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Worth a look for Fulci fans, really....
leathermusic13 November 2005
I am not surprised to see mostly negative reviews for Fulci's 1987 "Carrie" inspired "Aenigma". It does not stand up to his late 70's/early 80's gore epics that you all are familiar with. But wait, let's remember that Fulci is still visually inventive in 87, with lots of great camera moves and flair. The man knew how to tell a story, folks. He may have been a jerk to his colleagues, but what a great craftsman. He was trying to make a US style teenager quasi slasher popcorn movie here, a lighter less horrifying type of deal. I think it should also be said that this was well cast. The beautiful college girls each play their roles with unique personalities, something you won't find in most US films of this type. The geeky girl in the red dress is a hoot, and so is the famous snail scene. Best of all is the English new wave/pop sappy romance song that sets up the audience perfectly. It's an interesting and engaging story, even if it is clearly inspired by Carrie. And unlike so many other horror films, the ending is rewarding, logical AND suspenseful. I still haven't seen a Fulci film that I don't like, and this is no exception...check it out!
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Screenplay by Stuart Hall
Bezenby15 August 2014
At a school for wayward girls that would give any British/Australian TV presenter/entertainer from the seventies a stroke, a prank has gone way, way wrong. Cathy, the weirdo daughter of the weirdo cleaner, has been set up on a date with Fred, the gym instructor (more on him later). After being given a horrendous eighties make up job by her two 'friends', to the tune of horrendous eighties song that wouldn't be out of place on a Bowie album from the same era, she sets out with Fred, who puts the moves on her. What Cathy doesn't know is that everyone else at the school, and their boyfriends, are all listening in and shortly chase her around in their cars, causing her to be run over.

Now in a coma and because this is a Fulci film, we get to see Cathy's spirit float above a model town (with some leftover model buildings from The New Gladiators – I wonder if Fulci kept them in the same cupboard as Jared Martin, who stars in both films). She decides to possess the body of new pupil Eva, who's goal in life is to shag as many men as possible. There's about six other actresses playing pupils in this film but for the life of me I can't remember any of their names.

Eva's first port of call is Fred. Now, he's not in the film long, but he's worth a mention. Fred is the gym teacher for the school, and he loves to date the pupils, slap them on the arse, give them leg massages, tell the pupils that they're fat, and inadvertently cause them to get run over by cars. So Eva sets up a date with him but doesn't quite get there as his reflection comes to life and strangles him, as they tend to do.

Basically, Fulci at some point has watched both Carrie and Patrick and thought "Me too!" Cathy is now possessing Eva, and causing the deaths of all involved in her accident. At one point Eva throws a hissy fit which brings her to the attention of Doctor Jared Martin, who of course is also Cathy's doctor, and they hit it off.

So the rest of the film plays out like you'd expect, with those girls all meeting their demises in various surreal ways (death by snail, death by a statue coming to life in an art gallery after a picture comes to life and stabs itself, raining blood on one of the girls, a run of the mill falling out the window gag), until Eva's family show up suddenly and take her home, causing Jared to go out with yet another one of the girls. This doesn't make Cathy a happy camper.

