Phenomena (1985) Script

Come on, the bus won't wait.

Hurry, come on...

Wait! Wait for me!



Hello? Is anyone home?

Is anyone home?

I'm a foreigner, and I'm lost!

I know someone is there, please!

Well, this is quite a revelation to me, Professor.

I had no idea an expert on insects could provide the police with such invaluable help in a homicide investigation.

Normally we don't, but I made the unfortunate error of becoming an expert on cadaverous fauna.

John, we're not going through that whole number again, are we?

Yes, just like the first time you came here all those years ago.

Do you remember the first case we solved together?

When a dead body is exposed to the elements, sooner or later it is eaten up by insects.

Hey! You naughty girl!

Hey! Where did you get this?

You know you could cut yourself?

Look. Look here... you could cut yourself with this.

See! It's not a toy! Not a toy.

Where did you find it?

Outside! And who, may I ask put it out there?

I don't want you ever, ever playing with this again!

Oh, I forgot to introduce you, this is Inga!

She's my nurse.

If I pick out something with my laser, she never forgets it!

She's also my friend too aren't you, Inga?

But, she's a very good nurse!

Insects that eat cadavers are divided into eight groups.

Eight groups of insects that follow one another installing themselves at exact moments, and on precise terms.

Never sooner and never later.

We call them the eight squadrons of death!

First comes the common fly - lays its eggs on the rotting corpse.

And thus the cycle begins.

Each group stays 15 days.

15, multiplied by 8.

The number of the groups is... Four months.

In the case of this head, the cycle not only seems to be complete, but to have been repeated.

Which puts us at... Eight months!

Now I see.

By calculating the presence and growth of the flies or the maggots, you can pinpoint the exact date of death.

Or murder. Our victim was decapitated some eight months ago. And 1 5 days.

1 5 days while the body was submerged in the lake, before the putrefying gasses brought it to the surface, and thence to the shore, where the first flies arrived.

Eight and a half months then.

Perhaps a little less, The mountain wind, the föhn, was unusually warm this year.

So we could say... That she lost her head somewhere between, September 7th and 10th.

Am I right, John? Let's see now, about that time.

The first girl to disappear... that was 9th September.

A 14 year old Danish tourist. Vera Brandt.

The body was never found. Just like the other girl's.

Like Greta.

Poor Greta.

She's on that list too.

She's missing, but we have no proof she's dead.

After finding this, what's the use of hiding from the facts?

There's a killer!

A vicious killer!

A girl killer.

We'll get him!

And when we do...

Goodnight, Professor!

Do you know this part of the country?

No, this is my first trip to Europe.

It's a very unusual area. People call it the Swiss Transylvania.

Why? I don't know. They just do.

So, you are the Corvino girl. Your father is terribly...

Yes, isn't he!

I admire him very much.

I thought he might have come with you.

Dad's working in the Philippines. He'll be there for almost a year.

He can't even be reached by telephone.

Well, in any case, he's placed you in good hands.

I'm sure you're going to like our school.

To begin with, we all speak English.

And then our academic programme is based on the American one.

Ah! A bee! Be careful it might sting you!

No, leave it alone!

Look out! No, don't kill it, please!

Don't touch it! Stop yelling!

It's a bee! I know!

It won't hurt me. Insects never hurt me. I love them.

You, you love them? Yes. I love all insects.

And so Jennifer arrives in Switzerland from the New World to pass her first memorable night at the Richard Wagner International School for girls.

Take the bags in, please.

Impressive, isn't it?

The estate was once Richard Wagner's home.

The school only occupies the main building.

The others are closed because they're not safe. Never go into them.

Come along.

I'm starved. Is there anything to eat? No, sorry.

I haven't eaten anything but breakfast for two days.

What are they? Baby food.

My parents left it when they came to visit me with my little brother.

Chicken, beef...

...mixed vegetables. He's seven months old.

I bet he's the only male who's ever seen me inside of this place.

Mixed vegetables, great! I'm a vegetarian.

I need a... Spoon? No.

How is it? Like cat food.

