Oct 2, 2011

Posted in 1980s, DVD/Blue Ray, European Films, Flicks by Decades, Italy, James, Reviewers

Phenomena (Integral Cut, UK Blu-Ray All Region ) (1985) AKA Creepers

Phenomena (Integral Cut, UK Blu-Ray All Region ) (1985) AKA Creepers

This is one of my favorite Argento films. In the mid-eighties this film was released in the U.S in a heavily edited version and re-titled “Creepers.” This was my very first Dario Argento film, back before I even new who he was. And I loved it.

The plot is typical. It is a supernatural giallo starring Jennifer Connelly, Donald Pleasence, Daria Nicolodi a chimpanzee and a lot of insects. The soundtrack is great although some people have complaints about Dario’s usage of Heavy Metal music which doesn’t bother me.

Jennifer Corvino, the daughter of a popular movie star (played by Jennifer Connelly) is sent to a boarding school in Switzerland. There she meets Professor John McGregor (played by Donald Pleasence) an entomologist who has a chimpanzee named Inga for a nurse. He is using his entomological expertise to assist the police in finding the killer who he thinks has killed his assistant and friend Rita. He quickly takes a shine to Jennifer because she reminds him of Rita. Jennifer learns that there is a killer on the loose, but she has troubles of her own. Jennifer sleep-walks and finds herself in strange places. As time goes by she discovers that she has a telepathic link with insects. As her schoolmates start dying she and the professor decide to utilize her unique abilities to uncover the killer and stop the carnage.

The music and color choices really help bring to life a very atmospheric and dreamlike film. The version I am reviewing is the Arrow UK Blu-Ray version. Finally an uncut version of this film came to DVD by way of Anchor Bay Entertainment and it was great but there was something missing. Actually quite a few little things. There is another version even more complete that was hard to find called the Integral Cut. Arrow Video have been banging out great films on Blu-Ray. Like this version that I am reviewing here it is UK but because it is Blu-Ray All Region. Always check with your supplier on wether you can in fact play these films. Most of the Arrow Blu-Rays seem to be playable ( I have Bay of Blood and Inferno and they play fine). people in North America can watch it on their US Blu-Ray Player. The packaging alone makes this an important buy. For info and a great selection of films, I suggest www.diabolikdvd.com.

Here is a list of things included and/or different in the integral cut that is not present in the uncut Anchor Bay version. This list comes from http://www.dark-dreams.co.uk. I recommend that anyone interested in Dario Argento visit this website. It is the ultimate website for Dario Argento:

“Below is a list of the extra scenes/shots:

