Welcome, children of the night! This Blog is for fans of vintage horror films as well as those who are just beginning to discover the joy of these classic movies. I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Phenomena (1985)

A Dario Argento film is not meant to be watched, it's meant to be experienced.  Argento loves to play with the line between fantasy and reality.  The end result is always a strange and enjoyable trip.  Such is the case with Phenomena that is arguably one of Argento's best films.  The story centers on a girl named Jennifer who has the unusual ability of communicating with insects.  Jennifer Connelly [Labyrinth, Dark City] is wonderful in this role and does a great job with this character.  In most writer/director hands the girl would exact revenge on everyone who is mean to her by inciting a plague of locusts.  However, Argento does something completely different.  [I won't spoil the surprise!]  Jennifer also sleep walks in this film so Argento takes advantage of this and completely messes with your mind.  There are several moments in the film where you have no clue as to whether she is dreaming the events unfolding on screen or she is actually there.  Brilliant!

Donald Pleasence [Halloween], who has always been a horror favorite of mine, gives a subltle and warm performance as entomologist John McGreggor who befriends Jennifer and tries to help her understand the nature of her psychic abilities.

While there are small flaws here and there, who cares?  Argento doesn't and neither should you!  It's all about mood, atmosphere and suspense.  Phenomena has plenty of all three….with a bit of blood...or a lot of blood thrown in the mix.  Hey, what's an Argento film without at least one decapitation?

Italian horror is a bit of an acquired taste and I'm definitely hungry for more.  Argento has such a unique and distinctive perspective as a filmmaker and writer.  This one is not to be missed.  As an added bonus, most of the soundtrack is done by Italian Prog-rock band Goblin.  Who could ask for anything more?

RATING: Excellent.

For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.

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