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Phenomena (Special Edition)

162 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Brace yourself for an all-new look at one of the most wildly original films ever from writer/director Dario Argento, an insane epic of terror, wonder, and jaw-dropping carnage. Jennifer Connelly stars as an outcast student at a Swiss boarding school who discovers both her telepathic power to control insects and the gore-soaked trail of a razor-wielding killer. Can a kindly professor (Donald Pleasence of HALLOWEEN) now harness her gift to stop the bloodbath of a psychopath? Daria Nicolodi (TENEBRE), Dalila DiLazzaro (FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN) and Fiore Argento (DEMONS) co-star along with a pounding soundtrack by Goblin, Bill Wyman, Iron Maiden and Motörhead in the shocker that remains a favorite of Argento fans as well as one of the most brutally original horror thrillers of the 80s.

Italian horror maestro Dario Argento made his name by turning homicide into modern art with a cinematic flourish, but with Phenomena he takes his stylish mayhem in new directions. The film opens with the dreamy grace of a fairy tale: a young girl wandering the green meadows of Switzerland and discovering a gingerbread house, wherein lives a monster more modern than mythic, a psychopathic maniac who plunges the picture into a lush nightmare. Jennifer (Jennifer Connelly in her first starring role), a gifted young girl at a Swiss school, has a psychic link to the insect world and develops a connection with the killer through midnight sleepwalks. With the help of a lonely, wheelchair-bound entomologist (genre stalwart Donald Pleasence, who inflects his sonorous tenor with a gentle Scottish burr) she turns telekinetic detective, which only draws her closer to the killer's lair. The densely plotted story becomes muddled at times (this is the busiest film in Argento's oeuvre) but the lyrical cinematography and gorgeous nocturnal imagery--dreamy sleepwalks, nightmarish murders, hideous horrors that emerge in the dark of night--take on a poetic elegance not seen in his previous work, providing the tale with a kind of dream logic. This is a slasher film reborn as an exquisitely grim fantasy: Jennifer in Argentoland. --Sean Axmaker

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Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Fiore Argento, Patrick Bauchau, Jennifer Connelly, Mario Donatone, Eleonora Giorgi
  • Directors: Dario Argento
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: May 27, 2008
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015D3YQI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,908 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Phenomena (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Libretio on January 22, 2000
Format: DVD

(Italy - 1984)

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Theatrical soundtrack: Dolby Stereo

Originally edited for US consumption and released under the title CREEPERS, the full-length version of Dario Argento's masterwork reveals the method in his madness. Whereas the edited version was a fast-moving collage of half-baked themes which evoked nothing of any significance, PHENOMENA reinstates the crazy-quilt pacing, whereby dream-like passages surrender abruptly to episodes of screaming hysteria, all of which is essential to any appreciation of the film's dark ambitions.

Romano Albani's sumptuous cinematography transforms the breathtaking Swiss locations into a fairy-tale landscape where monstrous eruptions of violence disturb the illusion of tranquility, and Jennifer Connelly drifts through the narrative in a state of near-hypnotic grace, allowing herself to become ensnared by the machinations of a deformed killer and his/her equally psychotic 'guardian'. True, the longer version is bogged down at times by lengthy dialogue scenes which hold up the plot, and the involvement of Donald Pleasence's chimp is no less misguided than before (its final act of retribution crosses the line into absurdity), but the set-pieces are magnificently realised, and the final 20 minutes are as hair-raising as anything in Argento's ouevre.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Knut Kristiansen on May 3, 2001
Format: DVD
Dario Argento throws in all his trademarks in this horror/fantasy extravaganza.A plain crime story mixed with dream sequences, gore, state of the art camerawork, maggots, fireflies, broken glass, running water, beautiful young girls and a brilliant soundtrack. You name it, it`s all here !
Argento has made a lot of mediocre movies the recent years, but this 1984 movie is a true classic.
The film is presented in 1.66:1 with a DD 5.1 soundtrack. Both picture and sound is good, but nothing spesial.Anchor bay has also thrown in some extras, but nothing very interesting in my opinion. There is a dull commentary with Argento and three of his collaborators in very broken english, a trailer, two music videos,a lousy behind the scenes segment, and a ridiculous Argento interview from a Joe Franklin show. And don`t be fooled to believe that the 28 minutes that is restored in this UNCUT and UNCENSORED version is gore.It is simply the full european version, and all 28 minutes are plain story and character building.No doubt that this cut is much better than the "Creepers" cut, though.
It is the feature itself that makes this disc a must-have.They simply don`t make movies like this anymore ! (Neither does Argento, unfortunately !)
Now I can hardly wait for Anchor Bay to release "Opera" and " Suspiria."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2002
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
First of all, I'd like to start off with how I came to know this film. Ever heard of a videogame called Clock Tower? It's about a serial murderer, and has a Japanese prequal which I've also played.. Having liked that so well, I found on the internet that it was originally inspired by an Italian made, but English language, film called Phenomena.. I ordered it very eagerly,and couldn't wait for it to come in. When I finally got it, I watched it, of course...and loved every minute of it. It had everything I think a scary film should have! The characters, I believe, were developed enough, and I don't understand why so many people say Argento can't write them well. Maybe that's the case with his other films, but this one has quite well developed characters. We even learn the past of the most important characters, and I was actually sad whenever one of the more involved characters would die (The mark of good character development in horror) which is rare (In most of them, I'm alright just so that the main character lives). The plot was perfect, in my opinion. I didn't see any of the alleged plotholes. Sure, there were some things I wanted to know more about (Such as who exactly assaulted a certain person in a mental hospital) but very few, and nothing contradicted anything else in the plot: Jennifer Corvino, daughter of a famous actor, must stay in a Switzerland Boarding School for girls. Only there's a murderer around, killing girls around her age. She finds that she can communicate with insects, and has actually witnessed one of the murders while sleep walking. Along the way, she meets a crippled professor who believes her ability could help to solve the murders.Read more ›
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By General Zombie on October 10, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Simply put, this film is pretty messed up. I don't know quite how seriously we are supposed to take all this, as the various plot elements and twists are just so bizarre and/or silly. Part of me would like to believe that this is supposed to be a whole lot more light-hearted than Argento's other fare, but I don't really believe this is the case. (I certainly could be wrong, though) So, in the end, I suspect this was just a severe misstep on Argento's part, but it's an entertaining misstep, at least.

This film combines Giallo with supernatural elements, to odd effect. The basic setup is that a 14 or so year old American girl, Jennifer Corvino, is sent off to a fancy private girls-school in Switzerland, whereabouts a maniac killer is slaughtering young girls. Also, Jennifer sleepwalks, and has a telepathic connection with insects.(!) Naturally, she and Scottish entomoloigist, Dr. Somethingorother, who just happens to be in the area, determine that they must catch the killer, with the help of the insects.(!) This may sound a bit more complicated than most of Argento's other fare, and it is, which leads to the main problem with the film- too much plot, not enough killing. The acting is something of a mixed-bag, as it tends to be in Argento's films. Donald Pleasance, as the entomologist, gives the best performance in the film. He's likable, and quite restrained by his standards. Sadly, he has a smaller part than I'd imagined. A very young Jennifer Connelly (Dark City, A Beautiful Mind) plays the lead, and suffice to say she is a much better actress now than she was then. She's not terrible, but pretty flat and bored much of the time. (It's interesting to note that she was 14 at the time, approximately the same age as the character she was playing.
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