By the way, I'm Sophie, I'm French.

Jennifer. Hi!

Have you met the headmistress yet?

Speaking of the devil.

You are the new girl. You were expected this afternoon.

My plane was late because of bad weather.

Would you like some?

The school has its rules. I'm sorry, but I must confiscate this.

Hey, wait. You don't know who that is. That's Paul Corvino!

Sophie, get into bed!

If I catch you smoking again, you'll be sorry.

And you, young lady, to bed!

And switch off the light.

That bitch, stealing Paul Corvino!

Yeah, it's all right, I have a bunch of them in my bag.

So tomorrow, I'll put them all up all over the room.

I've seen all his movies. I saw his last one three times!

Lucky you! He must have made me sit through it at least 15 times.

He says he trusts my opinion.

You mean, you know him? Yes, of course I do!

Have you been to bed with him?

Paul Corvino is my father.

Sorry. It's all right.

Your mother lives in lndia and owns a hotel!

She remarried. Your father never did.

You were only seven when they split up.

No, I was eight! Eight... you were seven!

How do you know so much about Paul Corvino?

I read "Cine Review"!

Well, it was Christmas Day...

We were opening presents together.

And the phone rang.

So... Mum answered it.

She said, "I'll be right there!"

And it was her lover.

So then she left...

...and she never came back.

I remember Dad got 12 presents that year.

And he said the 13th, was Mum walking out on him like that.

You didn't read that in "Cine Review", did you?

I'm really glad you're here. I've always had to sleep alone.

It can be very scary. Thanks for coming.

I'm the one who should thank you.

Don't let me forget, I owe you a meal.

You know, there's a murderer around here. A crazy man.

A maniac who kidnaps girls our age and kills them.

And then, he hides the bodies.

Can we change the subject? I'm really tired from the trip!

You're right, sometimes I lie awake all night, thinking about it.

What do you think about before you fall asleep?

My father.

On the other hand, if I think about your father, I won't sleep at all.

You mind if I watch TV? I've got earphones.

No problem. Goodnight, Sophie!

Goodnight, Jennifer!

That's shitty. Are you okay?

Are you hurt?

Why are you dressed like that? Do you understand me?

Why are you dressed like that? I'm sleepwalking...

Can you understand me? Wake me up!

I asked if you understand me. Let me go!

Do you think she would do it? She's an addict. Just look at her eyes!

Let me out!

Maybe she's on drugs. Open your eyes.

Cut it out! Sit still, you little shit!

Is she lying?

Come on, let's go.

Is this the first time you've been sleepwalking?

No, it's happened before in the States.

You look a mess, child. Have you any idea where you've been?

No. It's all a blank. I never remember anything.

My saviour. So you're American?

I'm studying at the academy. Where are you from?

I'm from Scotland. I came here as a student and stayed to teach.

Then I had this accident and I haven't moved since.

What do you teach? Entomology. I study insects.


Do insects interest you? Yes, a lot! I love them!

Do you mean that? Absolutely. Why?

You remind me of another girl.

Greta. She used to come here sometimes and help out.

Mostly secretarial work, and then... Then?

She was supposed to come here one night. She never arrived.

The killer got her. What do you know about that?

Well, you used the past tense, as if she were dead.

She left her coat here.

You must be frozen, child!

It should fit you. It's upstairs.

Here, she'll show you where it is.

No, wait a second. Where are you going?

Nice, I like it.

There's a good boy.

Now, don't play any tricks.


What beats me is that it never misses.

The species is supposed to be practically blind.

Thanks! Be careful you're in range. It won't do anything to me.

You look like Greta in that coat.

She liked insects too.

But they didn't like her the way that one likes you!

That sound that you can hear is a mating call.

You're exciting it.

Smell it...

Go on, smell it!

It's sort of sweet.

That substance is secreted by a gland.

It too is meant to attract a mate.

You're exciting him, and he's doing his best to excite you!

And to think we only just met!

This isn't the mating season. I can't understand it.

I've never seen anything like it before.

Well, thanks for everything.

Stop by anytime!


