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4.0 out of 5 stars
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4.0 out of 5 stars
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on 5 March 2012
I last watched Phenomena as a teenager back in the 80's when it was released on VHS under the title "Creepers" with around 30 minutes of the original film cut out of it, making it a very different movie to what we have here. The only thing I remembered about Creepers was that it was quite forgettable, so I had no interest in watching it again until recently when I bought a Blu-Ray player and discovered Arrow Films. I thought I'd try the movie again, this time in its full-length form, and I'm certainly glad I did! Although this isn't Argento's best movie by any means, it still has a lot going for it, and is more than a cut above a lot of Italian horror.

Although I'm fairly new to Blu-Ray I've already bought 7 of Arrow's releases, and can say that the picture quality on Phenomena is very good indeed. The disc has some interesting special features and at under a tenner from Amazon it is good value for money, so I would definitely recommend it to fans of the genre.

As much as I enjoyed Arrow's Blu-Ray transfer of the movie I'm going to knock off one star and rate it 4 out of 5 for this reason:

The native language of Phenomena is English. Arrow's Phenomena has been created using the Italian cut of the movie, and some small parts of the English audio track are missing. This means that when watching the film with its native English audio, there are a few brief occasions when the English voices switch to dubbed Italian with English subtitles. The plus side of this is that we don't miss out on any scenes (great for fanboys), but the negative side is that it is such an oddity to watch a movie that is 99.5% English and 0.5% Italian. It's also a bit weird when, in one of the Italian-dubbed scenes, a woman on a bus says something to Jennifer Connelly in dubbed Italian and Jennifer replies "Sorry, I don't speak German"!

I'm glad we're presented with the full length version of the film, but it would have been nice to have the option of watching a more conventional and slightly shorter English-only version, either on a second disc or as a switchable option in the disc setup menu. Personally, I got used to the ocassional bit of dubbed Italian dialogue, but if you want better continuity you can always watch the entire movie in dubbed Italian with English subtitles.

Overall, and in spite of the small gripe above, I say well done to Arrow on this Blu-Ray of Phenomena. RECOMMENDED.
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on 25 February 2012
This is the third version of the film I've owned and compared to the previous DVD releases, this Arrow Blu-ray release easily blows them out of the water. I went back and watched my old Anchor Bay DVD for comparison after watching the Blu-ray (I hadn't viewed it in a while) and the drop in quality was pretty drastic and left me wondering how I was ever satisfied with it. The clarity is far improved even from the opening titles when the camera does a roaming aerial shot over the beautiful Swiss countryside. The amount of extra detail and clarity makes this the best home video edition currently out there and I'd be surprised if some other company manages to improve upon it as it looked pretty much perfect to me.

This is also the first version of the film I've seen with slightly prolonged scenes that switch to Italian dialogue with English subtitles at certain points since I assume no English track was ever created for these moments. The extra snippets are very brief, sometimes lasting only one second with an extra line of dialogue here and there that frankly makes no difference at all. I can understand why the lines were cut as they bear no significance to the plot, but it's still nice to have the most complete version of the film even if you randomly get one added line here and there that makes no difference. One of the differences is so minute it begs the question why the editor even bothered removing it originally.

The Blu-ray is also region-free, so if you're in the U.S. like I am and feel jealous that we don't have Phenomena on Blu yet, take comfort in knowing this Arrow release will work just fine.
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on 22 December 2002
This is a beautuful DVD release of one of Argento's less popular films, and one that finally restores all the footage from the severely cut "Creepers", even the missing gore.
Often confusing, and at times just plain daft, this is nonetheless a beautifully set and filmed tale, with some stunning location and effects footage. Jennifer Connelly is superb in the lead role as a girl who can communicate with insects. Donald Pleasance struggles with a rather hammy Scottish accent, but the plot moves along well, with a very exciting last twenty minutes as Jennifer attempts to escape after being captured by the villain, and there is a superb multiple-surprise climax. All in all, a great example of Argento's unique film-making skill. The violence and gruseome scenes on display are very well done, gory enough for all Italian horror buffs, and the film is released with an option to view in widescreen or full-screen, which is oddly not mentioned on the sleeve. There are no extras, but it's such a good version of the film, all fans of the director should seek this out. Well done to the distributors.
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on 15 October 2008
Okay, I think is terribly underrated. Its certainly my favourite Argento, and given the competition thats some achievement. It is a film that can astound, delight and horrify in equal measure, and if the plot baffles at first, stick with it, as you will be rewarded.
The first scene we get is of a schoolgirl being brutally murdered by a waterfall in a forest. We quickly shift to the laboratory of wheelchair bound entomologist John McGregor(Donald Pleasence), who is assisting the police in ascertaining the age of a rotting corpse, through the type of insects feeding on it. Then the location swiftly changes again as we meet young Jennifer Corvino(Jennifer Connelly) who is on her way to an exclusive girls boarding school where her father has sent her. She is reluctant to say the least. Jennifer has an incredible power. She is able to telepathically commiunicate with the insect world, and she uses this power to assist her when being bullied, or in danger. Oh, and did I mention that girls staying at the boarding school are being murdered.
Then Jennifer runs away from the school, meets up with McGregor, and along with his simian housekeeper Inga(played by Tanga), they set about trying to solve the murders.
As I said the plot may be complex, but theres real fun to be had from unravelling the various strands. Connelly and Pleasence both give great performances, as does Tanga the chimp. Also with Argento regular Daria Nicolodi. Theres a wonderfully O.T.T gory climax that will leave you reeling, and of course another wonderful soundtrack by Goblin and Simon Boswell. Brilliant. 5 out of 5.
NB-Okay DVD release, as mentioned before has different picture than one used in product information. I thought the picture/sound quality were excellent
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on 28 April 2010
For me this is Dario Argento's most overlooked, underrated film. The plot skeleton - young girl adrift in a foreign school whilst a murderer wreaks havoc - is obviously Suspiria, but, incredibly, this film makes that effort look almost conventional. Some of the scenes in the final 20 minutes are genuinely unbelievable - swarms of insects, homicidal chimpanzees, an unforgettable face, Iron Maiden, extreme violence and a certain young future Oscar winner looking on with unfeigned bewilderment - whats not to love!
The Anchor Bay Region 1 disc is recommended. Check out the Bill Wyman video on the extras - bet he would shudder to see this now!
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on 21 December 2014
Almost on a par with Deep Red, Suspiria and Opera, this is one of Dario Argento's last great films.