What surprised me after watching Aenigma was how it wasn't a pile of crap at all. In fact, I quite enjoyed it! Judging by how ill Fulci looks when he makes his usual cameo, I'm surprised he managed to make something that has an actual storyline (see Manhattan Baby for the opposite of this). Sure, it's your run of the mill late era Italian horror, but the snails, art gallery bit and completely original storyline if you haven't seen Patrick make it worth a watch. It's got all the visual trademark's of our Lucio, and looks pretty good in general. The fake heads look…faker than usual, but that seems to go with the low budgets. Seriously, see the fake head in Red Monks for a further example of the decline in fake head quality.
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Ugly duckling becomes ravishing slayer.
Coventry6 December 2005
Judging by the amount of other user-comments and their content around here, this "Aenigma" (love the alternate spelling!) is a lesser known and thoroughly hated Lucio Fulci film. Well sure, it's not a patch on his earlier work but still it remains a remotely enjoyable bloodbath with some inventive killings (the snails!!) and an appealing cast of young & sexy schoolgirls. The story, although highly unoriginal, is easy to follow, unpretentious and fast-paced. Black sheep of Catholic girl's dorm Kathy is involved in a near-fatal car accident after a prank with the school's gym teacher. Shortly after, a new and extrovert girl makes her entry in the dorm but her mind seems controlled by the comatose Kathy. Through Eva Gordon, Kathy and her spiritual mother see a chance for revenge, starting with the death of the insufferable macho gym teacher. Fulci keeps the gore under control this time and focuses more on the brooding atmosphere. "Aenigma" features some beautiful camera-work, although admittedly, the same camera angles are often re-used several times. The girls' acting is extremely hammy and it's a good thing they all all look so cute, otherwise it would have been a lot more difficult to struggle yourself through the movie. Nothing spectacular or special, but it certainly isn't terrible, neither.
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Unique atmosphere.
casso18 January 2000
I've seen several movies made by Fulci. And this one is the least terrifying and scary among the others I've watched. For me it was much more easier to watch "Aenigma" then, for example, "Black Cat" or "House by the Cemetery" (which are, of course, the must seen ones). Nevertheless it has everything a good horror movie should have. I really like it, especially the ending, which shows brilliant work of camera and music together. This movie is an example of Lucio Fulci remarkable capability generated from his very own vision of reality to create the unique mood and atmosphere.
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Carrie from Boston.
HumanoidOfFlesh25 January 2012
A young girl called Cathy has a prank played on her by the other students at the college she attends.In fleeing from her tormentors she is knocked down by a car and in hospital subsequently falls into a deep coma.Deep in her comatose state she finds that she is able to transcend her physical body and possesses at will a new student at the school Eva.It's time for supernatural revenge on people who tormented Cathy."Aenigma" is one of the lesser-known horror flicks made by Italian Godfather of Gore Lucio Fulci.It has some creative and bizarre kill scenes including death by snails and gruesome decapitation via window.The plot of "Aenigma" rips-off "Suspiria","Carrie" and "Patrick" but the film is stylish and enjoyable.Still if you are into gore and over-the-top violence you may be a little disappointed with "Aenigma".7 pranks out of 10.
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If the snails crawled into her mouth, did they also crawl up her....?...
Vomitron_G4 February 2006
...ehr, nevermind, I guess I'm a sick puppy. And it seems that I like tormenting myself too, 'cause last night a strange urge encouraged me to re-watch AENIGMA. I first saw it 6 years ago, or so, and thought it was rather bad. And now, 6 years later, guess what? It's still bad. From the moment the opening credits come on you know it can't be good: very bad 80's pop music and a girl that's putting make-up which makes her look even more ugly. Anyway, the story isn't exactly original: Ugly girl gets to be the victim of a prank by fellow-students and ends up in a coma. But her soul roams free, occasionally possessing the new girl in school and killing all the ones involved in the accident.

Welcome to the 80's world of college-cuties: smoking in dorm-rooms with Sylvester Stallone & Tom Cruise-posters on the wall. The acting's really bad all the time and the sound editing's rather sloppy too. But the directing isn't really too bad. There are a few nice camera-moves and two fine top-shots of the school and the hospital (which do look like miniatures, by the way, but still nice). Are there any more reasons to watch this flick? Well, ehr... maybe: the death-by-snails-scene (kinda gross), the museum-sequence, a decapitation, and... a bizarre sex-scene in a dream with our leading-girl biting chunks out of the love-doctor.

But there isn't much gore actually, considering Lucio Fulci made this. The movie itself never gets really boring due to the deaths and frequently intercut freaky shots of the creepy girl in a coma, but the ending seemed like they just (literally) pulled the plug on this movie. It really hurts me a lot to flunk a Fulci-movie, 'cause I'm a fan of some of his movies. Can't bring myself to give AENIGMA less than 4 stars though, because it still feels like a Fulci-movie. If you're only an average horror-fan, you should avoid this movie 'cause this is for Fulci-fans only.
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Bad hairdos and horrendous dialogue
Leofwine_draca16 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
When Italian gore-man Lucio Fulci directed his infamous quartet of zombie movies (ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS, THE BEYOND, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, and HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY), he got something right. Something clicked and these films became classics to the sweaty collector of video nasties, even if they were classics for all the wrong reasons, but of course there is always something irresistible about watching actors covered in flour eating people.

