A musician witnesses the murder of a famous psychic, and then teams up with a fiesty reporter to find the killer while evading attempts on their lives by the unseen killer bent on keeping a dark secret buried.
A newspaper reporter and a retired, blind journalist try to solve a series of killings connected to a pharmaceutical company's experimental, top-secret research projects and in so doing, both become targets of the killer.
A young man tries to help a teenage European girl whom escaped from a clinic hospital after witnessing the murder of her parents by a serial killer and they try to find the killer before the killer finds them.
Jennifer Corvino, the daughter of a famous actor, has had trouble with sleepwalking for some time. Her doctor said that it can develop a split personality. She discovers her alternate personality when she stays at a boarding school that was once the home a Richard Wagner. But someone has been killing the students, and it relates only indirectly to the criminal sanitorium nearby. So it's up to "the two greatest detectives the world has ever known, or should I say, unknown" Written by
Scott Hutchins <email@example.com>
(at around 45 mins) The professor's comments about the hyperactive behavior of his insects are accompanied by close-ups of different bugs moving around in their cages very quickly. However, in close-ups of Jennifer listening to him, many of the same bugs can be seen in their cages behind her, and they are completely still. See more »
[attempts to kill Jennifer with a slide]
He was diseased; but he was my son! And you have... Why didn't I kill you before? I killed that no-good inspector and your professor friend, to protect him! And now... I'm gonna KILL YOU TO AVENGE HIM! Why don't you call your INSECTS! GO ON! CALL! CALL!
[Inga then attacks Frau and slashes her to death]
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The English language credits claim that this film was "shot in Panavision." This film was shot with Panavision cameras and Panavision spherical lenses for the European spherical widescreen format of 1:1.66. See more »
Phenomena has long been one of my favourite Dario Argento films. It definitely seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of film, even more so than most Argentos, and I think it's his most unjustly underrated piece of work to date.
A 14-year-old Jennifer Connelly shines in the lead role, playing a sleepwalker who has a bizarre telepathic bond with insects and uses them to help her solve a string of gory murders at a girls boarding school in the Swiss Alps. She is one of my favourite Argento heroines, a tough, brainy and eccentric little girl somewhere between Nancy Drew and Snow White. She deserves special credit for taking on some truly gruesome scenes, like when she falls into a pit of maggots, slime and rotting corpses. As for the rest of the cast, Donald Pleasance is good as the wheelchair-bound Scottish entomologist and Daria Nicolodi has fun with a small but juicy role.
Argento really let his imagination run wild making this one. Phenomena is a surreal, magical and surprisingly beautiful film, as much a dark fairytale fantasy as it is a horror film. It's visually stunning and I loved the incongruity of having all this gory mayhem happen against the picturesque backdrop of the Swiss Alps. Claudio Simonetti's electronic score is perfect, particularly the haunting main theme with its 80s synths and choral soprano vocals.
With its girls boarding school setting and unseen killer on the loose, Phenomena can be taken as a companion piece to Argento's earlier classic Suspiria (1977). But the introduction of slimy maggots, a razor-wielding pet chimp and six million buzzing insects set it apart. It all descends into glorious chaos for the Grand Guignol climax, which is perhaps the most thrilling house-of-horrors funhouse ride Argento has yet given us.
A remarkable film.
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