+1.5s after 12m – Bee flying around in the back of the car. Frau Bruckner waving her arms at it, Jennifer trying to stop her hurting it.
+0.5s after 15m – Jennifer walking towards bed in school.
+0.25s after 16m – extended shot of Jennifer in bed talking to Sophie.
+0.25s after – extended shot of Jennifer.
+1s after 18m – extended shot of Jennifer before she turns the light off.
+5s after – extended shot of Jennifer before she replies to Sophie’s question.
+3s after23m – Jennifer sleepwalking on roof before it gives way.
+14s after 24m – boys helping Jennifer get up after their car has knocked her down, then leading her towards the car, forcing her to get in as she screams ‘No!’ and driving off.
+3s after – extended shot of boys in car talking with Jennifer struggling between them.
+4s after – extended shot of Jennifer trying to climb over the front seats into the back of the car.
+0.5s after 28m – extended shot of John McGregor as he is talking to Jennifer.
+3s after – Jennifer walking towards stairs with Inga the chimp.
+0.5s after 30m – Jennifer laughing.
+1s after 32m – extended shot of Jennifer as John is talking.
+0.5s after – extended shot of Jennifer.
+1s after 33m – extended shot of Jennifer before EEG test.
+18s after 34m – teacher and girls walking out of room into hall where other girls are talking. Girl knocking on telephone booth and asking girl on phone to hurry up, shot of Jennifer in another booth about to make a call.
+1s after 35m – extended shot of girls as teacher is talking.
+0.5s after – extended shot of girls.
+4s after 39m – extended shot of news broadcast on TV.
+1s after – couple talking on TV.
+11s after – man talking on TV. Sophie walking into school grounds and turning round before carrying on.
+3s after 40m – extended shot of Sophie after her boyfriend has gone.
+0.5 s after – extended shot of Sophie walking through trees.
+0.5s after 43m – extended shot of Sophie running.
+2.5s after – extended shot of Jennifer walking into grounds.
+2.5s after – Jennifer walking through grounds following firefly.
+6.5s after – Jennifer continuing to follow firefly.
+2s after – Jennifer pulling her hands out of bushes after finding gloves.
+2s after 48m – extended shot of John McGregor.
+3.5s after – extended shot of Jennifer.
+0.5s after – extended shot of John.
+11.5s after 56m – nurse sitting next to Jennifers bed knitting. Jennifer keeping an eye on her. Nurse putting down knitting and starting to fall asleep.
+5s after – nurse falling asleep, Jennifer moving her hand.
+3.5s after – extended shot of nurse sleeping, Jennifer starting to undo drip from her arm.
+0.25s after 60m – extended shot of John while John is talking.
+0.25s after – extended shot of Jennifer.
+0.25s after – extended shot of Jennifer.
+0.25s after – extended shot of Jennifer.
+0.25s after – extended shot of Jennifer.
+0.25s after – extended shot of John.
+0.25s after – extended shot of John.+20.5s after 64m – woman on bus asking Jennifer to close the window. Jennifer refuses so the woman goes to the front of the bus complaining. Shot from rear of bus of car following.
+5.5s after 68m – Jennifer walking through field.
+1.5s after 69m – shot of papers on bookcase.
+7s after – Jennifer jumping up trying to reach papers.
+7s after – Jennifer successfully knocking one of the rolls of paper to the floor, then trying to reach the others.
+0.5 after 71m – extended shot of maggot ridden severed hand.
+2s after 74m – extended shot of John with spear in his stomach before it is pulled out.
+2.5s after 76m – extended shot of man in asylum. Inspector Geiger and doctor looking at him.
+1s after 82m – extended shot of Frau Bruckner as she shows Jennifer her house.
+8s after 84m – Jennifer wiping her forehead with her arm and feeling her face after Frau Bruckner has told her she must have a fever.
+23.5s after 85m – Jennifer arguing with Frau Bruckner after she has told her to take some pills.
-3s after – shot of Jennifer as Frau Bruckner is holding her arm.
+0.5s after – extended shot of Jennifer running out of bathroom.
+27s after 89m – Jennifer dialing number, Frau Bruckner putting her finger on the hook of the phone and asking who she is calling. Jennifer replies “Morris, to tell him everything is OK”. Frau Bruckner snaps “tommorrow” and tries to take the receiver from her hand.. Jennifer protests but Frau Bruckner gets angrier and shouts “No!”. Jennifer then pushes her away and she falls to the ground hitting her head against the wall. Jennifer then starts to dial again and doesn’t see Frau Bruckner getting up behind her.
+7.5s after – Frau Bruckner swearing at Jennifer after she has knocked her down with a club.
+10.5s after – Frau Bruckner dragging Jennifer along floor swearing at her again, a buzzer sounding.
-2s after – shot of Inspector Geiger approaching house.
+20s after 96m – Jennifer crawling through tunnel following telephone lead, tugging it to see where it goes, then pausing to take off her neckscarf before continuing.
+1.5s after 97m – extended shot of Jennifer splashing about in body pit.
+1s after – extended shot of Jennifer in pit.
+4.5s after long shot of Jennifer screaming in pit, Inspector Geiger chained to the wall before Frau Bruckner walks in laughing at them.
+4.5s after – extended shot of Jennifer trying to reach edge of pit.
+2s after – Inspector Geiger pulling against chains, shot from above pit of Jennifer surrounded by body parts.
+4s after – Inspector Geiger choking Frau Bruckner pulling her to the ground, holding her down and hitting her with the chain.
+3s after – close up of Inspector Geiger now choking a bloody Frau Bruckner after Jennifer has managed to escape.
+3s after 100m – Jennifer pausing in corridor before running outside.
+1s after – mutant child trying to fight off insects.
+3s after – extended shot of Jennifer in boat after child has gone underwater.
+1.5s after – extended shot of Jennifer as she looks up at sky.
+13s after – Jennifer sitting in boat looking round.
+1s after – Jennifer swimming underwater.
+1s after – Jennifer taking a breath before going back underwater.
+2s after – Jennifers leg being held by child underwater, close up of it’s burnt face.
+1s after – Jennifer trying to escape child’s clutches.
+0.5s after – Jennifer still trying to free herself.
+17s after 105m – Jennifer standing on the shore looking round, wiping her hair back and starting to feel cold.”
]

I am not a connoisseur when it comes to Blu-Ray but the picture and sound seems great to me. And like I mentioned before, the packaging and special features make this a great buy.

There is a 4 panel reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork, two sided fold out poster with new artwork, exclusive collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on Phenomena by Alan Jones (author of Profondo Argento). High Definition 1080p transfer of the Italian cut of the film, Brand new subtitle translation of the Italian and optional English subtitles of the English audio, Original Italian and English stereo audio.
There is an introduction by special effects artist Sergio Stivaletti (1080p), Dario’s Monkey Buisness: The Making of Phenomena-A 50 minute long documentary featuring interviews with key talent behind the film including director Dario Argento, star Daria Nicolodi, underwater photographer Gianlorenzo Battaglia and more (1080p). Music for Maggots-An interview with composer Claudio Simonetti (1080p),Creepers for Creatures-Sergio Stivaletti live Q&A sessions from Dublin and Glasgow (1080p).

This is one of my favorite films and it holds a special place in my heart for being my first Dario Argento film. I highly recommend if you have even a slight interest in horror that you check this film out. Especially for the last ten minutes of the movie (Maggots and gore).

-James

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Rating: 4.7/5 (3 votes cast)
Phenomena (Integral Cut, UK Blu-Ray All Region ) (1985) AKA Creepers, 4.7 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

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