However, ever since then, Fulci churned out bad film after bad film, and the magic just wasn't there anymore. AENIGMA is one of Fulci's lesser items, a diabolical mixture of the then current slasher trend (something we now view with contempt) with some vague, insubstantial supernatural overtones. AENIGMA begins predictably, with a school prank going wrong (bringing to mind Cropsy's accidental burning in, er, THE BURNING), leaving a strange, bug-eyed girl in a coma. Forget CARRIE, this girl is seriously weird! Just her appearance is enough to send shivers down my spine. From the hospital bed she directs violence (think PATRICK) to those all around her, possessing a 'beautiful' girl and then murdering off the perpetrators of the prank one by one in a string of absurd death scenes. The plot also manages to drag in the setting of SUSPIRIA too, although the girl's school here lacks the atmospheric terror that filled Argento's movie. While Argento filled his school with frightening claustrophobia and nightmarish suspense, Fulci fills his with bad hairdos and horrendous dialogue.

Bookended by bad pop songs (although there is a small bit of nice organ music), full of incredibly cheesy clichéd dialogue of the "what a hunk" kind (all delivered straight-faced, and all the more funny for it) and a prime example of bad film-making - in one instance the screen goes black for more than five seconds in between different scenes, which gives you some idea of the general incompetence all round. The acting is uniformly bad, and nobody, nobody registers on the sympathy scale (always a bad sign, I mean there aren't even any animals to sympathise with here). The only amusing person is the 'retarded' cleaner who bears an uncanny similarity to Martha from THE BEYOND, although I'm sure that's only coincidental. One ageing bloke is apparently irresistible to the girls, once again distancing this film from reality as far as possible.

As usual with these kind of bad pictures, the variety of death scenes is the only reason worth watching this film for. Well, that is if you have to watch it, as it's an experience I wouldn't recommend unless you're a really big fan of horror films and you know what to expect with this one. A gym instructor is killed when his reflection comes out of the mirror in a startlingly original moment (although this brings back horrifying memories of the previous year's AEROBICIDE, and was actually done better in EVIL DEAD 2), while another bloke goes THE BOGEY MAN route of being decapitated by a window (a sight that always cracks me up - seeing an actor with his head stuck through a window, and then the next second a bouncing, rubbery thing which is supposed to be that same guy's bonce bouncing around outside!). A girl falls a short distance and apparently breaks her body, while a doctor has a dream about having sex with a young girl, and then being bitten and scratched to death by her in probably the most hard to stomach moment of the film (literally encapsulating the mix of sex and violence prevalent in the modern horror movie).

In another dream sequence, a girl finds her dorm full of decapitated corpses, while in the most artistic moment of the entire thing, a lost girl in a museum is strangled by a statue which comes to life. Before this, we see a priceless painting bleeding, and this moment is the one, true, creative image in the whole film. The standout death this time around though (obviously inspired by the spider attack in THE BEYOND) is death by snails, totally ludicrous of course, but definitely a first. A girl, asleep on her bed, is enveloped by the sticky slimy snails, and there is something deeply unpleasant with this attack, as it pushes much the same buttons as SQUIRM and SLUGS. Unfortunately, this is the one so-bad-it's-good moment in a mediocre, below average movie. If you want a good Fulci film then go for a zombie one - after all, at least he was liberal with those guys. And don't ask me what the hell the title means either - I have absolutely no idea!
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pasolini2024 April 2005
OH MY GOD !! ***************

Kathy is a poor Carrie-like who gets humiliated by her "friends" and had a car accident. Her spirit possessed a new schoolgirl and gets his revenge of the bad guys !

The first 10 minutes are hilarious (especially the song "Head over Meels"...with that "Dream come true...")... The rest of the film is like a TV movie, quite boring and absolutely not scary... Don't miss the appearance of the ghost on a Tom Cruise poster... Anyway, it's a great film to watch with friends, beer, pizzas...

The french dubbing sounds to be made very quickly, Kathy's voice sounds like a man !!!

