. 1985

Director: Dario Argento

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Creeoers is the shortened version of Phenomena (1985). The more or less complete version is 110 minutes, although the very first 116 minute version is apparently not in circulation. The truncated version is 82 minutes. What is sadly lost from the shortest cut is mostly character development.

PhenomenaEven the preferred full version is regarded as a failure by a significent percentage of Argento fans, but I can't for the life of me figure out why this one would be abused, as it's got much more imagination than most Argento films. There's not much sexualizing of the slaughter of women, however, & perhaps that's what his core audience misses.

A young woman (played by Dario Argento's daughter Fiore), having been left behind by her tour bus, enters a house at random looking for help & gets scissored to death by someone or something that had been chained to a wall & got loose.

We're soon aprised of the fact that there's a serial killer on the loose who likes to kill young women. Donald Pleasance plays a wheelchair-bound entymologist Prof. John McGregor, whom the police visit to get his forensic opinion of the age of a girl's maggoty skull, which he's able to provide at a glance practically to the minute.

The bug professor has a helper chimpanzee (such as don't exist; chimps become too powerful & dangerous when they mature; the helper capuchin of George Romero's Monkey Shines, 1988, was closer to credible) trained to push him around in the wheelchair & fetch whatever he shines a red laser bead upon.

We're shown that this big guy likes to play with sharp things, but this is something of a red herring or McGuffin, since we're looking hard at this point for a killer that might've been chained up at some point.

PhenomenaA sleepwalking young woman (Jennifer Corvino) moves into a Swiss Catholic girls' school. Her first worry would seem to be that she might be outside sleepwalking while the killer is abroad, but even just the walking around is pretty risky for her with or without a killer in the mix. Her first stunt-filled somnambulant excursion is hoky as all hell, but worthy of a couple grins.

Her thrill-filled midnight perambulations bring her to the home of Professor McGregor, who gives her a few pointers on surviving her condition. A professor of entymology is the perfect guy for Jennifer to have met so soon, as it now seems she has a telepathic empathy-connection to the insect world.

Teased at the girls' school for her belief that she can talk to bugs, she proves her point by going into a trance & announcing, "I love you all," as millions of flies accumulate around the outside of the building & cover the windows scaring the bejabbers out of everyone except Jennifer.

The Catholic teachers decide this has something to do with Beelzebub the Lord of the Flies. Having declared their ward "diabolical" they plan to transfer her to the state insane asylum without further debate. So she flees to Professor McGregor's house.

He reassures her her ability is not of the devil. He believes she has been given a great gift & that together they might use her ability to track down the serial killer.

Playing superhero detective, she gets a carion-loving fly to lead her to the place where girls' corpses are hidden. This is of course a low budget slasher but the cinematography of a girl & her tracking-hound of a fly is really quite delightully done.

Turns out there are two psychos, one of them a hideously deformed child (Davide Marotta). As we approach the point of climactic scenes, the film gets really gorey & packed with incidents.

McGregor in his wheelchair is about to get whacked, & there's quite a tragic bit as the helper chimpanzee tries to get back in the house in time to save him, but cannot.

Our heroine meanwhile is trapped & nearly killed but calls from out of the sky a thick cloud of blackflies to protect her. There's much else happens including more grusome victims & our heroine falling into a very unlikely vat of maggots & liquescent corpses, later swimming underneath a lake the surface of which is ablaze with burning gasoline, not to mention the most unlucky reunion with her dad.

This film is sleezy bigtime, over the top with yuckiness, & I loved it. A heroic moment of revenge from the sweet helper chimp is an omigod bonus.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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