First of all I think it is a fun fact to know that Argento got the inspiration for Phenomena after discovering that insects were sometimes used during police investigations, but the fact the they are telepathic is made up, and is probably a good thing or we would be doomed – just picture a spider calling all its spider friends for help while you are trying to murder it with hairspray… hell no! Anyways, here’s the plot: Jennifer, a rich American 15 year old daughter of a movie star, is sent to the Swiss Alps to an all girl school because we all know there’s no way to learn properly in a mixed school with boys flashing their penises all over your face constantly. Unfortunately for the young and gorgeous Yankee the town where she just moved in isn’t full of chocolate, cows and very precise clocks as we all imagine everywhere in Switzerland to be, is actually the playground of a gruesome killer that likes to butcher young pretty girls (the first victim we see is Fiore Argento, Dario's first child and Asia’s big sister).
Finally Jennifer Connelly is just charming as a bug lovin’ flawless young woman; I know I sound like Captain Hindsight, but come on, you can tell she was destined to be a star. Only the way she kept a straight face when Prof McGregor told her that she was turning on the bug she was holding was worth an Oscar. Also the way she sucked it up after the chimp bit her finger off while filming, instead of suing the whole production she just went to the hospital, got it stitched up and the next day was back to work. What a champ!
Phenomena is a classic of not only Italian but also the whole horror genre and many are swearing it to be Argento’s best work, there’s nothing to argue over that. I just want to close with a little reminder for you, (but mostly for me), next time you happen to be in Rome, a visit is due to Profondo Rosso (Deep Red), a store owned by Argento himself for the Horror lovers but also a small Museum of film props from the Master’s movies. http://www.profondorossostore.com/en/content/7-ospiti-illustri
Written by Magali Fazio