love it...
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All of them will experience the cruellest ,goryest, and most suffering death ever!
mouni77720 September 1999
In coma in the local hospital, Kathy is dying. Her spirit, seeking vengeance, reacts and takes possession of the body of a beautiful young student, Eva, new at the college. Then, begins a bloody crusade of revenge on all students that have made fun of her in the past. With the (in)famous Snail attack, that reminds a lot of "the beyond". I'd give this one 6 out of 10.
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It's what he's always done.
gemmaread23 April 2006
If you didn't like that film, then you won't/don't like his other work. (Or maybe you will)I'm a reasonably big fan of his work, although I still need to see plenty more of his films. What you have to understand is that the stuff he did doesn't really have a big budget behind it, and in a way I think it's better, because the death scenes look much more real (which is strange, you'd think with the amount of money that they have these days backing horror films, that the effects would be much more realistic, but I find that they're not)If your a fan of cheesy horror, that at the same time has gore galore plus plenty more (heh, nice word play)then Lucio Fulci's stuff is definitely worth checking out. If you're not, then you can always go back to the endless agony that is the "I know what you did last summer" films....
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Lucio Fulci mounts an Ed Wood production
VinnieRattolle22 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I love bad movies and foreign films and I can find redeeming qualities in nearly ANY movie... I'm always critical of people who proclaim that a film is 'the worst movie ever made,' but this one is almost deserving of being on a 'worst movies' list. The camera-work and acting rescues it from that fate... just barely. Admittedly, on a scene-by-scene basis, there were a few effective moments -- but it feels like the script was written in a single afternoon. Style without substance.

In a very CARRIE-like opening sequence, Kathy (Dragan Bjelogrlic) is transformed from ugly duckling to... 1930s prostitute. She's soon humiliated by her peers and winds up in an accident that results in her becoming a permanent vegetable. She then leaves her body and possesses Eva (Lara Naszinsky), a new student with daddy issues who helps (?) get revenge on the people who scorned Kathy.

Though Fulci has his patented visual flair, the film screams turkey and seems rife for a MST3K treatment. I'm not usually one to mock the screen, but I couldn't help myself with this movie. The biggest problem is that the story and dialogue (or at least the English dubbing) are laughably absurd, yet the actors are playing it straight. It reminds me of an Ed Wood film that's completely oblivious to its own badness. My condolences to the cast, who made the best of what they were given. The film is set in the USA (posters of Tom Cruise, Sly Stallone, Yoda and Snoopy adorn dorm walls), but little care was put into researching American dorm life, and absolutely no care was put into researching medical facilities and jargon. The effects are terrible almost across the board. The three exceptions are a creepy mirror scene, an erotic sex scene that takes a nasty turn and a death-by-snail sequence that's uncomfortably well played (though still ridiculous). Unfortunately, a later scene with a menacing snake wasn't as effective -- we cut from silly reaction shots to inserts of a snake slithering across the floor. Ooga-booga. Then this scene goes from dopey to unintentionally hilarious. To top it all off, it's unclear WHY Kathy possesses Eva. Eva doesn't actually kill anyone (unless she did during one of the numerous times when my mind started wandering) and Kathy never actively takes over her body. I could've choked down a specter-like out of body experience, but the possession seems completely pointless.

There are only three instances when I'd recommend this film. First, if you're gonna have a big party and are looking for a film to mock while you and your friends get hammered. Second, if you're looking for a textbook example of how NOT to write a story. And third, if you're a die-hard Fulci fan. If you're looking for a scary movie or under any other circumstances, beware. Get one of Fulci's earlier horror movies instead.
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adriangr20 June 2009
One of Fulci's lesser efforts, Aenigma is a blatant copy of so many other films, it's hard to count them all. Set in a school, it involves a misunderstood loner called Kathy who is cruelly taunted by her classmates, but takes revenge by means of psychic powers. So far, so "Carrie". But here, the cruel prank puts the victim into a coma, and it's from here that she wreaks havoc, which echoes "Patrick". She somehow manages to possess another student, who goes through the school leaving a trail of destruction and death on Kathy's behalf.

Sounds great for Fulci fans, but don't hold your breath. The various revenge murders are all very unimpressive and often ridiculous, including death by being scared of a museum and death by being confronted with a boyfriend's corpse! What's wrong with these people!? The film has no highlights of gore whatsoever, which is a major shortcoming in a Fulci film. Even it's set piece murder, a "death by snails" sequence will probably leave you laughing (how exactly do snails manage to overpower someone??). This, along with the film's title, makes me think that Fulci is actually trying to emulate Argento's far superior "Phenomeona".

