Netflix’s Phenomena: Is the Movie Inspired by Real Horror Events?

Image Credit: Padu/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Phenomena’ (Fenómenas, in Spanish) is a horror film that follows the story of three paranormal investigators who stumble upon an antique shop harboring a dangerous entity. It begins with the disappearance of their leader, Father Pilón, who goes to the shop alone but is severely injured. Gloria, Paz, and Sagrario take it upon themselves to figure out what is haunting the shop and how to get it out. Directed by Carlos Therón and written by Marta Buchaca and Fernando Navarro, the film packs many scares for the audience and delivers a thrilling tale. In its description, it is claimed that real events inspire the film. If you want to find out more about it, we’ve got you covered.

Phenomena is Based on True Hepta Group Story

Yes, ‘Phenomena’ is inspired by a true story. However, the filmmakers have taken some liberties in depicting the events, especially regarding the plot’s central mystery. It follows the formation of the Hepta Group by Father Pilón. It is an actual group formed in 1987 by a priest of the same name to study paranormal occurrences. He brought together people from different fields, each an expert in their own, to get a full scope of any reported activity that pointed towards the involvement of something that science couldn’t explain. The group is said to be active even now.

All three main characters— Gloria, Paz, and Sagrario are inspired by the real women who were a part of the Hepta Group. For the dramatic purpose of the film, their storylines and character traits have been tweaked. The lead actresses talked to their real-life counterparts to get a complete picture of what their characters should be doing and what they felt while investigating such places.

The main action in the film revolves around the antique shop. This corresponds to the real-life case of a shop at 10 Calle Marqués del Monasterio in Madrid. Called “the Monk’s Chest,” the case was handled by the Hepta Group. The place has remained one of the most mysterious hauntings in Spain, and people still question what actually happened there. The shop’s owner, Noel, appeared on a Spanish radio station to talk about the strange occurrences that scared him and the customers, eventually leading him to seek out the Hepta Group.

“One of the things that happens the most is that objects fall without anyone touching them. Sometimes figures are seen; other times, they are noises, real, and then. However, there is nothing to justify them”. His wife, Angela, revealed that lamps would move, taps opened by themselves, and sometimes there was “a rotten smell arose that transformed into an incredible aroma of roses. It emerged from the rooms and impregnated some furniture. She smelled like burnt hair inside one of the closets.”

“We were organizing the store one day. On the table, we had a candle, and suddenly it lit itself. On another occasion, Noel threw away a ram’s head because it seemed to come to life. After throwing it away, we found it at the door of the premises. From that day on, we have hidden it,” Angela added. As the frequency of the events increased, these things started to happen in front of other people, especially customers, who would often run out of the place in terror.

On investigation, it was found that the shop was the site of a lawyer who got burned to death, and some suspected that it might have been his ghost haunting the place. It was also believed that the occurrences might have been triggered by the mental state of the people in or around it. However, there were times when people reported hearing noises from the shop when there was no one inside it. There was also the weird reading on the magnetometer, which gave seemingly impossible readings of the electromagnetic field in the place.

Over time, the activities in the antique shop started reducing until they eventually stopped. A proper explanation about what might have happened there has still not been found, which clicked the filmmakers’ curiosity. “It is the inspiring seed. The scriptwriters started from there, but from there, we have gone very far, and we have gone to tell more about the spirit of what the group does,” director Carlos Therón said. Called “a horror story with some humor,” ‘Phenomena’ is inspired by real events and characters. However, with its feet rooted in reality, the film incorporates fantastical elements to keep things interesting.

Read More: Where Was Netflix’s Phenomena Filmed?