JENNIFER HAS A FEW MILLION CLOSE FRIENDS. SHE’S GOING TO NEED THEM ALL.
The teenage daughter (Jennifer Connelly) of an American movie star is sent to a Swiss boarding school where a murderer is running loose. This horror movie is a lot better than I first remembered. Full of director Dario Argento’s typical touches (such as victims crashing through glass and scenes set to rock music), it is also very innovative, basically throwing in everything but the kitchen sink – but making sure not to lose the tension. It may be ridiculous at times and the acting is far from great (Connelly was only 14), but the Swiss locations are effective and the film is scary and funny. Memorably disgusting scene in a “pool”.
1985-Italy. 110 min. Color. Produced and directed by Dario Argento. Screenplay: Dario Argento, Franco Ferrini. Cast: Jennifer Connelly (Jennifer Corvino), Donald Pleasence (John McGregor), Daria Nicolodi (Brückner), Dalila Di Lazzaro, Patrick Bauchau, Fiore Argento.
Trivia: Original title: Phenomena. Also shown in an 82-min. version. The film makes notable use of music by Goblin, Simon Boswell, Iron Maiden and Motörhead, among others.
Last word: “In ‘Phenomena’ [the bug wrangling] was real, and real of course is better. But we spent a large amount to use these flies, and the work was very difficult. The flies would go, and then, eh, again new flies. It was very hard work when the flies were real. Now we have the technology to do it differently, with the technology of today. With the flies in ‘Dracula’ it was much easier because we had the laboratory and worked together. Some flies in ‘Dracula’ are from ‘Phenomena’. Some flies, the exact movements – we stole.” (Argento, University of Illinois Press Blog)