The film is generally pretty confusing, as Kathy's power, and her hold over the possessed girl are never properly explained. The acting is awful, the lead character (the possessed student) wanders around looking totally bored, so you won't really care about any of the characters. It's also ugly and dull to look at, even though Fulci tries to ape Argento yet again by bathing many shots in lurid coloured lighting, mostly a tiresome bright blue, but it just doesn't add up to anything coherent. The dubbing is poor as usual ans there's a really REALLY, bad ballad being crooned over the prologue when Kathy is looking forward to her big night out! Even Fulci completists could rest easy without ever watching this one. A real stinker.
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Scarecrow-8818 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Bizarre, corny, but reasonable entertaining Fulci rip on "Carrie" takes the premise one step further. The unfortunate victim of a college prank gone terribly wrong when those who humiliated her caused poor Kathy(Mijlijana Zirojevic)to walk out in front of a moving car, she lies brain-dead in Intensive care on life-support. But, even in these terrible conditions, the need for revenge drives Kathy's vengeful spirit to possess the host of nervous-breakdown beauty, Eva Gordon(the simply gorgeous Lara Naszinsky who I wished would never leave the screen she's so easy on the eyes)into eliminating those who caused her harm. When each murder is about to be set-up and executed, Kathy experiences violent emotion which bewilders Dr. Robert Anderson(Jared Martin, who many might remember from the short-lived, but great, "War of the Worlds" series)whose in charge of her care. Kathy should not be experiencing anything in her worsening state, so when she, all of a sudden, shows signs of aggression after such states of silence it doesn't make sense in a clinical way. Meanwhile, we come to understand that the methods used against each victim stems from their own dreams, with unusual results. The gym instructor's own reflection attacks(he's quite an egomaniac for whom Kathy adored and the major culprit in the dirty prank that went awry)him, one student is attacked by snails(!), one girl is attacked by a Greek statue(!), another girl can not escape a room where the vision of her boyfriend beheaded remains on the bed(she falls to her doom in a state of panic from the dormroom window), and Dr. Anderson himself experiences a grisly dream where his new lover, student Eva, chews chunks of flesh from his torso and mouth.

When Eva is sent away after too many violent temper tantrums and rebellious-type behavior(said to perhaps effect the other female students, in a negative was, that attend the St. Mary's Boston college), her lover Anderson starts a relationship with Jenny(Ulli Reinthaler). The doc sure loves the student body..yuk, yuk. So we see the wrath of Eva/Kathy, who escapes from her asylum home, as she confronts Jenny attempting to find Anderson's office. Will Jenny escape where others failed? While I'll be the first to admit that this flick makes little sense whatsoever, it sure has the same visual energy Fulci had a talent for expressing even with the hokiest of story-lines. The bizarre nature of the crimes against the victims is enough(..although most aren't that gory)to warrant at least one viewing. Good electronic score. Hilarious dated'll notice lots of posters featuring popular heroes and movies at that time(Tom Cruise/Top Gun poster, Sly Stallone/Rocky III poster, etc)in the 80's, I'm guessing Fulci added to give his Italian flick a more "American feel."

Kathy's mother, the maid of St. Mary's, seems to have a red glow in her eyes and she plays a heavy role in either stopping the carnage or letting it continue. Either way, she understands that her beloved daughter is on the rampage.
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One of the worst Fulci movies ever!
HENRYCHINANSKI16 February 2005
I love Lucio! and although there are many of his films that I would still like to see (westerns in particular) I have seen most of his Horrors and early thrillers.

This film is the pits (sorry old chap!) its like some cheap unimaginative- for the bucks only- US commercial horror movie! (bearing in mind that some of the greatest horror films of all time have been American, of course!) I liked Cat in the Brain, Murder Rock Dancing death- both lesser movies in his cannon... but this! watch it by all means as part of the Fulci course; but I found it a profound disappointment.

The only thing in this films defence is the style of direction- that unmistakable Italian va va voom is present even in this shoddy affair... its rubbish- but its Italian rubbish! (Fulci still shows his flare... by way of an apology!)
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Middle of the Road
gavin694226 October 2017
The spirit of a comatose teenage girl possesses the body of a newcomer to her girls boarding school to enact bloody revenge against the elitist, lingerie-clad coeds responsible for her condition.

Donald C. Willis described the film as a "episodic horror-fantasy variation on 'Carrie' by way of 'Patrick' and 'The Medusa Touch'" and that the "heavy-handed intro" makes the film get "off to a bad start". He forgot "Slugs", though this film is nastier than "Slugs" and may be worth watching for that very reason.

