Creepers (1985)

Creepers (1985)

“It’s perfectly normal for insects to be slightly telepathic.”

Synopsis:
A boarding school student (Jennifer Connelly) who has the power to communicate telepathically with insects befriends a wheelchair-bound entomologist (Donald Pleasence) with a pet chimpanzee, and together they try to solve the mystery of who has been stalking and killing local girls.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Amateur Sleuths
  • Boarding School
  • Dario Argento Films
  • Donald Pleasence Films
  • Horror Films
  • Insects
  • Serial Killers
  • Supernatural Powers

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “brutal Dario Argento horror film” — also known as Phenomena — “has the striking visual style we’ve come to expect from the Italian director, and there are a couple of his customary shocks”, but he “too often forgoes legitimate shocks for nauseating sights — lice crawling on a rotting head, Connolly throwing up, heads crashing through glass, deformed faces” (who enjoys this kind of fare?!). In addition, as Peary notes, “Argento’s script is extremely weak”, with “Connelly’s sleepwalking:

… and even her control over insects smack[ing] of writer’s ‘convenience’; in fact, the insect premise has such little effect on what happens that they could easily be eliminated without serious damage being done to the film.” Indeed, everything about the screenplay is awkwardly handled, clumsily plotted, occasionally illogical, and woodenly acted. To that end, Peary points out that Pleasence’s chimp “gives the film’s most impressive performance” (!). While 15-year-old Connelly is undeniably stunning:

… she’s given terribly lame dialogue and situations to play out. Feel free to skip this one. To watch a humorous overview by a fan of this film (who generously points out its many laughably bad moments: “It’s time for another Donald Pleasence monologue…”), click here.

Note: For this review, I’ve used the American-release title of the film as referenced in Guide For the Film Fanatic, which had 20+ minutes removed. This is likely the version Peary saw, though I watched the 116 minute version known as Phenomena.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Atmospheric cinematography
  • Beautiful location shooting

Must See?
No.

Links:

3 thoughts on “Creepers (1985)

  1. First viewing (10/18/20). Skip it.

    Some movies are bad. Some bad movies are more ‘ambitious’ about it and, thus, are not only bad but also dumb. ‘Creepers’ is one of these. But because this is an Argento flick, there are those who praise it for its ‘visual brilliance’. Yeah, whatever – it’s still bullshit cinema. It has the kind of ‘creative flair’ that is simultaneously vacuous.

    It also has Connelly and Pleasance – the only reasonably competent (though elsewhere much better) actors in the cast. The two have a number of scenes together which are easier to get through since they’re able to add a sense of warmth and conviction, even though their dialogue is nonsense.

    The last half-hour is the worst. The film goes from being bad and dumb to also confusing, unbelievable, annoying and gross.

  2. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Barking mad giallo with paranormal and supernatural elements is lots of fun and best seen in the full 115 minute version and not the hacked to bits “Creepers” cut (83 minutes).

    It’s all very contrived and silly but great fun. The leads are good. Definitely not must see though.

  3. The proper title is Phenomena and it was released in 1984 in Italy so the date above needs changing. It’s also much more commonly known these days under the proper title.

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