Phenomena (Italian Psychic Power Insect Horror)


Dario Argento is a legend for many reasons, a director with a body of work most directors would kill for. While his work of recent memory has been scattershot at best, there’s no denying that he was on a tear from Deep Red until possibly The Stendhal Syndrome (some would say Opera). Today, we’re sitting down with Synapse’s beautiful 4K rerelease of Phenomena. A brutal killer is stalking and slashing their way through Switzerland, leaving nothing but pieces of bodies in their wake. Enter Jennifer Corvino (a pre-fame Jennifer Connelly,) an American student with an unusual affinity for insects. After witnessing an extremely vicious murder while sleepwalking, Jennifer gets pulled into a crazed twilight world where the unbelievable becomes very much a reality. Is it worth the double dip in this new version? Let’s find out.


I may be alone in my assessment, but Phenomena is for my money the pinnacle of Argento’s career. Even more so than Suspiria, it has the air of a fairy tale to it. The “stranger in a strange land” quality that Argento infuses the film with as well as the quiet lyrical passages that punctuate all the mayhem only exacerbate this. There are sequences that are downright beautiful to look at. Combine that with the dreamlike sounds of Claudio Simonetti’s score and the snippets of Iron Maiden and Motorhead and you have a dream projected on the screen. As far as the new 4K disc goes, this one is a winner. An already beautiful film gets the 4-Star treatment with a transfer that makes the deep reds and whites of the photography really pop. If you don’t have this film in your collection, this new release is the perfect place to start, with tons of special features therein including documentaries, special audio cuts, and more.


Written by David, Comptroller of Your Last Scrap of Existence

Phenomena (2023, Blu-ray)
Dario Argento
5 / 5