The interesting thing is how this is a Yugoslavian film. What? I feel like that deserves more of an explanation. I know that Romania was popular for a while to film on the cheap, but you rarely hear about Yugoslavia. What was Fulci doing there?
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Fulci struggles to inject some originality and style into a derivative and underfunded commercial venture.
lonchaney2025 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
It's commonly agreed by Euro-horror enthusiasts that Fulci's talents began to rapidly diminish following his deeply offensive (but also incredibly awesome) 1982 giallo, The New York Ripper. Having seen his interesting but snail-paced A Cat in the Brain (1990), and his depressingly awful Demonia (1990), I was inclined to agree, but my positive reaction to The Devil's Honey (a terrific sado-erotic drama from 1986) made me more interested in checking out his latter-day efforts. Aenigma is often singled out for ridicule by viewers, and to an extent I can see why. Commonly referred to as a Carrie rip-off, but even more derivative of Patrick (1978), Aenigma chronicles a comatose's girl's psychic revenge on her catty schoolmates and hunky gym teacher after they pull a cruel prank on her. Having been hit by a car after fleeing the humiliating scene, in which the gym teacher pretended to seduce her, she possesses a new classmate named Eva (played by Lara Lamberti) and begins to pick off her tormentors in increasingly bizarre ways. Things are complicated when the promiscuous Eva begins an illicit affair with a dreamboat doctor (an often befuddled Jared Martin), whose subsequent relationship with another student draws the jealous wrath of Eva and her possessor. This revenge story is often nonsensical, and at times downright comical, but Fulci brings some of the same artistry and imagination that made his earlier thrillers so effective. The cinematography by Luigi Ciccarese is sometimes flat, and has that hazy soft focus and heavy blue gel lighting that plagued so many films in the eighties, but becomes more nuanced and colorful in the film's supernatural scenes. A sequence in which a girl is smothered to death by snails is usually singled out for derision, and it does come across as a misguided attempt by Fulci to outdo the spider attack scene from The Beyond (1981), but I admire Fulci's balls in trying to make snails scary. It doesn't work, but he later provides more effective jolts in a nightmarish museum death scene, in which the exhibits come to life and attack one of the villainous schoolgirls. Overall a lesser effort from the prolific Fulci, but far more entertaining than I'd been led to believe, and it still gives the impression that an artist is behind the camera, struggling against all odds to inject some originality and style into a derivative and underfunded commercial venture.
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Have some escargots while watching this one.
Scott LeBrun1 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A prank at a girls' private school in Boston goes horribly wrong, and the socially awkward Kathy (Milijana Zirojevic) is struck by a car and ends up in a coma. Shortly after, her revenge minded spirit comes to rest inside a newcomer to the school named Eva (Lara Lamberti). Kathy / Eva fall in love with nice guy doctor Robert Anderson (Jared Martin) while administering a particularly amusing and nasty brand of vengeance.

"Aenigma" is not one of the late, great Lucio Fulcis' best (it's sad to see him looking ill in his obligatory cameo appearance as a police inspector). It lacks the true overwhelming doom and gloom of his best nonsensical horror films. Mostly, it's good for laughs, although it's nice to see that Fulci hadn't lost his flair for lots of gore in his murder sequences. The plot, as you can see, is trite stuff, but a few memorable set pieces help to lift it out of the ordinary. For one thing, a stone statue comes to life. But the best and (rightly) most notorious scene involves a multitude of snails. The pounding rock music calls to mind the work of Fulcis' peer Dario Argento, while the amount of atmosphere is certainly respectable.

The cast is all good looking, but they're all just a little too bland. Lamberti is passable, but also forgettable.

An Italian / Yugoslavian co-production, this was filmed on location in both Boston and Serbia.

Six out of 10.
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Fulci Possession Tale
Master Cultist18 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Standard Fulci here, this one being a study in revenge motivation. A young girl was tormented and ultimately nearly killed by a practical joke that went awry. A new patient arrives at a school for disturbed girls, shortly after which all manner of weirdness ensues. Not the most graphic of Fulci's movies, this is more psychological (if you can believe such a thing from the master of splatter) though there is a very strange sequence with snails. It looks horrid but whole time you are just thinking "Get up and brush them off you fool" Overall, satisfyingly bizarre though it gets a little plodding towards the end. Far from Fulci's best.
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Snails: not really that scary, unless you happen to be a cabbage leaf. Or Lucio Fulci.
BA_Harrison31 October 2008
The late Lucio Fulci, director of numerous Italian gore classics, obviously deemed gastropods so terrifying that he gave them starring roles as slimy killers in Ænigma, a 1987 clunker that clumsily blended elements of Carrie and Patrick to tell the tale of a comatose girl out to seek revenge on those responsible for her condition.

