the killer and has a strange bond with insects as well, which puts her in Professor MacGregor's (Pleasance) good graces.

The two of them decide to use her link to insects and the killer to help solve the crime, and in the meantime the killer stalks the boarding school and does away with the girls. The film continues to reel out in typical giallo fashion until Jennifer gets closer and realizes who is responsible for the murders. I will withhold all that good stuff here, because I believe this film should be watched untainted. Needless to say, there is a twist to the surprise and the last ten minutes are stand-up-and-cheer violence.

This film is well-known for a few reasons. The first is obviously the appearance of the young and stately-looking Connelly. The second is the disgustingly-crafted body pool she falls into. The men behind that vomit-inducing liquid should be congratulated. The film is also one of the better detective films in Argento's murder mystery plot book. The story is wacky, but it actually all makes sense in the end.

This is actually one of my favorite Argento films. It was the first one of his blood-splattered masterworks that I had seen way back when, and it has stuck with me through the good and the bad of Argento's oeuvre. Every time I see it I am taken aback by the great gory mayhem of the last few minutes and the whole bug detective angle is just nutty enough to make me appreciate the wicked imagination. There is something for everyone in this film, and I think it deserved more recognition than Deep Red, but maybe some people just need a bug to show them the way to the body pit of truth.

- Jose Prendes

 

comments powered by Disqus

Strictlysplatter.com is owned and operated by Jorge Antonio Lopez. All original content is Copyrighted © 2008 by its respective author(s). All Image files
are used in accordance with Fair Use, and are property of the film copyright holders.