Story: The social circles of college life can be cruel, but sometimes the pranks played can cross dangerous lines. Such is the case when Kathy (Milijana Zirojevic) is in the crosshairs for a mean prank, one which takes a tragic turn. Kathy ends up humiliated by her peers and as the prank escalates, she is struck by a vehicle and knocked into a comatose state. But even in such a perilous position, Kathy isn’t going to let her tormentors slide for their misdeeds. When a new student arrives at Kathy’s school, the coma stricken teen uses the power of psychic energies to possess the fresh face, with plans to dole out retribution. But will Kathy be able to enact her remote vengeance and gain her payback, or will her fellow students be allowed to get away with their horrific pranks?
Entertainment Value: As one of Lucio Fulci’s late 80s horror yarns, Aenigma is sometimes looked down on or even dismissed, simply because of unfair comparisons to the horror master’s earlier work. While I would agree this movie isn’t on the same level as Zombie or The New York Ripper, it is a fun ride that incorporates Fulci’s usual flourishes and to me, always entertains. The basic narrative isn’t that original or memorable, but Fulci brings his cinematic magic and dials up the weirdness throughout, including some wild, surreal moments to bask in. So what Aenigma lacks in more traditional movie elements, like coherent plot lines, it more than makes up for with craziness and of course, Fulci’s keen visual style. That said, this one might not land with those in search of more mainstream horror thrills, as it doesn’t make a lot of sense and can be like a drug trip gone off the rails at times, but for those who appreciate Fulci and his manic take on the genre, Aenigma is well recommended.
Although Aenigma isn’t loaded with sleaze, there is some flesh and sex to be experienced here. A memorable sex scene involves some bare breasts, a red tinted hospital room, and a rather revealing overhead view, all combining for some fun, light nakedness. There’s also a doctor with an erotic bedside manner, as well as a predatory aerobics instructor. Fulci works in some red stuff of course, including the infamous and super slimy snail death scene, which is a highlight of Aenigma. Other bits of gore include a severed head, nipple trauma, a nice arm slash, some head trauma, and of course an incident of statue related trauma. The dialogue doesn’t take it to the limit with wackiness, but there is some humorous girl talk, creepy guys with creepy pickup skills, and a fun line here or there that pops up. On the crazy side however, Aenigma moves the needle, with ominous cleaning, a dress up montage, murderous snails, a heart stopping finale, some 80s sitcom style music, and even a John McEnroe lookalike.
Overall Insanity: 6/10
The Disc: The movie has been treated to a new 4k scan from the original negative, thanks to the maniacs at Severin Films and as usual, the label delivers an excellent visual presentation. This is hands down the best version of Aenigma available, easily besting the DVD editions and even putting the 88 Films release to shame. The print looks clean and the grain is natural, which allows detail to be sharper than expected, with even the finer visual touches shining through. I have to think this release will please even the most demanding of Fulci’s fanatics. Italian and English soundtracks have been provided, with optional English subtitles also on hand. The jewel of the extras here is An Italian Aenigma, a nearly forty minute look inside Lucio Fulci’s later works that includes interviews with various genre enthusiasts. There is also an interesting interview with writer Giorgio Mariuzzo, an audio commentary with two genre experts, and the film’s trailers.