In the snails' unforgettably daft scene, a girl awakens to find herself smothered by the slow-moving molluscs, who ultimately suffocate the poor lass, covering her from head to foot in slime. It's just one bad moment out of many bad moments in a very bad film.

Ænigma opens with a young woman named Kathy (Milijana Zirojevic) excitedly preparing for a date (with the help of her friends) by selecting a nasty red dress and plastering on her make-up like a clown. Once ready for her night of romance (gold eyelids—check!; red cheeks—check!; hideous hairstyle—check!), the girl rushes to the door to meet her lucky beau.

Later that night, the couple park in a remote spot for a bit of canoodling. Kathy soon gets into the mood, and begins to moan loudly and writhe in pleasure, much to the delight of the small crowd of onlookers hiding in the bushes. Yes, Kathy is the subject of a mean school prank: the guy she is getting all gooey over doesn't really go for the minging clown look; he's only with the poor lass in order to humiliate her in front of his pals.

Realising the truth, Kathy runs away in tears, only to be hit by a car, ultimately ending up in intensive care.

Meanwhile, at the exclusive boarding school where Kathy lived with her mother, new student Eva Gordon (Lara Naszinsky) is getting used to her new environment. However, fitting in with the other girls might not prove to be easy, since Eva is being telepathically controlled by Kathy, who is looking to even the score with her bullies...

I get the distinct feeling that, with this particular film, Fulci was attempting a more stylish approach than usual:Ænigma is rather restrained in the gore department, and the boarding school setting and general ambiance is very reminiscent of the work of giallo genius Dario Argento. Unfortunately, Fulci is not quite in the same league as Argento when it comes to creating stunning visuals and a dreamlike atmosphere, and the result is a rather bland and unmemorable effort that leaves one longing for some yucky eyeball trauma or a bit of messy brain scrunching to spice things up.

The story, a weak mix of elements stolen from several much better films, doesn't make much sense (no explanation is given for how Kathy can conjure up snails and, in one equally silly scene, animate a marble statue), and the majority of the cast is pretty lousy. The only recognisable name in the film (recognisable to fans of low-budget trash, I mean) is B-movie star Jared Martin who is totally wasted in his role as a neurologist (although he does get to roll around naked with a lightly-oiled Naszinsky, which would be a fair enough reason for taking the gig!).

Ænigma is one for Fulci fans who, like me, have seen all of his better known films already and are now just ticking off the other titles from his filmography for the sake of completion.
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Fulci's supernatural eighties slasher
The_Void12 June 2006
Aenigma appears to be Lucio Fulci's attempt at 'Suspiria', as the plotting, atmosphere, locations and characters are all similar, and while this isn't essentially a 'bad' film, it certainly has nothing on Dario Argento's masterpiece. The influence from American cinema seems to have affected the great Italian maestro Lucio Fulci on this film, as he uses cheesy eighties songs a lot, and the way the plot plays out feels a lot like an American slasher, with the focus being kept on the kill scenes and bedtime activities of most of the school girls. The film forsakes logic at almost every turn, and much of the plot isn't explained and doesn't make a lot of sense. The central theme of a young, injured, girl possessing several members of her school and taking revenge on those that wronged her springs to mind immediately, as this isn't explained at all and that makes it hard to buy into the film. The way that Fulci handles this plot isn't very good either, as we are never made to care for her plight and therefore the fact that the plot doesn't make sense is made all the more irritating.

Fulci does well with the atmosphere in the film, and the cinematography is rather nice also. As you would expect from a director who made his name with a whole load of blood and guts, there is no shortage of death scenes in this film. These scenes range from featuring severed limbs to gratuitous stabbings, but strangely enough; these scenes feel rushed and Fulci doesn't deliver a great deal of gore, which is probably the main reason why this film doesn't often get a very good write-up. Lucio Fulci has a bigger filmography than you would think, and many of his lesser known films - such as The Devil's Honey and Don't Torture a Duckling turn out to be his best. This film, however, is one of the director's more average efforts on the whole. I don't think Fulci really cared too much about the supernatural angle of the story, and so the film has ended up being disjointed and illogical. The acting and dialogue does nothing to alter this fact, as both are poor even for an Italian horror film. To be honest, I don't rate Aenigma as a complete dead loss; although it should be noted that I'm more tolerant of Fulci's films than most.
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Not Exactly A Lucio Fulci Classic..
homecoming810 February 2011
I recently tracked down a lot of Dario Argento- and Lucio Fulci movies. I thought "Aenigma" (I once saw it about 20 years ago)was considered a well- known and classic Lucio Fulci movie. But watching it again, it just can't be, because this is not a good movie and totally outdated.

