Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Musty TV's Maniacal Movie Countdown - Day 11: Phenomena (1985)

I've watched a Dario Argento movie the last two years of this revamped countdown, and this year's choice was Phenomena, starring a young Jennifer Connelly as a teenager with a psychic connection to insects.

The setting, at a private all girls school in Europe, is a familiar Argento trope, but I won't fault him returning to that well because the setting this time is the Swiss Alps (or the "Transylvania of Switzerland" as more than one character refers to it), and it's absolutely beautiful. The perfect setting for horrible things.

Connelly's American teenager arrives at the school and immediately has an evening full of sleepwalking, which does not endear her to her classmates. Her self-professed love of insects also doesn't help. But luckily, there's a world famous forensic entomologist (Donald Pleasence) just up the road, and he thinks young Jennifer's abilities may be just the thing to help capture a serial killer that has been stalking town.

Yes, of course there's a killer about, this is an Argento movie after all, and the murders are as baroque as ever, this time often accompanied by Iron Maiden or Motorhead songs. (Goblin is also on board again with an original score.) Did I mention there's also a monkey nurse in this? And by that I mean a monkey who is also a nurse, and not a nurse for monkeys. And when I tell you this movie has one of the most insane endings ever, I am not being hyperbolic. I was literally sitting there with my mouth open in disbelief through most of it. Suspiria is still my fave Argento movie, but Phenomena takes a very close second.

I watched Phenomena on Shudder, but it's also available on Kanopy and Tubi.

1 comment:

Caffeinated Joe said...

Watched for the first time this year. Much better than I expected it to be.