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Aenigma

Review by: 
Billion$Baby
Release Date: 
1987
Studio: 
Image
Genre: 
Supernatural
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
1 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
1.85:1
Directed by: 
Lucio Fulci
Cast: 
Jared Martin
Laura Naszinsky
Movie: 
1
Extras: 
1
Bottom Line: 
1

 
The following is a public service announcement:
 
"Put on your make-up, your eyes are blue enough. Tonight is special for you, you're gonna see that dream
come true. Put on your red dress, you've gotta look your best. Tonight he's waiting for you, he's gonna make that dream come true. You've got that feeling deep inside, loving the first time in your life.

(chorus)
 
Falling head over heels and you just can't stop, falling into the arms of a lover. Falling head over heels baby, from the top, and you hope it'll go on forever.
 
Look in the mirror, it's a reflection you see. Tonight is special for you, you're gonna see that dream come true. It's now or never, you've gotta make a move. Tonight he's waiting for you, he's gonna make that dream come true. You've got that feeling deep inside, loving the first time in your life."
 
Etc, etc, etc.
 
Sorry about that but that hideously awful track plays both at the start and the end of this Fulci "film"so I thought that I'd start this review in the samemanner. But rest assured, I won't be resurrecting it at the end! That track is called Head Over Heels. It's performed by Douglas Meakin Giuliana and Schmidl S.r.l. (?!) and it's a perfect indication of what you can expect from this feature. Complete and utter rubbish! If you thought the lyrics were bad, pray you never hear the music effort or very painful vocals that accompany it.
 
I've got a tendancy to look more favourably upon a film if ain't too hot but suffers from a small budget. And the other way around. But I've got to draw theline somewhere! This picture is damn lucky not to come away with a total shit rating.
 
I never understood people's loathing for Italian horrors. Until I saw this one. Truly piss-poor. Honest folks, they're not all like this. If you're wondering which Fulci films to pick up, I'd certainly adviseyou to avoid this one unless you're into sadomasochistic behaviour.
 
Even the most devoted Fulci fan would struggle to defend this film and the disc is damn poor as well. Mono sound, no bonus materials and not even a menu page. There's just a chapter selection screen. It's not anamorphic but does it really matter seeing as how the film features bad effects, poor and occasionally shaky camera work. And a stupidly derivative plot.
 
The film comes across as a silly crossbreed of Phenomena, Patrick and Carrie. The film features clumsy blue-shaded lighting, a girl's boarding school and a laughably strict looking governess. See why it reminds me of a poor Phenomena clone?
 
As that Head Over Heels track plays, we watch Kathy the student being decorated with the most unattractive make-up job you've ever seen. Your panic then turns to relief as you then discover that it's actually a very cruel joke being played by the other students. Phew. But no, your first opinions were correct. Kathy has a car accident whilst trying to escape the other vindictive students and ends up in a coma. We then see the best part of the picture, a camera shot which pans upwards from the hospital roof over to her former residence of St. Mary's College, in "Boston" (Yugoslavia!).
 
Some (and I mean some) of the score is pretty good and better than the film deserved whereas most of it suits it right down to the ground! The film looks like it was made from sticky-back plastic and empty washing up bottles. I probably earn more money in a month than this film cost to make. But surely, style can overcome budgetary limitations? Not here.
 
New student Eva Gordon arrives at St. Mary's and through a reasonably nifty bit of editing we see that she is actually a personification of Kathy. Ready for revenge. She's greeted by the previously mentioned governess who you simply have to observe to believe.She wears a tight suit outfit, daft oversized glasses and has her hair tied up in a ridiculously strict bun. She makes me laugh, and not in a good way either. I've seen more convincing characters in porn films.
 
Mind you, she isn't as funny as the girl's aerobics instructer, ex-marine, Fred Vernon, the hunk with the brylcreemed hair!
 
Lame effect number one.
 
Mary the retarded cleaner (and Kathy's mother) looking around a doorway corner at Fred. Her eyes flash red in an incredibly non-sinister scene.
 
Fred (good choice of character name) is then strangled by his own reflection from the gym mirror. Hmmm, not bad. And it's fun to see Fulci's cameo as the policeman investigating Fred's death. I've got to make the most of these little bits that are ok. There's not many of them!
 
Lame effect number two.
 
A "set-piece" death where a female student is killed by snails. Hmmm. Of course, these inexplicable events are all hallucinations. Like the film, they're just one big bad trip. There is absolutely no gore in this sequence. we just see a topless girl being covered with snails whilst some fake looking snail/slug type creation somehow manages to force it's way into her mouth. That sounds as frightening as it looks.
 
After a strange wardrobe clothes throwing "fit" by Eva, Dr Robert ("don't call me Bob") Anderson is called to administer some of his special treatment. He starts up a relationship with this very attractive student. Professional ethics aside, Dr Robert gets my seal of aproval!
 
Lame effect number 3.
 
Another student is killed. This time she's strangled by a statue at the museum. Sorry, a man in a costume that's supposed to look like a statue. Keep an eye out for the very fake looking severed head.
 
Lame effect number four.
 
Dr Robert's dream sequence! Eva trails her fingers through the flesh on his chest. Er, no, sorry, Eva runs her fingers down the doctor's body leaving lines of blatant red paint down his skin.
 
After Eva is thrown out of St. Mary's, everybody's favourite cad doctor starts up a new relationship with Eva's room-mate, Jenny. We're treated to a little montage of the doctor dating and seducing Jenny.
 
Lame effect numbers five and six.
 
Student Kim panicks at a grisly hallucination and falls out of a window. No, sorry, we see an obvious looking mannequin being thrown from a window. Her boyfriend has a look to see what happened and the window slams down. We then see another very fake looking head falling on the ground beside her (yawn).
 
This is the most boring, uninnovative and embarassing Fulci film that I have ever seen. So far. This review makes it sound so much more exciting than it really is. It might appeal to some men or lesbians just to have a look at some attractive girls but that is all I can think of to recommend it.
 
It's pretty sad when the man behind such classics as Zombie, Don't Torture A Duckling, New York Ripper,  The Beyond or City Of The Living Dead is reduced to this. A crying shame.
 
I shall quote from the dvd inlay. "[Aenigma]...is filled with the visual style and gruesome madness his [Fulci's] fans have come to expect."
 
No it isn't.
 
There is little or no indication of visual style inherent here and the gore effects would only frighten a 90 year old nun or a backwards choirboy. On second thought, probably not.
 
Avoid, avoid, avoid.
 

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