After the awesome gore-fest movies in the early 80's (The Beyond, Zombie, New York Ripper, House by the Cemetery) it went downhill with the Italian master. "Aenigma" isn't scary but rather hilariously stupid with a weak cast and a dull and stupid story, inspired by the classic "Carrie". For the fans it's all disappointment here: there's hardly any gore or blood to be seen. After the "Snails-scene" you have hope but that average scene appeared to be the best of the entire movie. It could be worse (a year later Fulci directed the god awful "Sodoma's Ghost") but this is not really worth a look. I saw it and I will never watch it again. Stick with the earlier classics, this is totally forgettable.
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I'm falling head over heels guys.....
Adventure Man13 December 2006
OK I agree with most of the comments here. The movie is pretty bad....thus far the worst of Lucio's films (that I've seen). Some of the sets were interesting, the music was good too. Was it me or did the music that was played over the miniature city sets sound like the music from Aliens? Another question, the Tom Cruise Poster and the Yoda Poster, did they need special permission to add those in the film?

OK to kill you all, some lyrics from the intro song (head over heels): Put on your makeup your eyes are blue enough tonight is special for you you're gonna see that dream come true put on your red dress

you gotta look your best tonight is 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 falling head over heels and you just can't stop falling into the arms of a lover falling over head over heels baby from the top and you hope it will go on forever!
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Fulci Meets Carrie
Michael_Elliott4 October 2009
Aenigma (1987)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Italian horror from Fulci is his spin on the CARRIE-type tale. The film takes place at a female boarding school where one of the unpopular girls has a prank played on her, which leaves her in a coma. Soon after that a new girl enters the school and becomes possessed with the coma girl's spirit, which leaves to revenge. This is one of the director's least known films and there's probably a reason for that. Considering that it's not very good and that it came towards the end of the Italian horror craze, it's no wonder the movie has been forgotten over the past couple decades. This film should be remembered somewhat better just because of some of the horrid death sequences, which are the real reason to watch this film. There's not too much gore but we get an incredibly bizarre sex scene where our hero eats away at her lover. If that wasn't strange enough we get perhaps the dumbest death sequence in Fulci career and that's the scene where a girl just lays in bed while snails kill her. Yes, snails. The other death scenes are pretty generic, although Fulci does wrap them up in a nice atmosphere and one sequence inside a museum works pretty well. There's a subplot involving the new girl dating the coma girl's doctor but this just drags things down. The performances aren't anything special but they're not too bad either. In other words, typical Italian stuff. If someone is new to Fulci then they shouldn't start here but if you must watch everything the guy made then jump right in.
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Please erase former comment.
max27-316 April 2005
I would like to comment on the previous commentator. Anyone who would knock an entire casts acting abilities after watching a very badly dubbed European film does not know much about the film business. Anyone who knows anything about film knows that one bad performance, OK, probably the actor, two, maybe, but three or more, most likely has to do with the Director and possibly the Editor. I am not denying that the film has little to be desired, but whoever has the audacity to knock an entire cast and crew should not only stay out of the reviewing business, but more than likely the film business as well. Anyone in the film business or wanting to stay in the business is very aware that words are very powerful. I suggest before formulating an opinion on an entire casts acting abilities you compare their other work.
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What a piece of crap!
blownout20025 December 2003
Watching this movie is a lot like self-dismemberment. You want to do it before, but after you wish you hadn't. Lucio Fulci, director of many pasta-land splatter films, releases this not-so-famous film in 1987. The basic story is a dorky girl gets picked on by all the rich stuck up girls of a private school. They all play a cruel trick on her when a handsome boy of the school pretends to like her, only to laugh and laugh at her when she tries to "make out" with him. She runs away only to afterward get hit by a car. While in her coma, she some-how manages to possess a new girl in the school, who in turn commits murder against the "bad" students that hurt the girl. This movie has the infamous "rape by snail" scene which isn't as gruesome as you might expect from Fulci after the spiders and dogs in 'The Beyond." I watched the UNCUT Japanese print, but from what I could tell nothing was cut out of the old 86 minute version violence-wise except for the "lip biting" scene.

Overall, a 4/10 because of a rape-by-snail scene. Come on Lucio, more gore PLEASE!
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