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Aenigma

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Giorgio Mariuzzo who co-wrote the screenplay, also worked on some of Fulci's 'finest moments'. He also co-wrote the excellent crime thriller 'The Naples Connection' (1980), 'The Beyond' (1981) and 'The House By The Cemetery' (1981).



More Trivia from Aenigma
The film starts with the unfortunate Kathy (Zirojevic) going on a date with Fred (Acerbi), her school dance instructor. The dating couple stop their car in the woods for a 'quiet moment'.

Yet it transpires that it is a set up to humiliate the poor girl. As in the shadows other kids wait in their cars. The dating couples' car is transmitting Kathy's voice... she is gushing to her date about how this evening is "a dream come true" and how she couldn't believe it when he asked her out. Meanwhile, the kids hide in the darkness sniggering.

As she reaches a crescendo of cheesiness they turn on their headlights and humiliate her. She runs off distraught and ashamed and while being chased, teased and taunted Kathy is accidentally hit by a car and falls into a coma.

Attractive new girl Eva Gordon (Naszinsky) then appears at the girls school with a self proclaimed 'bad reputation'. She soon arranges a date with the callous, philandering Fred. While waiting for his schoolgirl date he is strangled to death by his own, grinning reflection materialising from the mirror. Meanwhile Kathy's vital signs are mysteriously going haywire on the hospital monitoring devices!

While the girls are discussing Fred's death, the rather peculiar Mary (Blagojevic), mother of Kathy and school cleaner, brings a dish of snails to the table of the gossiping girls. One of girls is disgusted by the dish and berates Mary for bringing it to the table. Later that day when returning to her dorm she finds her bed covered in snails! She instantly runs and accuses Mary. A teacher goes to check.... nothing is there. As the girl falls asleep, they return! Bizarrely unable to move, she is suffocated by them... death by snails, an original way to go shall we say! The scene is reminiscent of the tarantula attack in Lucio Fulci's classic film 'The Beyond'.

The school is now in a frenzy of gossip, Eva has been at the school two days and two murders have occurred. Under stress she suddenly goes into a violent fit and attacks her roommate, before fainting. The Doctor is called. While attending to her she awakes and plants an amorous kiss on him. She is transferred to hospital as a precaution, while there, the schoolgirl starts a relationship with the not-so young neurologist Dr. Anderson (Martin).

When released from hospital, Dr. Anderson drives her back to school in his red convertible, while dropping her off she notices him looking over her shoulder and checking out another girl, Grace (Naud), who returns his glance.

After returning on a school trip from the museum, Grace, the recipient of the Dr. Anderson's wandering gaze, discovers that she has lost a valuable earring. Eva reckons she lost it in the ladies room at the museum and suggests breaking in to retrieve it that night before the cleaners find it in the morning.

Eva and her 'friend' Grace climb into the empty museum via a window to find the lost earring. Soon though, Eva runs silently up the stairs and literally disappears mid flight, this disappearance is another reprise from Fulci's 'The Beyond', when blind Emily & dog suddenly flee the old house. Left alone, Grace is set upon by demonic visions of skeletons, snakes, severed heads falling from paintings, blood streaming from a butchered baby, she is then crushed to death by a statue coming to life!!!

Eva Gordon is quickly transferred to another school; the school Governess citing the recent 'disruptions' bought about by her arrival. From her new school Eva writes impassioned letters declaring her love for Dr. Anderson. Yet he is too busy chasing pretty young students to miss her... Will the murders cease now that Eva has been moved on? Kathy remains paralysed in bed... but her telekinetic & telepathic energy is growing ever stronger... can she be stopped?

Verdict?

This horror film from Italian cult director Lucio Fulci, never reaches the heights of his excellent spate of films from the early 1980's. But Aenigma has the requisite trademarks you'd expect from a Fulci film.

The premise is the standard schoolgirls in peril story, yet Fulci's penchant for imaginative murders, kitsch dialogue and impressive photography ensure that the film distinguishes itself from others of its genre.

The lighting of the film is particularly impressive, especially the night scenes where a warm blue hue permeates these scenes, adding atmosphere. Greens and reds are also used to striking effect, resonating Dario Argento's use of these colours in his seminal horror film Suspiria (1977).

Aenigma is a pan Italian-Yugoslavian take on a very Americanised product; hence the film has a certain European quirkiness which, for all its faults, makes it a strangely alluring enjoyable film.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Quirky & imaginative film.

Weaknesses? Script is weak, but then it usually is in Fulci-Land!

Our rating: 7 out of 10


Review Written by Stuart Fitzgerald:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Stuart Fitzgerald
Aenigma