6.8/10
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191 user 148 critic

Phenomena (1985)

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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.

Director:

Dario Argento

Writers:

Dario Argento (story), Franco Ferrini (story) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Connelly ... Jennifer Corvino
Daria Nicolodi ... Frau Brückner
Fiore Argento ... Vera Brandt
Federica Mastroianni Federica Mastroianni ... Sophie
Fiorenza Tessari ... Gisela Sulzer
Dalila Di Lazzaro ... Headmistress
Patrick Bauchau ... Inspector Rudolf Geiger
Donald Pleasence ... Professor John McGregor
Alberto Cracco ... UBS Bank Teller
Kaspar Capparoni Kaspar Capparoni ... Karl, Sophie's Boyfriend (as Gaspare Capparoni)
Mario Donatone ... Morris Shapiro
Antonio Maimone Antonio Maimone ... EEG Doctor
Davide Marotta Davide Marotta ... Brückner Son
Fulvio Mingozzi Fulvio Mingozzi ... Mr. Sulzer
Francesca Ottaviani 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:

A nightmare ALIVE! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian | Swiss German | Danish

Release Date:

2 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Creepers See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

DACFILM Rome See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (international) | (Creepers cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby | 4-Track Stereo (Cranky Sound System) (Japan theatrical release)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

(at around 15 mins) The story Jennifer tells about her mother abandoning her was an actual story from Dario Argento's own childhood. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the film, after Frau Bruckner decapitates Morris with a giant metal sheet, she tries to do the same to Jennifer, and forcefully presses it on her neck, leaving a large cut in her neck with blood pouring from it. However, after the chimpanzee appears and kills Frau Bruckner, making Jennifer survive the attack, and comes to embrace her, the wound on Jennifer's neck disappears. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The uncut version was released in the UK in 2000 under the original title 'Phenomena'. The cut version is under the title Creepers, though the original Australian release (titled "Creepers,") is actually the same as the American "Director's Cut" (titled "Phenomena.) See more »

Connections

Referenced in Burn the Bitch (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

The Insects
(uncredited)
Performed by Fabio Pignatelli
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Lady of the Flies vs Argento's twisted horror imagination!
11 July 2005 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Opinions on Phenomena are divided amongst Argento fans. It's not quite a love it or hate it film, but rather a like it or dislike it one. There's enough of Argento here to ensure that his fans will enjoy it, but it also marks a change of pace for him. While his previous films focused mainly on the mystery in the plot, the focus this time is clearly on the action; and the heavy metal soundtrack shows that Argento wanted to make this more of a thriller than a Giallo, and I think he's succeeded admirably. Argento has said that this movie came about after the great director heard about insects' supposed telepathy, and the fact that the film has stemmed from this sort of idea shows by the way that the plot pans out. First of all, we are bombarded with the idea of insect telepathy, and when we get round to the murders and murderer, it almost feels like something from another film. However, while the plot is messy; it does give Argento lots of room for horror, which he capitalises on at every opportunity. We follow Jennifer Corvino, an actor's daughter who attends a school in Switzerland, which is also having problems with a local murderer. She's not quite like the other girls, however, as she has a strange connection with the insect population...

Dario Argento has piled many ideas into this plot, and it's clear that it's not very well thought out as he seems to drop another idea in every time he feels like the plot needs spicing up a little bit. This is a problem for the movie, as it feels underdone and very messy; but on the other hand, this is also the movie's finest asset as it ensures that the film is always unpredictable and therefore constantly thrilling. The heavy metal music that accompanies the death scenes seems odd in this movie, as we're used to very pungent music scores in Argento films. It does suit the film's mood, however, and it helps give the film that trashy eighties horror movie feel, which is much loved by eighties horror fans like me. The cast is a good one and it features Argento regular, Daria Nicolodi along with established horror actor Donald Pleasance and a very young Jenifer Connelly. None of the cast massively impress, but they come together well as an ensemble and the acting is of a quality that is high enough to carry this sort of film. On the whole, this isn't Argento's best work. It's messy and convoluted, but it's also fun to watch, thrilling and very inventive.


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