Movies »Phenomena

phenomena dario argentoWith a recognizable cast (horror movie king and Halloween alumni Donald Pleasance and a pre-Labyrinthine long legged Jennifer Connelly), and a big name soundtrack (both Iron Maiden and Motorhead contribute songs, though it's Argento stand-by and personal source of undying love, Goblin, that create the most eerie music), Phenomena is one of Dario Argento's most accessible films, though strangely (and unfairly), it's also one of his most under-viewed.

But don't let my description fool you, the director certainly hasn't gone too Hollywood; there's still plenty of uneven pacing, in-cohesiveness, maggots, and borderline ludicrous over-dubbing: “Do you take… do you understand?.. DRUGS?” asks the super hot Swiss Headmistress.

Argento has claimed that this tale of a poor little rich girl who has a supernatural control of and mutual love for insects (at one point a bug is put an excited mating frenzy just by her touch) is his personal favorite (even though I favor, as most fans do, Suspiria). The plot concerns Connelly's unusual power which, with the aid of a local entomologist and his chimp (for all you Lance Link fans), leads the frequently night gown only clad heroine on a quest to find the identity of a local killer on the loose.

The film almost feels like three movies in one, lots of bang for your giallo buck, and features images that stay in your subconscious. I often think of the swiss chalet where a Dutch tourist “looses her head” and the crazy creepiness that's revealed behind a child's tears. Plus, Connelly is dressed in perfect rich girl mid eighties attire throughout.

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Posted on May 11, 2009

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