You make an old man happy, take the cable car.

It's only a five minute ride from the town!

I don't know. Maybe.

And mind how you go with that sleepwalking!

If it happens again say, "I am sleepwalking! I must wake up! I am sleepwalking! I must wake up!"

I am sleepwalking! I must wake up! I am sleepwalking...

I won't need it! I haven't had an attack for ages.

It must have been the trip out.

Or maybe the change of air.

Maybe the wind.

The wind? Yes. The föhn. A very particular wind.

Typical of this part of the country.

It comes from the Alps.

The blasts of warm air cause snow avalanches.

Make the flowers grow. The hatching of the larvae.

Some people get headaches.

When it blows, there are those who say it causes madness.

It's a strange part of the country. The Swiss Transylvania.

Will someone tell me what this E.E.G. is supposed to do?

What you did last night is highly irregular.

No student ever left the school at night before.

How many times do I have to tell you that I didn't walk out on purpose. I walk in my sleep!

It happens.

But it is not normal. It's our duty to know more.

But I know everything there is to know about it.

I've been examined by the best. It's not an illness.

This could lead to something far more serious!

You say you remember nothing.

This is not a matter of talking in your sleep or ransacking the fridge!

It could be leading up to a new personality trying to emerge.

Sometimes, it's the first step on the path to schizophrenia.

So you think I'm crazy? Well, you can forget your E.E.G!

There now, calm down, calm down.

OK, OK, go ahead!

I'll show you which one of us is crazy!

What happened? That's strange.

Do you suffer from epilepsy?

Or do you take something like... do you understand, drugs?

I am not crazy, schizophrenic, epileptic or stoned.

Sophie, I need to speak to you. There's something I have to tell you.

Hello, Shapiro Evans? Hi, I'd like to speak to Morris please?

I mean Mr Shapiro. Jennifer Corvino.

Right, Paul Corvino's daughter.

He's out of town?

Three days?

What do you mean, it's a holiday? What holiday is it?


Hey, have you heard? She walks in her sleep!

If you ask me, she's got problems!

So that's Paul Corvino's daughter.

That still doesn't give her the right to be a show-off!

Here she comes!

What's wrong? Damn Morris.

Who's he? Your boyfriend?

He's my father's agent and attorney.

I want to tell him to get me out of this shitty school.

He found it. Why do you want to leave?

Your little brother is not the only male to have graced this place.

First, you forgot the doctor. He's not a man.

He's got more hands than the entire basketball team!

And second, you forgot the killer! Killer!

What is the poet trying to say with these words?

Well? Who's going to answer? You tell us!

Me? Yes, you Elizabeth!

I think, the poet took the words right out of a Bee Gees song.

That's very funny.

The poet in question is Abraham Cowley.

What if the killer saw me? I'm really scared.

I would be too. lmagine if I walk in my sleep again tonight. I'm going to run into him.

Please, promise you'll keep an eye on me tonight.

I'll lock the door.

And if you hear me get up or do anything, wake me.

Promise? Please, say yes.

Sophie? You tell us. Me?

Yes. Stand up!

The poet, through his irregular style...

The poet, through his irrigular style...

Regular! ...irregular style...

...tells us of the dangers we face, should we forget the meaning of the past.

...tells us of the danger we face, should we forget the meaning of the past.

And do you believe that danger exists?

Screw the past. Screw the past!

Silence! What about Ancient Greece? Shakespeare? Chopin?

OK, I'll keep an eye on you tonight.

And Richard Wagner! Richard Gere!

Do you like it? Nice! Where did it come from?

I put it on by mistake. Guess who it belongs to!

Paul Corvino's daughter!

Yeah? The actor? Yes!

Her name is Jennifer and she's my roommate!

All right!

Oh, yes! He's fantastic, all those muscles!

Not him, her! What is she like?

Oh, she's pretty, she wears her hair like mine.

I have to watch her at night because she walks in her sleep.

Walks in her sleep? She gets up and she walks, like this...

Really, Sophie, I have to go. I have to join my regiment at dawn!

