Creepers

Italian horror maestro Dario Argento's first English-language film is another stylish, if somewhat mindless, horror-thriller. Teenager Jennifer Connelly can communicate telepathically with insects. Bees crawl on her hand harmlessly; fireflies guide her way at night. The area she lives in is being terrorized by a psychotic killer who has been murdering coeds...read more

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Italian horror maestro Dario Argento's first English-language film is another stylish, if somewhat mindless, horror-thriller. Teenager Jennifer Connelly can communicate telepathically with insects. Bees crawl on her hand harmlessly; fireflies guide her way at night. The area she lives in

is being terrorized by a psychotic killer who has been murdering coeds and making off with their decapitated bodies. Desperate for clues, a police inspector visits an entomologist, Donald Pleasence, and eventually Pleasance and Connelly team up to find the killer. Released in Europe in 1984 as

PHENOMENA, Argento's weird thriller was a huge box-office hit. New Line Cinema picked up the US release rights, cut 28 minutes from the film, and retitled it CREEPERS. The result is still quite bizarre and contains some suspenseful moments. Though Argento's plot is often confused and grotesque, he

has a remarkably energetic visual style (mobile camera, slow-motion, careful lighting, creative editing) that is never boring. Pleasence holds his usual scenery-chewing instincts in check for this performance, but Connelly, who was so wonderful in Sergio Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (1984),

is out of place here. Regrettably, Argento miscalculates with his musical score. While most of the incidental music, provided by Argento's group, the Goblin (which contributed an effective, offbeat score to George Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD), works well, some of the best suspense scenes are marred

by the teeth-jarring sounds of obnoxious heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Motorhead.

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