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"Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

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"Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Old 09-22-19, 10:50 PM
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"Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge





Phenomena (1985)



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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.
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2019 DISCUSSION | 2019 LISTS


Last edited by Chad; 10-20-19 at 03:39 PM.
Old 10-05-19, 04:20 AM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Phenomena is so gleefully cartoonish it's hard not to like with it's insect theme, sleepwalking telepathic (?) hero, razor blade monkey, maggot pits, and the 'villain' who outdoes it all. This must be some sort of Argento parody packing in the murders of Tenebrae, the grandious boarding school of Suspiria (complete with night murder of a room mate), and the rocking eurohorror synch pop soundtrack (even if someone snuck in Iron Maiden and Motorhead) but jumping the shark with oddities. It's hard to imagine a film like Phenomeana getting made today, and so competently - this must have come from a time when Argento was popular enough producers were just letting him do whatever he wanted. It seems like Argento is writing and director some movies again so hopefully we'll see more of this weirdness come around - Argento may be the hero we need in horror today.

The disfigured kid is a great visual but it always seemed odd to be that in it's brief screen time he's just unquestionably evil - like the fact that he's disfigured and born of rape somehow makes this a slasher villain and not a kid. I usually hate over explaination but his story seems more sympathetic than 'movie star's daughter who talks to insects.' Razor blade monkey is the best most bizzare ending ever, it's hilarious and thrilling.

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-05-19 at 09:28 AM.
Old 10-05-19, 10:07 AM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Up the irons!
Old 10-05-19, 10:15 AM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Somehow hadn’t seen this before (if my weak memory serves). Such a bizarre and fun mishmash. You could tell Jennifer Connelly was a star in the making. I think I prefer Argento’s earlier work, but this one still entertains.
Old 10-05-19, 01:12 PM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Ranking the Argento movies, I'd put this somewhere in the middle.

I wish he'd left out the goofy stuff and tweaked the story into a traditional giallo. There's some cool parts in this movie. And it could have been one of his best.
Old 10-05-19, 01:27 PM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Woah! Nice trick there @chad, making the “alternate” theme day film also include a monkey.
Old 10-05-19, 01:51 PM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

I'm generally not a fan of Argento or giallo in general, with a few exceptions. That said, I do enjoy this one to a certain extent. I do think it could stand to cut a little bit out of the movie and shorten the runtime. An hour in, I feel like not much has happened and the pacing is a bit sluggish. Jennifer Connelly does a great job with what she's provided, but I've always been a fan of hers. Like I said, I do enjoy it, but it's not a big favorite of mine to sit through...
Old 10-05-19, 02:50 PM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by MysterioMan007
I'm generally not a fan of Argento or giallo in general, with a few exceptions. That said, I do enjoy this one to a certain extent. I do think it could stand to cut a little bit out of the movie and shorten the runtime. An hour in, I feel like not much has happened and the pacing is a bit sluggish. Jennifer Connelly does a great job with what she's provided, but I've always been a fan of hers. Like I said, I do enjoy it, but it's not a big favorite of mine to sit through...
I thought movie was hopefully almost over and checked the time, just an hour in. Couple of kills, but the pacing is extremely slow. The only stand out characters are Jennifer, Donald, and then Jennifer's roommate. I got about 20-30 minutes left and I am still bored. As others have said, though, you could tell Jennifer would make it as a star.
Old 10-05-19, 06:36 PM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

This was my first time seeing the uncut version. I was previously only familiar with the shortened "Creepers" cut via public domain boxsets. And judging by the comments here, it appears you guys might have preferred that version. But why oh why did I never notice that the sexy Dalila Di Lazzaro from Flesh for Frankenstein & The Pyjama Girl Case was in this? Anyway, the climax just always seems to bail the film out no matter what. Easily the most memorable Argento finale for me.

Oh and for those watched yesterday's subset, Zombie, might have recognized the dubbed voice on the Real Estate Agent
Old 10-06-19, 04:03 PM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

I definitely prefer the Creepers cut, which is the first way that I saw the film, back in the days of VHS. There's some good behind-the-scenes stuff about this film in the Dario Argento's World of Horror documentary--just in case the link doesn't work properly, you can find the Phenomena footage starting at 20:57:



Phenomena also has one of my favorite soundtracks to an Argento film. This is probably my favorite of all of the tracks written expressly for the film:

Old 10-06-19, 05:43 PM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

It's not a perfect film, but I sure have fun with everything that gets thrown into the mix. It's not enough to be a slasher/giallo, you need to throw in the bugs, deformed child and knife-happy chimp. I always look forward to that ending, yet it always catches me slightly surprised when the chimp comes out slashing.
Old 10-06-19, 06:33 PM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Where can I get a chimp like that?
Old 10-06-19, 09:35 PM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Razor Chimp vs. Shakma, who wins?
Old 10-07-19, 12:11 AM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Shakma with a razor would have been a real game changer.
Old 10-08-19, 09:55 AM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Wow! I've been playing catch up from the weekend, and I'm finally getting around to these reviews. I had a wedding most of the day Saturday, and the excuse to get back home to watch Phenomena wasn't good enough. When I did finally get home, I poured myself a stiff bourbon, loaded my Arrow blu-ray and sat back for two hours of tedium mixed with zany. I found my mind wandering at times, only to be snapped back by some odd visual, such as Donald Pleasence petting a scalpel-wielding-monkey. There were some really interesting visuals, but for the most part, I felt bored by this one. The highlight for me was the music. Love the Goblin, etc. soundtrack.
Old 10-08-19, 03:43 PM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by WillieMLF
Love the Goblin, etc. soundtrack.
Iron Maiden and Motorhead are great and all... but what are they doing take up space that belongs to Goblin on my Argento soundtrack?!?
Old 10-09-19, 03:51 PM
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Re: "Phenomena" Reviews/Discussion - 2019 Horror Challenge

I'm quite fond of this movie but I agree with others about the pacing of the film. It seems like Argento was quite taken with Connelly and content with filming endless scenes of her wandering around. They really got old after a while. That's my main issue with the film, though, love the Swiss scenery and the Goblin soundtrack, as usual, is awesome.

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