Picture and Sound Quality on the Blu-Ray version are superb, the use of colour, the Goblin Soundtrack and the Cinematography are simply stunning.

And Jennifer Connelly and Donald Pleasance are both superb as always.

A definite, five star, intelligent gore fest.

Simply Outstanding - Superb.
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on 25 February 2006
First things first......the sleeve displayed above ISNT the sleeve that you get, the one you do get is TERRIBLE...its a plain white with text affair thats a real dissapointment.
The movie is none too bad though it is a 4:3 Pan & Scan print..
On the upside all/most of the deleted stuff from "Creepers" is in this print and the transfer is passable....
What else can you say about Argento movies you either like them or you dont..and this one isnt his best....leaning towards a more supernatural story than the Giallo that the sleeve proclaims.
It wont win Argento any new fans...but thats not the point....more to the point is that it`s available at all....ah well not perfect but an improvement on the version of "Creepers" that was released over here previously.
Worth getting for less than a fiver........
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on 9 June 2007
I would recommend you buy Phenomena, which is the original Argento cut of the film that was released in Italy. Creepers is a HEAVILY cut down version that was released for the US market in the 80s... however it delivers the goods, and maybe would seem a bit more direct for those popcorn munching nights in... Ideally Id like to see a DVD with both versions of the film on but que sera sera...
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on 7 March 2011
While the mid to late eighties are seen in some circles as the beginning of the end for Argento as a maker of high quality horror cinema, I personally feel a lot of his work around this time to be underrated and highly watchable. Tenebrae was somewhat of an anti climax after inferno and supiria but is still an excellent and visually stylish giallo well worth a fans time and opera still rates highly with me for its outlandish murder sequences and fusion of rock and opera (though the end in the long version still leaves a lot to be desired). My favourite however is this one, Phenomena. A giallo set in a girls school featuring psychic insects and most memorably a straight-razor weilding vengence crazed chimp. Jennifer Connelly (labarynyh, Beautiful mind, dark water ect ect.) plays a schoolgirl whose father is a famous actor working in the phillipines and is sent to a swiss girls school where she has trouble fitting in with the other pupils, not helped by her ability to psychicly communicate with insects. To add to the young girls troubles a mysterious crazed killer is butchering his way through the campus. Jennifer finds herself teamed up with an entemologist (played superbly by the legend donald plesence) to try and find out whose killing the girls. Phenomena was previously available in vhs under the title CREEPERS in a much shorter version for anyone unfamiliar with argentos work who finds the plot description sounding familiar, but this is a much better version and uncut. Phenomena is outlandish and more than a little bizarre to say the least, certainly it could be off-putting for anyone more familiar with more contemporary horror films, but give the film a chance and it will grow on you.
So, is the disc worth getting? The answer is a most definate yes. I've championed other arrow releases in the face of some criticism but its really hard to find fault with this blu-ray. Perhaps because the film is more modern and arrow have better materials to work with, but the picture quality on this disc is AMAZING, its razor-sharp with vibrant colors and the level of detail is the best i've ever seen it (including the japanese laser disc and the anchor bay discs.) The sound mix is perfect to boot so that alone makes it worth a look.
Extras wise we get..

*intro by sergio stivaletti.
*A 50 minute documentary on the making of the film.
*music for maggots, an interview with claudio simmonetti.
*a live q and a session with sergio stivaletti from dublin and glasgow.

Overall then if you like phenomena and own a blu-ray capable machine buy this now!

***EDIT**** also after watching the film through, some scenes are in german/italianb only and there are some 'new' scenes I don't remeber from the anchor bay version. This leads me to believe this is the FULL version only previously available on japanese laserdisc.
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on 19 January 2009
After only ever having seen Creepers, it was nice to finally be able to watch the full version. The story involves Jennifer, a girl who finds she can communicate with insects, arriving at a Swiss boarding school for girls. Before long she finds there is a serial killer on the loose, and it's up to her - with the help of her insect friends plus a local entomologist - to solve the crimes.

This is a brilliant film. The use of solving crime with the help of insects is an inspired one, and the sleep-walking scenes are marvellously surreal. The horror is real horror, and there's a first-rate soundtrack (which is well worth getting on CD). My only complaint was that there are a few lines of dialogue in the English language version which seemed to be in Italian(?) for no apparent reason. These include some woman trying to get Jennifer to close the window on a tram-car and some of the arguing between Jennifer and that woman with glasses. But as this doesn't really affect the film overall it's still a must-see.
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