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Phenomena (1985)

A young girl, with an amazing ability to communicate with insects, is transferred to an exclusive Swiss boarding school, where her unusual capability might help solve a string of murders.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Fiore Argento ...
Vera Brandt
Federica Mastroianni ...
...
Gisela Sulzer
Dalila Di Lazzaro ...
Headmistress
...
...
...
UBS Bank Teller
Kaspar Capparoni ...
Karl, Sophie's Boyfriend (as Gaspare Capparoni)
...
Antonio Maimone ...
EEG Doctor
Davide Marotta ...
Fulvio Mingozzi ...
Mr. Sulzer
Francesca Ottaviani ...
Nurse
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Storyline

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 <scottandrewh@home.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When Insects Attack! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

2 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Creepers  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,800,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Patau Syndrome used in this movie is an actual syndrome, which is caused by a chromosomal abnormality. See more »

Goofs

Lots of the scenes with the larvae, the amount of the larvae changes. One good example is the 'glove', there's first only three larvae on it which she also seems to shook off, then later on when inspecting it under the microscope it seems to be filled with larvae. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Frau Brückner: [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]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in The 100 Scariest Movie Moments (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Firefly Phenomenon
(uncredited)
By Goblin
Performed by Goblin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A bizarre horror masterpiece
22 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

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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