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?
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.