Director Dario Argento / 1985 / Italy

This oeuvre of outré, starring a then-14-year-old Jennifer Connelly, is widely regarded as one of Dario Argento’s most eccentric and bizarre films.

Jennifer Corvino, the daughter of a famed American movie star, is sent to study at the Richard Wagner Academy for Girls in Switzerland. Once there, she finds herself in the path of a serial killer targeting teenage girls. Naturally, her tendency to somnambulate and her telepathic connection with maggots and flies will prove useful in solving the murders – especially after she teams up with a forensic entomologist and his chimpanzee nursemaid.

Despite exhibiting many of the Italian master’s characteristic tics and tropes, Phenomena’s chaotic blend of giallo, creature feature and supernatural horror was considered a significant stylistic departure upon its release in 1985. Nearly four decades later, it’s still arguably his most deliriously unhinged. Starring Connelly (Bad Behaviour, MIFF 2023) in her first lead role and Halloween stalwart Donald Pleasence, it features magnificent optical effects and an incredible soundtrack of 80s pop and metal, including long-time Argento collaborators Goblin alongside Motörhead, Iron Maiden and the Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman. Significantly cut down and originally released for English-speaking audiences under the title Creepers, the film will screen at MIFF in its 116-minute ‘integral’ cut.

“One of the stranger films in Argento’s oeuvre … A lot of fun, and every turn the plot takes gets more and more interesting.” – Screen Anarchy


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