And you know it's nearly a three hour trip.

Come on, stay a while longer! I can't, I really have to go.

You shit!

What did you say? I said, fuck you!

I'm sleepwalking, I must... must...

I must wake up.


The police came this morning.

The headmistress told them not to believe me.

She thinks I'm crazy.

Maybe you think I'm crazy too, Dad, if Production gets this letter to you.

There was nothing I could do.

I was so scared, I couldn’t say anything about what I saw or why I screamed.

So you think the glove belonged to the killer?

Yeah, I'm sure of it.

But why the maggot?

They're larvae.

If you give me time I'll identify them...

...and will be able to give you an answer.

Perhaps to some other questions as well.

You won't, Professor.

It's all right. I know the way.


You're forgetting your notebooks! Thanks.

Have you any idea why they behave like that?

Never done this before.

It's probably because of me.

I guess they sense the mood I'm in.

I'm often in a bad mood.

Upset about something, but they don't carry on like this.

In Ancient Greece, the butterfly symbolises the soul, the so-called psyche.

From the Greek, butterfly: psyche.

What is this association between insects and the human soul?

Is it because of the multifarious mystery of them both?

And we know something about that, don't we?


You see that glove?

An insect... a firefly led me to it.

The police came to the school.

They asked me a lot of questions.

I didn't tell them how I found the glove.

I didn't want them to think I was crazy.

You can tell me. I'm not the police!

What happened?

I was standing alone... the dark.

And... I needed help.

And a firefly, it was like it heard me and it answered my call!

You've calmed them down, just by telling me that.

But that's ridiculous!

It's new.

That's the essence of discovery to a scientist.

Purely new, the things I've discovered.

Things my fellow scientists consider absurd.

Extrasensory perception.

The paranormal powers... that are unusual in human beings are perfectly normal in insects!

Some species communicate with each other over vast distances by telepathy.

These little creatures have enormous power.

I could give you a multitude of examples.

I wrote a book about this very subject. You may have it.

It's perfectly normal for insects to be slightly telepathic.

Yes, it's normal for insects.

But am I normal?


But why me?

Fräulein Corvino cannot be left alone. I want someone in here with her.

I want to know everything she says and does.

I'm scared of her. She arrived and Sophie disappeared!

Plus she's crazy, listen to this.

"Dear Dad..."

Here it is.

"Do you remember what the doctor said

"about sleepwalking manifesting a split personality?

"It's true, my second personality is emerging.

"Do you know how? I communicate with insects!"

"I mean, I've discovered I have power over them.

"I'm not kidding, I even have a witness, "the famous entomologist, John McGregor, "who lives near here. We've become friends..."

You see? She is crazy!

This is mine!

Hey, Jennifer, listen! What?

I'm a spider! Speak and you shall be obeyed!

No, no! Stop it!

I'm a killer spray! Death to all insects!

I'm a mosquito! I'm a fly!

We worship you, we worship you!

Now that's enough, girls!

I love you.

I love you all.

I love all of you.

She's still asleep. I called an ambulance to take her to the mental hospital. They'll be here any minute.

They'll be better equipped to keep her calm.

But, is she insane? Well, she's not normal.

She's diabolic! Diabolic?

The Bible also refers to the Devil as Beelzebub, which means Lord of the flies. Look at her, the Lady of the flies.

Call me as soon as she wakes up.


Hey, does Jennifer look like a devil to you?

No... you're not a devil.

The only devil around here is the killer!

But I understand how you must be feeling.

I know what it feels like to be different.

And the conditions that go with it, pity, irony, revulsion... annoyance.

People have the ability to make you almost hate yourself.

There's a big difference between you and me.

When that car bashed into me, I lost something.

But you, you gained something.

You're in a position to do extraordinary things with that gift of yours.

Come on! I want to show you something.

Come on, Inga.

Look, these were inside the glove.

Larvae of the Great Sarcophagus.

Quite a menacing name, appropriate to the insect that bears it.

It lives exclusively off dead bodies. Human remains.

The Great Sarcophagus.

What a weird name!

