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

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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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