Phenomena (Creepers, 1984)

UK Arrow Video 2022 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray 2 disc edition with a Booklet, a poster and 6 cards. Region ALL


 

There's Something about Jennifer

This film always gives me goosebumps when watching it. It's uniquely personal and even beautiful with the hypnotizing
theme "The Valley" by Bill Wyman, the wonderful Swiss setting and fine camerawork by Romano Albani giving it tons
of atmosphere. The Foehn winds sweeping over the mountain forests and the valleys and causing madness, a serial
killer murdering young girls and a british entomologist trying to solve the crimes with the assistance of his insects.
Highly unconventional ideas from Argento and with sudden (unappropriate ?) bursts of heavy metal music disturbing
the atmospherical synthesizer soundtrack and the gorgeous visuals, plus a big dose of bad acting from the secondary
characters shouldn't make this film work .... but, it does, with the help of angelic out of this world beautiful child actor
Jennifer Connelly. OK, let's not forget Tanga the Chimpanzee here, Jennifer, John McGregor, Tanga and the beautiful
Egyptian Sarcophagus Fly makes it work. Daria Nicolodi is always fun to watch also and she goes full throttle here.

Above: One of 6 collector cards in the Arrow Video 4K UHD blu-ray edition

The Dario Argento vs. Jennifer Connelly Mystery - If there is one ?

Yes, if I remember correctly Dario Argento in an early audio commentary actually badtalks Goddess Jennifer Connelly
when he spoke about her in a condescending way .... big boobs .... But no one seems to have noticed this, and later on
he changed his tune when he praised her fervently in all future commentaries and interviews.
I find this to be interesting as Connelly have refused to take part in any commentary or interview in the extras provided
with any release of Phenomena. The Big Mystery of Phenomena - did Jennifer and Argento get along during the filming ?

and .... whatabout Tanga the Chimpanzee ? Argento was known for being a bit rough sometimes with the (for him annoying)
actors and did Jennifer annoy him at some point ? This almost scary beautiful 13 year old actress ?
What about the "tame" monkey Inga (played by the monkey Tanga) who allegedly bit off Jennifer's fingertip, which version
is the true one ? One says that Argento told Jennifer Connelly to turn the ape, who was in a grumpy mood, for him to get a
better shot, and the monkey became furious and bit off Jennifers finger.

Another one, told by Dario Argento in the 2017 Arrow Video documentary is that Tanga bit Jennifer in the shooting of
one of the lift scenes (at Donald Pleasence/John McGregor's house) when Tanga got scared by the lift. Which version is
the true one ? Maybe Argento tries to make himself come in a better light. To make a 13 year old child actress handle an
already pissed-off powerful animal as a Chimpanzee instead of waiting for it's handler to do it is not very good.
Anyway, Jennifer Connelly should have a noticeable scar on one of her fingers.

And .... a third version is given by Daria Nicolodi in the 50 minutes 2011 Arrow Video "Making OF documentary" where
she says that Jennifer (who allegedly was afraid of Chimpanzee's) was told to hug the monkey, and as she was nervous
the monkey got nervous and bit her. Three all different versions, which is true ?

Could this be the reason to why Jennifer Connelly is curiously absent from any audio commentary or interview on any
of the releases of Phenomena ? Or, maybe she just wants to distance herself from her early pictures in the 1980's and
early 1990's as she consider herself to be a "serious" actress today ? Well, No, that's not it, as she hails the not very good
US version of the japanese horror "Dark Water" and also has acted in some atrocious flops.
She made some beautiful and beloved films early on in her career
, as "Once Upon a Time in America", "Phenomena",
"Labyrinth" and the obscure but mystic and even fascinating art drama "Some Girls". "The Rocketeer" was great too.

An Audio Commentary with Jennifer Connelly - it Would be the Holy Grail of Audio Commentaries

There are so many questions: What about her relation with Inga/Tanga, was she scary, as Chimpanzee's are strong
animals ? How did she get along with Donald Pleasance (they seem to have such good chemistry) ? How did Donald get
along with Inga/Tanga ? What does she really think about insects ? Did she bond with anyone on the set ? Did she
swim herself in the underwater scene at the end (yes it looks like her) ? How come she can't see the beauty and uniqueness
of Phenomena but is perfectly OK with hailing the not so great "Dark Water" ?

Maybe Jennifer Connelly thinks that the film is a forgotten obscurity and doesn't understand that "Phenomena" has
become a beloved cult classic, and maybe even her most popular film. She supposedly also shuns her other 1980's
fan favorite, "Labyrinth" and won't talk about it either. Why ? Maybe she feels uncomfortable looking at her young
self (because of later alterations made to her face and body) ? Maybe she doesn't like the fantasy or horror genre ?

Above: Booklet


Arrow Video presents the film in 1.66: aspect ratio and in a 2 disc 4K UHD Blu-ray version, with the long italian version
116 minutes on disc 1 and with the 110 minutes international version and US 83 minutes Creepers version on disc 2.
Long 116 minutes version with hybrid english and some italian DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio or Italian audio DTS-HD MA 5.1
or 2.0 with english subtitles. Six collector Cards, a Booklet and a Poster. Region ALL. EXTRAS:

Disc One -

An AWFUL audio commentary by otherwise brilliant gialli expert Troy Howarth (see more about this below), "Of Flies
and Maggots - 2017 Documentary (2 whole hours, and where i.a. Argento gives his Tanga/Inga bite version, maybe to
put himself in a somewhat better light than version 1), Jennifer Music Video, Italian trailer, International trailer, Japanese
press book.

