Boy and I were having a conversation the other day about how, a lot of the time, when you explain only certain parts of movies, they sound bizarre or kind of awful because they are out of context. Subsequently, this conversation reminded me of the flick Phenomena* because I don’t think that, even if I explained it to someone minute by minute, it would ever make any sense.
Okay so here’s a breakdown of the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it:
Jennifer Connelly is the daughter of a famous actor who has no time for her, so he ships her off to Swiss Boarding School**. However, it’s not all chocolate eating and Alps skipping for Jennifer since, upon her arrival, there seems to be a rash of unexplainable murders.
Rejected by her classmates for being an outsider, Jennifer ends up befriending a wheelchair-bound entomologist played by Donald Pleasence. He is baffled by the deaths himself when Jennifer reveals to him that she has a secret gift that may help crack the case – she can talk to creepy crawlies and get help from them!
If at all possible, the movie gets weirder from there as Jennifer has to deal with an insane boarding school employee, an attempted poisoning, a fall into a pit of bodies, a rabid looking pigboy***, the decapitation of her legal guardian and, of course, a monkey nurse hellbent on revenge!
Considering the movie was made in 1985 by Dario Argento (the same dude who gave us the technicoloured Disney-inspired gore fest Suspiria), the weirdness of it all is certainly not out of left field, but explaining the plot of it to anyone makes a person sound like:
1) They are in the middle of a fever-dream.
2) They have taken way too many psychedelic drugs and are just imagining something that doesn’t exist.
But I am here today, blog readers, to assure you it does exist and that the creepy trailer can be viewed here. *shudders* Oh 14-year-old Jennifer Connelly, between this and Labyrinth****, who was helping you pick your movies?
**Do you ever notice how on soap operas that children are always being shipped off to Swiss boarding school as infants, only to return a minimum of ten years older a season later? I find this incredibly bizarre, not only because it breaks the time-space continuum, but because all of our best anti-aging stuff is supposed to come from Switzerland. What is going on over there?
*** I’m not embedding it because it freaks me out, but the strong of heart can see what I mean here.
**** I do love Labyrinth, but it is still a seriously weird movie.