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Chosen One of the Day: Jennifer Connelly, teen bug whisperer, in Dario Argento's Phenomena

Contributed by
Nov 21, 2018

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth may represent Jennifer Connelly’s most famous brush with the cinematic supernatural—but it wasn’t her first. A year before that film’s release—and the loosing of the Bowie Bulge upon the world—the then-teenaged actress starred in a little movie called Phenomena, directed by Suspiria’s Dario Argento.

What is Phenomena? Better question: What isn’t Phenomena?

Put simply, there are eight movies’ worth of content in this single one-hour-and-56-minute magnum opus of weird. There’s a serial killer! A deformed goblin child! A creepy boarding school! Donald Pleasence with a pet monkey! Possible demonic influence? That one kind of gets brushed over. Look, Dario had a lot to get to. What about the soundtrack? Nothing says trippy, surrealist Swiss fantasy like *checks notes* uh, Goblin, Iron Maiden, and Motörhead?

Yeah, OK.

Also, Jennifer Connelly’s character can control bugs.

How? And why? Do we care how or why? The point is that Jennifer Connelly is a got-dang bug whisperer for no real reason, and she uses her ability to find out who’s been chopping up young girls and holding onto their body parts for #funsies. “The two greatest detectives the world has ever known, or should I say, unknown,” says a grammatically challenged Pleasence: Jennifer Connelly and her cadre of corpse-smelling insect minions.

Control over insects, it turns out, is also an excellent way to combat the bullying tactics of mean girls:

Do you need an explanation on any of that? 'Cause I don't.

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