Disc Two - Audio commentary to International 110 minutes version by David Del Valle and author Derek Botelho. The Three
Sarcophagi (31 minutes) Comparison of the Arrow versions 110/116 and 83 minutes, Alternate International version 2.0
Stereo Mix, US Theatrical trailer and US Radio Spots

Above: Japanese pic from somewhere (not in the Arrow 4K UHD release

Warning ! The Awful Audio Commentary by Troy Howarth

First i have to say that i normally likes Troy Howarth's commentaries of Italian gialli and horror movies as he's knowledgeable
and never boring, so i was very, very disappointed with him here. Only hardcore fans of this amazing and unique film will buy
this great release and they for sure don't want to hear someone who hates the film spoil their fun. Just as the 1945 Film Noir
masterpiece "Leave Her to Heaven" for some unknown reasons had two assholes who disliked the film comment it. That much
hated on commentary was a blunder from 20th Century Fox. Why release a beloved film with a commentary where two pieces
of shit pisses on the film, a masterpiece, and on the leading actress, goddess Gene Tierney giving a haunting performance ?

Here the loser (Howarth) starts with telling us that he don't like the film, and then he whines, whines and whines some more.
Endlessly he whines about scenes being too long. The lovely sleepwalking scene being too long and he even tries to mock it.
The scenes makes no sense he says and Troy Howarth seems to want them to be more Mainstream ..... Yes, that would surely
make the film better ! Or Not ? You piece of s..t ! "Phenomena" is Dario Argento's most personal and his favorite film, but
Noooo, Troy Howarth he knows better what would've made the film work. Just shut up you smug bastard.
Howarth should've known better and not accepted to do the commentary. He hates the film and fans of "Phenomena" don't
want to listen to stuff like that. But, maybe it's just me ? I haven't heard any complaints in any of the reviews i read.

But, i'm a bit sensitive about things like this as "Phenomena" probaby is my favorite Dario Argento film, and i have watched
it some 50 times or so. At first on a Swedish 1980's VHS (i think only the ending razorblade scene was shortened) and then
on the US Anchor Bay DVD, then the Arrow 2011 Blu-ray and now finally the Arrow 4K UHD Blu-ray.
This awful commentary makes this supposedly "ultimate" release feeling a bit tainted sorry to say.

 




The 2011 UK Arrow Video Blu-ray and DVD 2 disc release above featured the hybrid english and italian audio
116 minutes version with english subtitles. Presented in 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Extras:
The Making of Phenomena - 50 minutes Documentary with Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi et.al. Music for Maggots
Interview with composer Claudio Simonetti, Creepers for Creatures - Sergio Stivaletti Q&A (19 minutes), Booklet

The old audio commentary with i.a. Dario Argento found on the US
Anchor Bay DVD edition has been removed here, and maybe that is as well because Argento talked about Jennifer
Connelly in a very condescending way there ... Big Boobs ... he muttered. He wasn't nice at all when talking about her,
and that is strange as then only 13 year old Jennifer (born December 12th 1970 and the film was shot in 1984) with her
angelic beauty and everything horrific she courageously takes on during the film became something like the Alchemist
Stone. She makes every strange ingredience come together with her performance and makes the film ascend to the
highest level of Horror film. The film has become a Cult Classic and there has been Jennifer Connelly mania on Youtube.

Wisely in this new documentary Dario have had a change in his attitude against Jennifer Connelly and he's now very
respectful towards her part in the film - "It was great working with her, she was only 13 at the time. She was fantastic,
elegant and very sensible. That sort of experience made me want to do the same work with my own daughter Asia".
What happened between the first early audio commentary where Dario actually disses Connelly and the Documentary
where he hails her ? Something is fishy (In Swedish: "Här ligger en gravad hund" Refat El Sayed).
Maybe he just had a bad day during the commentary. Nobody mentions this and the commentary probably is buried.

Above: The Booklet

R.I.P. Daria Nicolodi. In the documentary we also get to hear Daria complain about the sinister plans Dario may have had
for her. He wanted to kill her with a Chimpanzee and later in Opera with explosives on her head for the door peephole scene.
She's joking surely. She also claims that it was her scripts that elevated his earlier films to become Gialli/Horror masterworks
and that his scriptwriter from Phenomena and onwards, that's Franco Ferrini, is a mediocre craftsman.
Maybe she has a valid point as Dario Argento's every film after "Opera" has gotten worse and looks like Elephant dung.

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The Old US Anchor Bay DVD release

Presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.66:1 , english audio 5.1 or 2.0. Extras: That audio commentary with Dario Argento,
Sergio Stivaletti, Claudio Simonetti and Loris Curci, where he strangely disses Jennifer Connelly,
Featurette "A Dark Fairytale" with Dario Argento, Daria Nicolodi, daughter Fiore Argento, Cinematographer Romano
Albani, Sergio Stivaletti et.al. (17 minutes, 2008), Luigi Cozzi and the art of Macrophotograhy, Dario Argento at the Joe
Franklin Show, Music Videos: Claudio Simonetti's "Jennifer" with unique pictures of Connelly, Bill Wyman's beautiful
"The Valley", Trailer and an Dario Argento biography

 

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