Synopsis by Cavett Binion
Declared "my most personal film" by Italy's premier horror director Dario Argento, this production marked the director's return to the eerie thematic territory he pioneered in 1977 with the horror classic Suspiria. Much like that film, Phenomena conforms to the logic of nightmares. Jennifer Connelly stars as Jennifer Corvino, the daughter of an American film star, who enrolls in a prestigious Swiss boarding school under the tutelage of the prudish Mrs. Bruckner (played by frequent Argento collaborator and former beau Daria Nicolodi). Possessing a unique telepathic gift, Jennifer is capable of communicating with insects on an instinctive level, often while sleepwalking. This trait soon brands her a "freak" among her snooty classmates but makes her a valuable asset to entomologist Dr. MacGregor (Donald Pleasence), who is currently employing the innate forensic skills of insects to aid police in tracking a serial killer targeting the boarders at Jennifer's school. As Jennifer's tiny friends (including the corpse-hunting Sarcophagus Fly) guide her closer to the murderer's lair, everything from MacGregor's revenge-driven pet chimpanzee to Bruckner's monstrously disfigured son figure into the mix, providing not one but three shocking endings. Shot in English and re-dubbed for various European markets, this graphic thriller was released in drastically edited form as Creepers in the U.S. and England; Argento's original cut runs 110 minutes.
insects, psychic, telepathy, boarding-school, dream, girls'-school, investigation, maniac, nightmare, school, sleepwalking, supernatural-forces, attack, entomology, killing, revenge, role-switching