Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Horror Thoughts ‘13—Phenomena (1985) ***

R, 110 min.
Director: Dario Argento
Writer: Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini
Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Donald Pleasence, Daria Nicololi, Fiore Argento, Federica Mastroianni, Fiorenza Tessari, Dalila De Lazzaro, Patrick Bauchau, Mario Donatone

Dario Argento’s follow up to “Tenebre” adds the supernatural back into his signature stylized filmmaking in “Phenomena”. Starring a young Jennifer Connelly, it tells the story of a girl who has the ability to communicate with insects. She is teased by her fellow students at a Swiss private school, but when a series of murders targets young women of the same age as those at the school, an entomologist point out to her how her special ability can help to solve the case.

You know it’s a Argento picture within the first five minutes because that’s how long it take for a young woman’s head to smash through a pane of glass. In fact the first two murders involve a young girl’s head smashing through a pane of glass in slow motion. He just loves doing that!

I enjoyed this movie more than I’m sure I should have. In many ways, it is an incredibly silly movie. A monkey is one of the major characters. The crippled entomologist, played by Donald Pleasence, employs a chimpanzee as his nurse. Really? But, by the end, this film could be included in a Monkey Madness Film Festival as the chimp goes on a revenge rampage armed with a razor blade. Sweet! Ah, one of my first personal film festivals was a monkey madness themed one thrown together by my close-knit friends in high school. “Monkey Shines”, “Link”… ah, would that we had discovered Argento by that time in our lives.

Watch the movie in its entirety below. 


t-rocc said...

this movie does get a bit ridiculous, but the opening scenes combined with the music (that opening bit is by Bill Wyman and Terry Taylor) is one of my favorite, eeriest bits ever...

Andrew Wells said...

Yes. The music in this movie is excellent. Wyman and Taylor's contributions are the best, but I love the metal tracks Argento chose to include as well.