They're a destroyer, a flesh eater.

It is capable of picking up the scent of a dead body over vast distances.

Its sensory perception is extraordinary, quite unique.

But why did the glove have so many larvae in it?

Perhaps because when the murderer hides his victims he likes to keep in physical contact with them. Conserving them.

He is a psychopath. If we mean to get him, we have to call on the services of the two greatest detectives ever known.

Perhaps I should say unknown, up until now.

Who are they? You... and him.

The Great Sarcophagus.

Hold out your hand.

There. See, he's not afraid of you. He won't do that for me.

Ask him to lead you where the dead bodies are hidden, and he'll lead you.

That fly is your magic wand.

Think it'll work?

With your gift.

It'll take a lifetime! It could be anywhere.

Not anywhere. On a 52 km route.

The first girl to disappear was a Danish tourist.

She took a bus on the Red Line.

It starts on the city square on a 52 km route, calling at various tourist traps on the way.

She was seen getting on that bus.

When you get near the killer's house, you'll know about it soon enough because the Sarcophagus will go crazy and head straight for the dead bodies.

All you have to do is follow it and come straight back.

Do you feel up to it?

Yes. I want him caught.

For Sophie.

She was my friend!

And I want him caught, for Greta.

I wish you all the luck in the world, my two detectives.

Excuse me, Miss.

I don't understand German. Please close the window.

The wind! No!

So badly behaved!

Wait! Wait! Please!


What are you doing here?

I was following a... Who are you?

You came here to steal, did you? No! I was looking for someone!

You were looking for someone! Come on, the house is empty!

No one's lived here since the former tenants moved out eight months ago.

The house is for sale!

I'm really sorry! I didn't mean to cause any harm!

May I help you? Who are you?

I'm the estate agent.

If you're looking for a house I'm your man!

Anyone living in the house now?

No. By the way, where did you come from?

I didn't hear you drive up. I came from the back.

How long has the house been empty?

Seven, eight months maybe.

Who lived here before? I'd have to check at the agency.

But we do not give out that kind of information.

It's absolutely confidential, and against our company.

I'm Inspector Geiger. Police.

It's all right, Inga. You've locked yourself out, you silly girl!

This damn machine! What on Earth is going on round here?

Who's that? Is there someone there?

Who is it? Hey! Answer me!

Who are you?

Most of our patients are kept under restraint.

Take my word for it, Inspector.

The person you're looking for is not one of ours!

No one's ever escaped from here.

Correct. But I'm working from the exact opposite assumption.

How can I explain...?

It isn't as if someone got out of your institution, but rather got in!

You've had such a case, I believe.

Yes, a curious incident, it happened about 15 years ago, here on the lower basement level.

Since, it's only been accessible to members of the staff.

The further down one goes in this place the more monstrous the inmates become. It's probably the same in Hell.

Until you reach the last circle, the one without a centre.

Shit, Morris. I'm telling you, I won't stay here a minute longer.

I want to come home and don't have money for a ticket!

No, I ran away from school!

They wanted to lock me in an institution!


It's a long story.

Get me back to L.A. and I'll tell you all about it.

Which bank do you use in Zurich? The S.K.A. What does it stand for?


Send me some money. A telex in my name.

Do it, Morris!

I don't want to be murdered!

Yes, I said murder.

Someone here wants to kill me and he's tried once already.

I'm sorry, there is nothing here in your name.

Are you sure? I'm afraid so.

Maybe it's just arrived and hasn't come through the computers yet.

I can check.

There is nothing. I'm sorry.

Now what am I supposed to do? This is an emergency.

It could arrive at any time. Look, why don't you come back later?

Where can I go in the meantime? Can I wait here?

Sure, you can wait over there. But, I suggest you go for a walk.

I'll wait.

Hello, Jennifer!

Your father's attorney Mr Shapiro called us from New York.

He was worried about you.

And extremely angry with us for, let's say, losing you.

What a bastard!

He sounded reasonable on the phone.

He spoke to me, and only calmed down when I told him I would come for you myself.

He said I would find you here.

I'm not going back to that school! Of course not.

He said you want to go back to America immediately. Is that true?

Yes! He authorised me to buy your ticket and give you some money. Is that all right?

OK. Good.

Good luck!

What time is my flight? 12 noon tomorrow.

The last flight out today has already left.

What about tonight? I'm not going to sleep at the school!

I'm not going back there, I never want to see the place again!

Don't worry. If that's what you want, it's all right.

Mr Shapiro said to do whatever you wanted.

You can stay with me tonight.

It's enormous!

Do you live here alone? No.

You'll sleep in here, Jennifer. I hope you find it comfortable enough.

Looks fine, thank you.

Why are the mirrors covered like that?

I told you, I don't live alone. I have a small son.

He's very sick.

I cover the mirrors for his sake. He doesn't want to see his reflection.

I worry about him very much. He's changed my life completely.

Sometimes, I think he's driving me crazy.

I'm sorry.

These are things that can happen in a woman's life.

But don't worry, you won't see him.

Oh, I don't mind if... No! It's better if you don't.

He stays in his room with his crazy thoughts.

Would you like something? A cup of tea?

No, I don't want to bother you. It's no bother!

I'm sorry, I kicked the train by mistake. It hit him. Maybe he's hurt!


Don't grab him like that! Why not?!

What on Earth are you thinking?

This is my son? It's only a doll.

You're a very sensitive young lady. Are you frightened?

No, no. Yes, you are.

I can see it in your eyes.

You're burning up!

You have a fever! No, I don't!

Yes, you do!

In this part of the country, with this wind, it's hardly surprising. I'll get you a pill.

You don't want to leave with a cold tomorrow do you?

Imagine what Mr Shapiro would say!

You should take them both. But if you prefer, one is enough.

I don't want any pills!

May I use the bathroom? The bathroom is over there.

And you will take the pills!

I never take medicine. You must take this. Trust me.

Listen. I won't take anything.

What are the pills? They're for fever. They won't hurt.

Trust me. You have to take this medicine. Do you understand?

You're hurting me. Let me go! Take them!

All right, I'll take the pills!

I'll get you some water. I can get it myself!

Shit, get out of the way!

May I close the door?

What a bitch!

Larvae of the Great Sarcophagus.

It lives exclusively off dead bodies, human remains.


Jennifer, what are you doing? Poison!

Jennifer, answer me. Open the door! I said what are you doing?

Answer me, Jennifer! Open the door this instant!

Open the door! Answer me!

How dare you behave like this!


Let me in!

Why didn't you open the door? What were you doing?

Did you take the pill? What were you doing?

Who are you calling? Morris, to tell him everything's fine.

Tomorrow. No, I want to do it now.

Just a quick call. Let me go!

I said no! You won't call anyone. Do you understand? This is my house.

You do what I say!

Help! Help!

Stay there. And in a little while, I'll kill you!

15 years ago when you were still working in Basel, you were assaulted.

Surely, you haven't forgotten the incident?

No. Look at this. He pulled me to him through the bars.

There were bars between us.

I understand, Frau Brückner. Forgive me.

But we have to be precise.

You moved here eight months ago, correct?

Yes, that is so, Inspector. Please, come this way.

And where were you living before that?

Outside Zurich.

Perhaps the murderer hides his victims.

He likes to keep in physical contact with them.

Conserving them. He's a psychopath.

Mr Shapiro! Yes.

The car rental agency, your car is outside. Here's the key.

Do you need a map, sir? No, thank you. I know the area.



I'm Inspector Geiger. I've come to help you!

Help me!

Thank you.

Go away, you scare me! I won't hurt you!

I don't want you here.

I know your mother was bad, but I want to help!

You don't have to worry about the mirrors any more.

No, please! No!

Morris! Jennifer?

Morris! Thank God!

He was diseased but he was my son.

And you have... Why didn't I kill you before?

I killed that inspector and your professor friend, to protect him, and now...

I'm going to kill you, to avenge him!

Why don't you call your insects?! Go on!

Call! Call!